Monday, September 22, 2008

Blogging for Free or Not for Free, That's the Question

Okay...don't take my word for it. I asked two "experts" if guest bloggers normally get paid for their work.

First, I asked Linda Lee, the owner of Smart Writers, Stupid Computers, a writer, speaker, educator, and expert in website design and on-line promotion and marketing. She also is the expert presenter on websites and online marketing and promotion for writers for the San Francisco Writers Conference and the Writing For Change Conference. She wanted to see the bog post Angela Hoy wrote. Here's what she had to say after reading it:

"You are going to get website traffic from this article she wrote for years!" (I liked that!)

After quite a few bits of advice on how to capitalize on the "publicity," she added:

"One more thing, I would say, 'You Want ME to Write for FREE?! Ha Ha Ha!!! Yes, I will! That's how you can promote yourself and your career online. I am in the Internet marketing community and they give out teasers, blogs and free articles ALL THE TIME to lead to better sales of other products. So she is wrong. So there!"

(You'll be reading more from Linda here in November, by the way, when she writes a blog or two for me -- for free.)

And then I asked Kevin Smokler, the editor of Bookmark Now: Writing in Unreaderly Times, the San Francisco Chronicle's notable book of 2005, and the cofounder and chief evangelist of (In a previous life, Kevin was the founder of the Virtual Book Tour, and he has been a presenter at the San Francisco Writers Conference several times. While at the conference, he also offers consulting services on platform building and publishing to attendees and donates all the money he earns to the conference's scholarship program.) I asked him if it was common practice for guest bloggers to get paid for their contributions. He replied, "It is my experience that most blogs, unless run by major media, don't have the budget for paying guest bloggers. The person asked to provide a blog has the right to say 'no,' but they don't have the right to be offended by the request to blog for free. If the request comes from the NY Times, they might expect to get paid, but not if the request comes from an ordinary person. If it is that outlet's standard policy to pay for guest blogs and it is making an exception by asking a guest to blog for free, then that is offensive."

Kevin concluded by reiterating his main point: "It is my experience that, when speaking about someone who writes blogs not as a full-time profession, asking to be paid for that service is unreasonable."

Do I write blogs as a full-time profession? No. Point made. Point taken?

Enough said. I think we've exhausted the topic. No need come November for someone to write on blogging for free or for pay. We'll have more interesting things to discuss. See you then.

Don't forget: Look for this blog at in November. This year's challenge takes place there!

(By the way...the comments have pretty much stopped. I only discarded those three I've mentioned already. You've seen all the rest. Those three were nasty and not worth publishing. Suffice it to say, they sided with Angela.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Forced to Blog Before November

For anyone showing up at this blog because of a posting by Angela Hoy at, let me inform you that this blog lies dormant, with a few exceptions, except during the month of November. Thus, it's name....Write Nonfiction in November. Occasionally, I am prompted to write something newsworthy, as I did when the Amazon/Booksurge issue was all the talk in the publishing world and when I felt the desire to promote a writing conference, which I did in June (my last posting...not in April, as Angela claimed). I feel the need to at least explain that, should you think this blog is "dead," as she incorrectly reported. It is not dead; it lying in wait until November when the challenge begins again.

As for Angela's need to make me so wrong, fine. If she wants to make assumptions about me, fine. If you want to know who I am and what I'm about, read my blog. Then you'll know the truth. Go to my website, and read my work or my bio or my resume. Ask my clients and my students what they think of me and my advice and my work. They know the truth. Go to my other website,, and learn about me as an author and a person, if you feel so inclined.

Angela doesn't know me at all. She is basing her judgements on a series of emails and even on my attempt to clarify a statement about writing for free. She says I misread her rudeness. Is it possible she misread anything in our communication or about me?

For more about writing for free, check back in November...when I will have something to say on the subject and some guest bloggers will offer their expertise and knowledge -- and their writing -- to this blog (for free), because sometimes being of service by supporting other writers is just the right thing to do.

And, by the way, please look for this blog at in the future. This year's challenge will take place there!