I started writing non-fiction in my high school’s Journalism class, which made me fall in love with it right away. I ended up joining the yearbook, and interned at the Miami Herald for a school project. This led to me working on all three of my college’s publications. Over time, I stepped away from it to take care of life stuff, but I ended up stepping back into writing around 2007. I replied to every writing-related job I could, and ended up getting a few assignments. Unfortunately, I also learned some very hard lessons.
My value wasn’t appreciated.
I spent a few years working on a couple of projects that ultimately went nowhere. People wanted me to write for this “exposure” she discusses in the article. I was pushed aside by people, had to fight to get what little pay I was owed, and the list goes on. It was a tough time. Not only that, but my own family did not value what I was doing, either. I wasn’t working a nine-to-five, so clearly I was available at all times for whatever they needed.
I stepped away.
After all that, I decided that it was just not worth it anymore. I couldn’t continue to spend hours pouring over writing ads that wouldn’t pay much, if at all. I couldn’t keep getting promises that were not delivered on. I also was certainly not going to take some outsourcer’s offer to write for $1 while they sent off the work to someone and got paid much more.
Trying something new.
I ended up getting into fiction writing in 2010, and I really enjoyed the process, so I have stuck with it, even with the terrible pay. Creating these characters and telling their stories is fun, and it helps fulfill that creative energy I have been unable to satisfy with painting or playing music. Still, this article is very, very true. I realized recently that I am letting myself fall into the same trap. I hand out books, hoping for beta feedback and reviews. So far? The Beta comments come from one or two, at most. The reviews? Well… yeah. That didn’t happen. So, what am I going to do about it?
I’m going to institute the same policy Shay has, with a minor tweak: No more free books. The only freebies that will be handed out are to the occasional contest winners on my mailing list and author events, or to betas/readers who will absolutely commit to a review. No review, no more books. It just seems to make sense, and I hope it helps.
I have been guilty of not reviewing if I haven’t been committed specifically to do so, and I am working to correct that. I already have reviews done of pretty much every book I have read this year, and those reviews will be heading to Amazon as well. Maybe those reviews will stay, maybe they will suffer a review purge, as has happened in a few cases. Either way, it doesn’t matter to me. I know how rewarding it is to get one, and I am determined to help be the change I’d love to see. How can I expect what I don’t give? How can I be valued if I am willing to continuously give out review copies that are not reviewed?
The Bottom Line
I really hope that by sharing their posts, as well as my own thoughts, that we can start a movement that will help our favorite writers succeed. Please join me in this. Let’s support the small people.