Wil Wheaton Lets 'Em Have It - Go Wil.
I was so impressed with Wil Wheaton's blog post about writers getting paid and all these sites getting great writing for nothing, I had to share it here. I hope it inspires us all to stand tall for our work and get paid.
A very nice editor at Huffington Post contacted me yesterday, and asked me if I would be willing to grant permission for the site to republish my post about the seven things I did to reboot my life.
Huffington Post has a lot of views, and reaches a pretty big audience, and that post is something I’d love to share with more people, so I told the editor that I was intrigued, and asked what they pay contributors.
Well, it turns out that, “Unfortunately, we’re unable to financially compensate our bloggers at this time. Most bloggers find value in the unique platform and reach our site provides, but we completely understand if that makes blogging with us impossible.”
I translated this on Twitter thusly:
This set me off on a tiny bit of a rant:
I’m very lucky to not need exposure or “reach” or anything like that, at least not right now and not this way. I’m also very lucky to be able to walk away from things like this because I believe it’s the right thing to do. If I’d offered this to Huffington Post for nothing, because I hoped they’d publish it, that would be an entirely different thing, because it was my choice.
I don’t know what the going rate is for something like this. At six cents a word, which is SFWAs lowest professional rate for short fiction (not a perfect comparison, but at least something to reference that’s similar), it would be $210. That’s not nothing, but it’s not house payment money.
Maybe I should have just taken their fabulous offer of exposure?
I don’t think so, because it’s the principle of the thing. Huffington Post is valued at well over fifty million dollars, and the company can absolutely afford to pay contributors. The fact that it doesn’t, and can get away with it, is distressing to me.
The exchange I had with this editor wasn’t unpleasant, and I know that she’s doing what her bosses tell her to do. I don’t blame her for the company policy. If I’d brought this to Huffington Post and asked the site to publish it, it would be an entirely different situation, I think, (I already posted it on my Medium account, anyway), but this is one of those “the line must be drawn here” things for me. I don’t know if I made the right call, but I do feel good about standing on principle, and having an opportunity to rant a little bit about why I did.