Thursday, October 29, 2015

Will Wheaton's Warning To Not Write For Free Makes Him My New Best Friend.

Wil Wheaton Vs. Huffington Post. I'd say Wheaton won. 
Wil Wheaton caused a big stir this week and it has me totally cheering for him.

For the uninitiated, Wil Wheaton was a child actor in the movie "Stand  By Me," has since been in the series "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and has had a recurring role in TV's "The Big Bang Theory."

He's also a very popular blogger, gamer, tech geek and pretty much a Renaissance guy.

Anyway, in his blog, he said this week that Huffington Post offered to publish an earlier Wheaton blog post about the seven things he did to reboot his life.

Very nice. But when Wheaton asked Huffington Post how much he would be paid for the Huffington's Post publication of the blog post, the Huffington Post said nothing. Zero. Zip. Nada.

An editor wrote, (insultingly in my opinion, but Wheaton was professional and nice about it) that Wheaton and other would-be bloggers should contribute for free, because the "exposure" Huffington Post will give to the writer.

Wheaton Tweeted about this to his three million or so followers (Disclosure: Including me). One of his posts said "If you write something that an editor thinks is worth being published, you are worth being paid for it. Period."

Wheaton also nicely expounded on this topic through his blog. 

This had me cheering wildly for Wheaton.

There are dissents. Salon reported that Internet entrepreneur Damon Brown says that people beginning their careers sometimes need to work for free, and you're not being cheated if you volunteer work at some charitable organization.

Which is totally true.

But writers, photographers, graphic designers, musicians and others who do need to get their names out there also need to make a living.

Says Salon:

"They constantly, in a digital age that has already destabilized their earnings, are asked to do it for free. For a brand. For a friend. For any number of reasons, but often, the hustle is that the gratis work will serve as 'free advertising' for work someone else is supposed to pay them to do, somewhere down the road."

In other words, the gratis work is a scammy merry go round in which everybody expects free work from writers and artists and such. So how are they actually supposed to make a living?

I know it's sometimes easier said than done, but I won't work for free, unless it's for charity or you really, really want to help a friend. If I ever need to promote myself I'll do so through blogs, social media,  a web site, maybe good old fashioned advertising.

Besides, if you're that good and need exposure, you'll get it through people citing your great work, like Wheaton's blog. 

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