Thursday, 21 March 2013

10 Ways to Respond to Non-Paying Publications' Excuses

This brilliant post was written by Writers Weekly's Angela Hoy. Although it was written for writers, the tips can be equally applied by all kinds of freelancers (photographers, translators, graphic designers, etc.) Enjoy!

The next time you see someone seeking writers for no pay, don't hesitate to respond to their lame excuses for non-payment!

10. We're a non-profit...

Non-profit doesn't mean you don't make any money. It simply means you have to spend it before the end of your tax year. The utility companies, web hosting firms and even printers don't give their services for free to non-profit publications. Why should writers be asked to do so?

9. We can give you great exposure!

Any publication that is new and can't afford to pay writers isn't going to offer writers any exposure. Likewise, anyone who's been around awhile who doesn't have any ad revenue (the main reason they can't afford to pay for content) is also too small to offer any exposure. If you have an impressive circulation, you can afford to pay writers.

8. Lots of editors read our magazine...

Editors are NOT looking in other publications for writers, especially non-paying publications! They can hardly keep up with their own slush piles as it is. Please don’t insult writers by trying to trick us into believing this common deceptive tactic.

7. We aren't looking for "writers", we're looking for "hosts" (or "contributors", etc.)

Hosts that write are writers...and those writers have families to feed just like everybody else. Twisting words around to try to fool writers only insults writers.

6. This will look great on your resume!

The real magazine editors know which publications don't pay. And they don't want to pay a writer who's been giving their work away for free. Why should they pay for what others are getting for free? And, writing for free devalues a writer’s worth. Editors get what you pay for.

5. Free stock/stock options to all contributors!!

I've never met a writer who traded their services for stock options that ever amounted to anything more than just a piece of cheap paper in a desk drawer. Companies that have no money have worthless stock. And, companies that have no working capital quickly fail. All their "stock option" victims walk away with nothing.

4. We are a prestigious publication and it's an honor to write for us. 

Prestigious publications have WORKING CAPITAL from which they pay their writers.

3. We are a literary magazine and therefore don't pay writers.
Just having the word literary in your product description or name doesn't give you license to scam writers out of their much-needed pay. If you can't afford to pay writers, you shouldn't be in business.

2. Writing is easy! Why should anyone expect to get paid to write?!

If you think writing is so easy, why are you asking me to write for you? Please, go ahead and write it yourself and then tell me how "easy" it is to research and write compelling, factual and educational or entertaining copy for publication.

And what's the number 1 excuse offered by non-paying pubs?

We can't afford to pay writers...

You paid for your computer, your electricity, your phone line, your Internet connection, your software, your website hosting service...heck, you even paid for that coffee steaming next to your computer. If you’re paying everybody else, why should you expect me to work for you for free?

Angela Hoy is the publisher of, Inc., an author-friendly POD publisher that takes no rights, pays high royalties on a monthly basis, and treats authors like people, not numbers. She is also an advocate for writers' rights and publishes, the free marketing emag for writers, offering paying markets and freelance jobs every Wednesday at no charge.

1 comment: