Write for free?

So here is the conundrum for freelancers…

You make a living by the words you successfully manage to string together. So do you ever write for free? No charge… Gratis…

The first unsolicited article I wrote for All About Cats (a humour page) got me a polite email, informing me that they already had someone contracted to write their back pages and that they wouldn’t be able to use the article as they didn’t have the budget to pay me. The piece was aimed at a very specific market and I didn’t fancy my chances of placing it elsewhere.

So with bills to pay and a starving wallet, I did something rather odd. I wrote back saying they could use it at no charge. That piece was used, not in the regular monthly mag, but in their 2007 Annual. A year later I got an email requesting a piece for the 2008 Annual. Not only that, but they wanted to know if I would consider becoming their contracted (i.e. paid) back page writer for the following year.

It is now 2010 and I’m still writing for them. Sewing and reaping – it’s a very real principle.

I won’t bore you with all the gory details – but I’ve seen this principle work time and time again.

So my wallet is getting a little chubbier, I’ve got myself a few more regulars and yes – I will write for free when those moments hit.

How about you?

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4 thoughts on “Write for free?

  1. My father once said to me that if I was struggling to find a job I should offer to work, free of charge, for a week to prove myself – I think you’ve proven that can work! I haven’t freelanced my writing, but I definitely think there are times and places where giving your work away is a good thing.

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