Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday Salon


So today should be a fun day. Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows the fun hasn't exactly started yet, at 7 am, but I'm optimistic.

After work today I'm going to a shrine-making workshop at a local store specializing in Mexican folk-art imports, to make one of those sparkly, glittery shrines to the Virgin Mary that you see sometimes. I'm really looking forward to it. I think it should be a lot of fun.

I got an offer recently to write book reviews for a start-up website geared towards women, and I think I know what I'm going to say to them at this point, but over the past week or so that I've been corresponding with one of the principals I've had to think about this whole blogging thing. The woman I talked to wanted to me to write one review a week of a current book, for no compensation except a link to my blog. It sounded tempting at first- all that exposure, a byline of my own, etc. But just for a link? At the BlogHer conference, one of the speakers talked about how as women sometimes we are too quick to give ourselves and our skills away for free, and that it's important to assign value to what we do, because nobody will value what we do if we do not value it ourselves.

Now, I wouldn't expect to get paid a fortune to write reviews for her website, but it shouldn't cost me anything either, and if someone is going to assign a workload he or she should not expect me to be satisfied with a link to my blog as "compensation". So review copies would be the very least of what I'd like. (Never mind that reading a book a week for someone else is more than I'm willing or able to do.) If I'm going to add value to someone's business, it's reasonable to ask for value in return. I explained all of this and this woman was very reasonable and responsive, but it got me thinking. I'm sure that she could find many, many bloggers who would be willing to be exploited in just the way she was proposing, just because they might not know that they are entitled to more. So my message today is, don't sell yourself short. When you provide a business service to someone, make sure they treat you right and compensate you appropriately. If you're getting involved with a for-profit business, remember that the only cause is the owner's pocket. I have a feeling that as time goes by, more and more of us will be fielding similar offers so it's good to start thinking about these issues now.

15 comments:

The Tome Traveller said...

Good morning Marie and thanks for this inspiring post! A book a week, of their choosing no doubt, is a little much to ask. A book a month would be more reasonable. Wish I had known about the Boston conference, I would have made the trip! Maybe next time...

Shana said...

Marie, thanks for the thought-provoking post.

I would have loved to attend the BlogHer session.

Have fun at the shrine-making workshop. I've always thought those shrines are gorgeous.

Shana
Literarily

Shana said...

Marie, what's your Twitter ID?

bermudaonion said...

I totally agree with you - as a one time deal, a link isn't bad, but on a weekly basis, you should be paid for it.

Audrey said...

I agree, too!

Lo said...

You are absolutely right with your perceptions of receiving compensation, and not giving your work away for free or for only a link.

Have fun at the workshop!

Enjoy Simchat Torah! :)

Andi said...

Well said! A review a week strikes me as very extensive for no compensation, too.

Yasmin said...

Great post and agree that whatever you do it should be a WIN-WIN for both of you.
Have a great Sunday!

writemeg said...

People I've met love to employ flattery and other manipulations as an attempt to get talented writers to produce for free. While many people do write just to write (and there's nothing wrong with that -- that's why I love my blog!), I still expect compensation for my content. You definitely should too.

Coming from a family of journalists and writing and editing myself, I've learned to assign a value to my content -- especially my proofing. If editors and others believe a link should be compensation enough for all the work of a crafted review, let them do the work themselves -- they might understand things a little better!

Thanks for the interesting post -- my dad and I talk about this quite a bit.

Kathy said...

Marie hope you have fun at your workshop. I don't know if I would want to agree to having to read a book a week that someone else choose, write a review on it and the only thing I was getting in return was a link to your blog umm I would think really hard before committing to it. You are like the rest of us, we read because we enjoy doing it. Would kinda make it seem more like work than something a person enjoyed?!

Sandra said...

Very interesting thoughts, and you're right of course. I've posted my first Sunday Salon, which is mostly a wrap-up of my weekend reading for the read-a-thon but I think I will like participating in this feature. Hope you have a good day.

caite said...

A commitment to a book a week is a job. And I don't work for free. Especially if someone else is getting something from it. Then it feels a bit like being taken advantage of.

Now my blog...at my pace, with on one to answer to except myself..that is a different matter.

And I have enough problem answering to myself!

mattviews said...

Marie, you should be compensated for more than a link, really. Plus one book per week is quite demanding in my opinion.

Anna said...

The shrine-making workshop sounds fun! Hope you had a wonderful time.

I agree with everything you said. Book bloggers spend a great deal of time doing what we do for free, and I don't mind because I really have a great time with it. But a one-book-a-week commitment for something other than your own blog is way too much without any real compensation.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Marie said...

Yasmin- YES! :-)
Meg- thanks for that great reply!