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.