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March 29, 2010

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another outspoken female

Lucy you've hit the nail on the head. Your work is good, great in fact and truly developed in these 4 years.

I just twigged, the media company behind this is headed by a well-known ex-The Age restaurant reviewer/journalist. All that flattery about how they love your work. Would a Fairfax journo (when he was one) write for free/flattery?

Lucy

AOF, exactly. The email suggested that after a long, involved search, a shortlist of excellence had been compiled and I was, luckily, on that list. By appealing to my Leonine vanity, by making me feel 'special', I considered their offer, but in essence, how is it a good deal for me? Offers like these are coming hard and fast of late - we need to keep a collective critical eye on things.

I have no doubt 'real' writers would ever consider their work, however lightweight, to not be worth even a penny...even Fairfax ones.

Bookshelfofoz

I'm not a blogger, although I read heaps of blogs and do appreciate the amount of work that goes into them. I am, however, a bookseller with a special focus on cookbooks, and I had to go and find the offending media company's site to make sure I wasn't selling any of their titles. I'm not, and I won't. Love your blog, Lucy - I'm glad I found it! And congratulations on your 4-year anniversary.

Lucy

Hi Judy, and thanks - I think what matters here is that we don't fall into the trap of feeling as though, simply because we are asked nicely, that we are obliged to join in such projects. Glad you found me, as I've now found you - though you should know that I am dangerous in a well-stocked cookbook section...

faith

Great post. Just as any writer bloggers deserve to be recognised in some way for their writing. Especially from someone planning on making a profit from it. Whats wrong with royalties?

Zoe

If you choose to share at your blog, it's a gift to us. But if you're giving it to someone who's using it to profit, it's silly.

Good call, Lucy

Lucy

Faith: Exactly!

Zoe: Yes, a gift is a lovely way to view it, a way of describing blogging I'd never actually thought about before...thanks.

Mariana

Oh god you struck a chord with me Lucy. When you said "and it is work people", you absolutely made my day. I have just been scratching my head after posting the biggest post ever and spent hours getting photos and the layout together. You bet it's work! I am still trying to work out what is driving me to do all this. Nonetheless, like you, I feel proud. And my dear you certainly ought to be proud. You have created a blog that is extremely well named because after every visit I leave feeling a little more 'nourished". And I am referring to the soul! Happy four years and congrats!

jude

right. been there.

Paula

Yours was the first blog I fell in love with Lucy, it is priceless, happy anniversary x

sophie munns

Lucy,
to think they figured they need not pay someone of your calibre is so laughable!

Numbers of successful creatives round the globe have found blogs are an excellent way to generate - over time (like yourself ) something of great value - through discipline and hard work and talent, an enviable "product" worthy of application to other realms

- for a price please!!!

Blogging is one very public vehicle for a creative person with pleny of credibility in corresponding disciplines where text and image are called into play.

Its if the only perception there is that 'to blog is to play"...the person is not serious nor engaged in using this vehicle of communication as a critical part of their working and thinking and developing of content and structure.

Just because one starts a blog does not mean one will be there in 4 years, with an increasingly singular voice and depth of material worth sharing! Sheer longevity is also not enough.

Mind you I think blogs have room to be many things to many people...but ... one knows when one encounters something truly substantial whatever the medium!

Glad to read this post and hear you dug those heels in and others are behind you!
ciao,
S

Ricki

I'm with you (and everyone who's already commented) on this one, of course. It galls me whenever I get a request to give my writing for free, when the originator is definitely going to make a profit. As you say, why not offer to share? This is a topic of hot debate over here at PWAC (Professional Writers Association of Canada). Many writers think it's sometimes advantageous to write for free when just starting out, as a way to "get the word out there." I can understand that approach; but once you're established, as you are, why would you work for free? Who would?

Duncan | Syrup and Tang

Just occasionally (very rarely) when you challenge these people who think they can flatter you by wanting your content for nothing, they actually cough up some money if you're tough about it. But mostly it's insulting and presumptuous belief that your content ain't worth a cent. Sigh.

Kalynskitchen

I decided a very long time ago never to write anywhere for free, and I certainly don't think other bloggers should do it either.

