Writers (and creatives in general) are up in arms about getting paid.
A Summary of the Discussion thus far:
Kristen Lamb has recently been posting about the problem with Free. She started by urging writers not to diss Amazon while promoting used bookstores, since Amazon actually pays authors and used bookstores do not.
She then speculated on what this Culture of Free is going to do to authors going forward.
Finally, she honed in on Huffington Post, a platform that is proud of not paying authors while making millions off of their work.
Kristen Lamb isn’t the first or the last to call out Huffington Post. Wil Wheaton, Chuck Wendig, and Porter Anderson all have great posts about this issue.
This conundrum doesn’t just pertain to writers, but to artists in general, with artists being more vocal about deserving better pay – Taylor Swift pulling her music off Spotify, Ally Burguieres demanding reimbursement for Taylor Swift’s use of her artwork, or hula-hoop performer Revolva turning down an unpaid opportunity to perform on Oprah’s tour.
We Need Exposure….and Pay!
It’s the way of the world. It’s been the way of the world, and it’s only increasing. Exposure is important. All artists need exposure to live. But we don’t just need exposure to live. We need pay too. We need food on the table and a roof over our heads.
Plumbers and scientists and doctors and teachers and engineers, they all need exposure to live too. If no one knew about their skills or reputation, they wouldn’t be hired and they wouldn’t make it very far. But they still get paid. They still need paid.
What Can Artists Do?
You need exposure: That’s what Marketing and Brand and Advertising is for. Work for free if you want, but let it be on your terms. When you offer free. When you’re not being asked by a highly profitable company to work for free. Don’t give in and work for free, because “you have to” or because “that’s the way the world works.” Stand your ground for artists everywhere.
What Can EVERYONE Do?
Stop supporting the system. The system that says artists have to work for free to be truly authentic. Bullcrap!
Consider boycotting Huffington Post, now that you know the problem. Speak up about it being a problem. Many don’t know. Don’t share or Retweet or click the Huffington Post links that are exploiting writers for their own gain. Don’t perpetuate the cycle. Huffington Post can’t survive off of unpaid labor if no one supports their site any longer.
Most importantly: Stop with the Huffington Post mindset!
- Stop assuming you can get free labor from artists.
- Stop asking for them to write, edit, design, draw, paint, play music, or perform for free.
- Even friends. You have artist friends, great! That doesn’t mean you get free stuff, that means you should support them in their art – pay them for their work, and I’m not talking about buying them a coffee (although coffee is a nice bonus!)My sister is a cosmetologist – I don’t ask her to work for free though; I pay her MORE than my usual tip, because I especially support her work. I want her to prosper with her talent!
- Artists, walk the talk – don’t ask for free labor from other artists when you know you hate that.
- Maybe your artist friend offers to help you for free – AWESOME! That means they’re willing. Don’t ask for free, but of course you can accept a free offer.Here’s the kicker then though – pay them in exposure. Brag on them, share their work, give them exposure so that they can get paid the next time around. Anytime I receive free assistance from an artist who offered, I try to remember to post their work on social media, tag their website, mention their expert work. Because artists need exposure too.
Always pay an artist – at least with exposure, but preferably with money as well.
We can stop this cycle. We can pay the artist what they’re worth. We can stop expecting free handouts. We can demand what we’re worth and plan to pay a person what they’re worth. We can refuse to profit off of exploiting another human being.
Let’s not be Huffington Post; let’s be better.
2 thoughts on “Huffington Post Isn’t the Only Problem”
THIS! Preach it! I work really hard to pay people for their time/work. The entire reason I spend $50K of my now money building the WANA infrastructure was so that people I asked to guest blog, I could also offer them an opportunity to speak/teach and the guest post would drive SALES. Most people who teach for me do very well, since I pay 75% of what that class brings in and I use my reputation to fill it. No, I am not directly paying for a post, but trust me, this way pays MUCH more. I’ve cut $1400 checks before. Probably the low end would be $180 so that’s far more than we’d be paid for only an article.
I also trade services sometimes. If I need one kind of work (a cover mockup) then I offer editing or consulting in return.
Yes, go you! I’m so glad you practice what you preach 🙂 I don’t have anywhere near the platform you have to offer all that, but I always do what I can reimburse if I’m asking for something from an artist. And I’m glad you stand for that too.