Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hapless Request from Newbie Magazine Fires Up A Storm of Vitrol

Angelia W., magazine publisher, surely had no clue what she was asking when she invited a group of freelance writers on LinkedIn's "Writers' Showcase" group to send articles to her recently re-launched women's magazine. Angelia was looking for "experienced writers," but was "currently unable to provide compensation." Correct. She wanted us to work for free.

The group administrator cut off the outrage at 13 comments, but the group made several points worth repeating.

Freelance writer, Arlie MacGregor, said, "Apparently, the magazine industry is different from the rest of the business world in that they expect employees to work for free and line the owner's pockets. If this were any other business 'just re-launching,' such as a restaurant, legal firm, gas station, retail store, etc., asking for free labour would be unthinkable (and covered on the local news no doubt)."

Writer/journalist/editor/visual artist Andrew Brooks added his two cents: "Arlie, I've often wondered why the mag industry is plagued with this 'no-pay' approach when it wouldn't be tolerated anywhere else. I think the problem might be that most people think anyone can write. After all, we all have to write at some point, even if it's just a grocery list or directions to a house. 'So how hard can it be??'"

Arlie took exception, saying, "We make it easy for them to offer 'exposure' for our hard work .. To the publishers out there who are 'just starting, launching, organizing, structuring, etc.' -- People die of exposure .. If you can't pay professional writers, prepare to get your hands dirty and do the work yourself. If that sounds like too much work, it's because it is work."

-- scrubbed by Marketing Brillo

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