Leslie Avon Miller

work = time, talent, training, experimentation and energy should = .similar exchange of energy (i.e. payment). The means by which this exchange takes place is in flux. It will be interesting to see how it works out.
One thing your blog has done is give you exposure. I would recognize a cook book by you, and pick it up in a heart beat.

sooz

Oh lordy yes. I've contributed to several books now, some have been paid and some not, and I am definitely done with not. And I do understand about no upfront payment where there is speculation, but royalties should definitely be shared, as should accolades, press mentions and further offers of work. I'm over making other people's careers for them.

Christina

Good work, woman.

I'm always impressed by the quality of your work. It is worth paying a pretty penny for.

chelsea

How lucky you are to have that publishing/book-selling experience; to be able to see beyond the flattery to the bottom line. I'm all for art being accessible to the masses, but when someone out there is making a profit from your donated hard work and beautiful art, well, that's truly insulting.

Chubby Hubby

Lucy, just found out via Duncan (Syrup and Tang) that you had posted on this. I did also. Equally aggravated at the idiocy and boldness of these guys. A friend had the best response. We should have asked if they'll be giving the book away free.

Lucy

Thank you - all of you - for adding clout to the argument against and support for both the medium and, more specifically, my content.

Being Australian, I am deeply embarassed by the fact that such an unworldly, ungenerous gaff that went out across the English-speaking world came from a publisher in my very own backyard...

Ricki makes an excellent point. Yes, for someone starting out, promotion of this kind is a potentially marvellous opportunity, a chance to be seen and to shine, but once established - in whatever guise we choose to use the word - we need to hold on to our own work. Sophie, you are absolutely correct that a blog is a place to develop and grow a set of skills. The presumption by professionals that that skill set is somehow worthless (in a financial sense) is plain ludicrous.

There were other things in the email that made me uncomfortable, and I hope that by reading this, and the subsequent comment thread (I'm just as proud of the intelligence and energy each of you bring to my blogging life as I am of its content) that people who were perhaps waivering between 'yes' and 'no' were able to make the right decision for themselves.

Thank you also for the anniversary wishes! It was only mid-rant that I realised it's been 4 years. That deserves a toast, I think.

Cheers.

rachel

Perfect timing. I need to think about my situation at the moment which is quite difficult. Thank you and happy happy birthday.

WizzyTheStick

Well said! I value my time and the investment I have made to blogging. Absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be compensated for your efforts.

Amber Shah

I agree with your sentiment that blogging is "real" writing and that any writer who is delivering real value should not hesitate to insist on being paid for his work. Also correct to even call it "downright patronizing" for a widely read and already published author.

But... I think you took it a step too far when you said "Hoodwinking writers like myself into providing free content is not only unfair, it’s deceitful." Did they not disclose that it was unpaid in the VERY first correspondence with you? To me, deceiptfulness would be to hide that fact until a much later meeting, or to hide it from view until even after a contract was signed.

There are people for whom getting published in a book would be enough to make them happy, at least for now. Maybe it would just be a source of pride for them. (Getting my hair colored is also out of pride, so it's not that pride doesn't have a price) Maybe it would give them the confidence to look for a publisher for a paid book. Or maybe it would give their writing "resume" a professional addition. It's not incomprehensible to me that someone might want to do be published even if it were for free. And certainly if someone agrees to those terms UP FRONT, they are not being hoodwinked.

There are PLENTY of examples where people contribute free content/work of some kind for the exposure (or just for fun) and someone else profits. So long as everyone is up front about the terms, it's all fair.

Lucy

Amber - Granted, they are strong words but I was making a point when I used the words hoodwinking and deceitful. The publisher will no doubt be flooded with people wanting - desiring - that free publicity and I don't have a problem with people who are interested in taking the opportunity up with gusto. Kudos to them.

Here's the thing. I wrote this post in response to yet another request to give my content away. I am FULLY AWARE of the fact that there are PLENTY of examples of people contributing free work - as I said, I've been involved with books and writing for years and have enjoyed the exposure free writing gives (it's not much, people) - but my problem with this SPECIFIC email was its patronizing tone. A publisher needs content in order to make a book and, therefore, money, right? Just for once, I would have liked to see someone offer some cash - however minimal.

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