|For the record: We paid for this image.|
This past Sunday, we did what we always do on Sundays: We read the print edition of the paper of record, The New York Times. Yes, we are old school like that and really like getting ink on our paper. And the paper smells great, too, but we digress.
One article on the cover page of the Sunday Review caught our attention, and we wanted to share it with all of you, dear readers. Today is Halloween, so we will tackle the spooky subject of not getting paid for your work. Turns out writer Tim Kreider also has a few things to say about the subject, and as a writer for the NYT, he writes infinitely more eloquently than we do. The bottom line is: giving away your work for free stinks. And it means others don't value it. If they did value it, they would pay you for it. So don't give it away for free. This article as been quite popular, and to date, there are more than 650 comments on the online version.
Here's the link to the brilliant article (we recommend you subscribe to the NYT, but we believe the first few articles a month are free). The author concludes his article with a smart piece of advice that he's willing to share with everyone. Actually, it's a nifty e-mail template that you can use to respond to people who want your work for free. Since the author intended this to be freely shared, we are copying it here:
Here, for public use, is my very own template for a response to people who offer to let me write something for them for nothing:
Thanks very much for your compliments on my [writing/illustration/whatever thing you do]. I’m flattered by your invitation to [do whatever it is they want you to do for nothing]. But [thing you do] is work, it takes time, it’s how I make my living, and in this economy I can’t afford to do it for free. I’m sorry to decline, but thanks again, sincerely, for your kind words about my work.
It's nice to see that translators aren't the only ones who get asked to do free work. We knew it's quite common with writers and illustrators as well, and it's great to read such on on-point essay about this important topic. What do you think, dear readers? How do you handle these tricky situations? We'd love to hear from you.