Featured in the Huffington Post Media Section Dec 9, 2013
Back in October, essayist and cartoonist Tim Kreider wrote an entertaining opinion piece for the New York Times, Slaves of the Internet, Unite! that admonished young writers to do the rest of us a favor and not write for free.
Since I’ve spent years in the trenches writing comic and personal essays (sometimes paid, sometimes not), his words really hit home. In fact, I shared the essay with many of my colleagues and friends.
Of course writers should be paid for their work. Why, as he pointed out, do people think nothing of asking a writer to work for free yet would never dream of doing the same to their surgeon, their gardener, or even their dog walker?
Though Kreider’s plea stoked the fires of my inner Norma Rae, after a few weeks of enthusiasm, reality set in. Sure it would be great if we could pick a day where each town crier would climb to the top of a mountain and yell, “Henceforth, no more free words!” But in the real world where your number of blog followers is more important than the content or quality of your writing, it’s just not going to work.
Last year, when I first tried to sell my collection of essays, a respected literary agent told me Continue reading