“Write for free for the exposure.” Is it a crock or can it be legitimate?
People with jobs in the writing field (and several other creative types, especially artists) will always tell you to never work for exposure, to always write for money. Exposure, in many circumstances, is useless. It’s absolutely useless.
Let’s say you visit a website or blog or even an online publication. You read their content and you like it. Do you go visit the author’s website, find more of their work, pay them for writing? Do you pay for access to something by this author when you just accessed something else for free? No, you don’t. You find more free content and, at best, you support the host not the writer. You were their exposure, and you’ve gained them nothing.
Sure, pieces published to something like a blog will reach an already established audience most likely larger than your personal network or platform. and more people who come to the site when they wouldn’t find you. So maybe your piece gets a strongly positive reaction and you feel great because thanks to your exposure, you’ve made it! No, you absolutely have not. So hundreds of a people liked that thing you wrote? A few will think of you and see if you have something else they can read… for free. Yay! More exposure! You have by now gained a grand total of absolutely nothing.
That principal advice- “know your worth”- is worth it. Money isn’t the most important thing, it’s just an extremely important thing. It’s what writers need to do what they want and need to do. So what writers need to do is avoid working for free.
I mostly agree with you here. I just tend to only publish writing for free if it’s about something where I need to spread the information rather than profit from it.