Why I will always do some work for free.

You’ve probably heard the saying ‘if you love something never do it for free.’ And the various renditions of said quote. Well, I disagree. Pretty much entirely.

I love my job. I get to wake up in the morning, put my jammies on, sit down on my couch, load up my laptop and go to “work.” I make stuff up for a living. What’s not to love about that?

So why exactly do I do it for free?

It’s no secret that not everyone makes the huge figures by writing. There are hundreds of books released every day, and only a small percentage of those ever make it onto the best sellers lists. So in theory, I should be charging for every piece of work I do no matter who it is for. But that’s not the case.

I have three short ebooks that are free. I recently gave a short story to an anthology for free. I have given numerous short pieces to charity anthologies, and all for free. I will never see a penny in royalties for those pieces of work. And these aren’t shorts that took me ten minutes to write, didn’t get any editing, and don’t have covers or formatting. These are short stories between 1000 and 4000 words that have been edited, the free ebooks have covers and have been formatted. I have put hours of work into each of those pieces. All for nothing.

And that’s what isn’t true. they have not all been for nothing. What many people seem to think is that if you aren’t getting paid you aren’t getting anything out of it. That is not true.

People are far more likely to give my other works a try if they have enjoyed one of my free short stories. My name is out further about in the world due to the anthologies, and my shorts being included in charity anthologies has helped raised money for people in need.

So far from getting nothing out of working for free, I am getting exposure, the chance to reach new readers, the opportunity to help others when I perhaps don’t have the money to just give to charity. Not to mention the feel good factor of helping others.

Which is all why when people say if you love something never do it for free, I would like to remind them all that just because you don’t get any money out of it doesn’t mean you didn’t get something out of it.


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Filed under Michelle Birbeck, Publishing

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