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Publishing News Roundup Series: Paying the Writer Versus Writing for Free

by Maureen Crisp •  February 29, 2016  •   Follow

Published in News  •  No comments


This week we are talking about getting paid as writers versus writing for free.

Writing is a skill that can really be a beneficial and amazing career. Writers can write books, write for newspapers, write for magazines, as well as many other great opportunities. The question with choosing a writing career is to know when to write for money and when its appropriate to write for free. Free writing can benefit your career and reputation, and it opens up many doors of opportunity. The problem is to know when to do either one:


For What It’s Worth


This week the publishing blogosphere was soul searching as the news filtered through that Huffington Post was proud to not pay its writers. When the dust settled over the initial outrage, some great posts about the problem of free and paying the writer emerged.


Porter pulled together some of the articles and great discussions. Chuck wrote a piece that was full speed ahead, man the torpedoes. Jami Gold’s post, last week, was prescient about knowing why you are writing for free.


This week Joanne Harris dropped out of attending a literary festival over the restrictive nature of the contract. Festival appearance contracts are becoming very odd. With Phillip Pulman making a case to pay the writers for appearances of dubious value to the writer, some literary festivals have found another way to exact a pound of flesh. Restricting an authors public movements seems to be going a step too far though.


Writer Beware has been seeing some weird publishing contracts lately with termination clauses popping up with fine print saying the writer will have to pay costs… even if the writer didn’t terminate the agreement. Keep an eye on new contract language.


Ellen Oh wrote a heartfelt plea to white writers over how they write coloured characters. At first many writers thought she was saying white writers shouldn’t write these characters, but Ellen was saying something different. Be authentic in your writing. It is a great post to mull over.


Today Simon and Schuster launched a new imprint… specifically aimed at Muslim children’s books. This is a great addition to their imprint list and a great statement to make to the publishing world.


In the Craft Section,
Scenes as capsules of time– C S Lakin- Bookmark
2 great posts from Becca Puglisi- Pacing– and Writing memorable characters– Bookmark both
How to write a fight scene– Christine Frazier- Bookmark
In the Marketing Section,
10 clever ways to grow your email list– The Book Designer-Bookmark


To Finish,
If you are on Twitter and you are searching for some interesting writer accounts to follow then you can’t go far wrong taking a look at this nifty list that the Expert Editor has put together. A little something for everyone here.



About Maureen Crisp

Maureen Crisp has been writing her weekly publishing roundups for over seven years. She is a traditionally published children's author as well as indie-published. She lives in New Zealand and is heading the team organising the 4th National Conference of Children's Writers and Illustrators. She is currently trying her hand at writing a children’s book series if she can drag herself away from forever tweaking her Mars novel or obsessing over space.