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The Fine Art of Working for "Free"

I work for "free" a lot. Except, when I look at it in a certain way, I don't ever work for free. I always get something out of it. It is a little confusing when you think about it.

I am a freelance proofreader/writer for Catalyst Labs who produces one of my all time favor games--Shadowrun. When I proofread, I am not getting paid for it. Only, I am. In book credit and product credit (IE: The book I just worked on). It does not seem like much but, for me, it is enough. Getting my name out there is important. I am working in a professional capacity and getting recognition for it. Plus, I get to see what is coming out before everyone else does.

I work for "free" on The Edge of Propinquity. In fact, I pay my guest authors out of my own pocket. I'm paying to work on this webzine. Except, I get to publish some pretty cool people and after 3+ years of doing it, there is a brand and name recognition attached to it. Even better, there is experience that has led me to another editorial job in fiction. This one is will pay me for my work.

Couple the above two examples, along with other writing and editing experience (GRANTS PASS and many RPGs), and suddenly, not only am I a viable resource for producing quality work--whether I am writing, editing or proofing, I am trustworthy resource. To the point that I now have virtue strangers making me offers for staff positions in the writing industry.

This most recent offer is extremely enticing and I'm pretty sure I'm going to take them up on it. I just have to see the crunchy bits in writing so we are all on the same page. So, hopefully soon, some good news.

There is value in working for free… as long as you are getting something out of it – joy, credit, free books or whatever you consider makes it worth it.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Mar. 12th, 2009 11:16 pm (UTC)
Lately I have actually had a lot more experience with this on the acting side rather than the writing side. With the Seattle Knights, there are times where we will perform somewhere for cheap in order to help get a faire off the ground or to help our own recognition. You are never working for free, but payment comes in other forms than money.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )