Sunday, November 18, 2007

Harlan Ellison Gets It

There's a fantastic short interview with author Harlan Ellison on YouTube. You can watch it by clicking here. Harlan explains--as only he can--why good writers need to be well-compensated.

I get frequent requests to write "for the exposure." As in, without being paid to write. And my answer is always no. I'm not quite as colorful in my "no" as Harlan, but people are shocked--shocked!--when I decline. It's not that I'm a Scrooge--I do plenty of things for charity--but no way will I ever write for free for any for-profit entity. And I don't think any writer should.

Think about Michelangelo. Leonardo da Vinci. Were they doing their work for free? Heck no. Not even at the beginning of their careers. They had patrons who paid for their housing, food, etc. If they gave away their work for the "exposure" or the "publicity," would it be so highly valued today? I don't think so. They knew what I wish every artist, writer, or creative person knew: You must value your own work before anyone else will.

I'm not saying I'm Michelangelo. Wouldn't want to be (I can't imagine he found the Sistine Chapel worth the backache in the end.) But I value what I do, and others must, too, or they wouldn't be asking me to do it for them. For PAY.

If someone finds what you do--no matter what it is--to be of value, make sure they give you something of equal value in return. If you do your job well, they'll be more than happy to do so.

1 comment:

Jessica Burkhart (Jess Ashley) said...

Great post. And so true about writing for free. :)