Never Write for Exposure, and Other Illogical Advice
As the falsism goes, writers should always be paid for their work, otherwise they are being taken advantage of.
I was reminded of this piece of ill-considered advice today while reading a piece on LitReactor. That piece focused on exceptions to the rule that should never write for exposure, which was good, but it also lead with:
If you’ve been doing the writing thing for more than three days, chances are someone has already told you never to give your work away for free. Whoever told you that is absolutely right. Exposure is something you die from. The day you go to the grocery store and the cashier tells you they’re now accepting exposure as payment, then go ahead and expose yourself like that creep by the park rocking the trench coat. If that hasn’t happened yet, make sure you get paid. You should always get something in return for your ideas, time, effort, and talent. Is that clear?
While I respect the OP for listing exceptions, he is still wrong for accepting the basic premise.
The problem with saying that one should never write for exposure is that it happens all the time. Business people write for exposure to attract new customers, authors write for exposure to attract an audience and sell books, and writers write for exposure to get their next gig.
It is marketing 101, and in fact every single self-pub guru, and every single marketing flack will give advice that, when you break it down, tells authors to write for exposure.
Every tweet you send, every Facebook update you post, and every guest blog post you write in support of your writing career?
All of that is writing for exposure, and as my mother just reminded me so is making the first book in a series perma-free (a practice followed by almost all fiction authors).
Or, if that’s not writing for exposure then what would you call it?
I would really like an answer to that question, because when I look at regular everyday author marketing I see a lot of writing for exposure going on.
And just to be clear, I am not arguing that authors should do all their work for free (although I am sure some idiot will misinterpret my words to that effect). My point is that I see writing for exposure happening every day, and I don’t understand why so many rail against the practice – including on Twitter, where the tweets about not writing for exposure are examples of writing for exposure.
Could someone tell me what I’m missing?
image by sylvar