I run across ads quite frequently, usually from start-up publications, seeking writers to write for them for free. I found such an ad today. It's so insulting not to mention a very poor way of doing business. It's one thing to ask friends, family and those supporting you in this venture to donate time and work the first few issues until enough advertising revenue comes in. It is quite altogether different when asking complete strangers to work without any financial reward while your little project gets off the ground.
Unfortunately, this happens all too often in the creative fields. We simply do not value artistic expression in the same way we do other fields. I cannot tell you how many times I've been asked to play the piano for free. Nor can I share the number of times I have submitted my writings to publications who, for whatever reason, do not pay. Some publications love to say what a great opportunity it is to write for them. What great exposure.
This giving-away-of-my-talents-for-free crap has not helped in my creative pursuits whatsoever.
Hence, I made the decision a couple of years ago that if you desire my work, you will pay me for it. And hey, I'm flexible. I'm open to payment. I'm even open to bartering to some degree.
So I am making a request to such folks who think it is acceptable or even wise to seek writers who will write for free. KNOCK IT OFF. If you cannot afford to pay those who work for you, then you need to find the time to do the work yourself. Or ask friends and family for such help until you have built your business, your publication, to the point where you can offer payment. But please, please, please stop insulting us with your false promises and silly insinuations. You may convince the newbies and the naive optimist. But you don't fool those of us who have been around the block a few times. We're wise to your tactics.