I've been writing ever since I can remember. And for money for around 10 years now - as an advertising copywriter and journalist.
But very early on in my career, I had decided that as a matter of principle, I would have nothing to do with people expecting freebies from writers. "It'll only take a few minutes of your time," they'd say.
Or in the case of advertising writing, "It's only a slogan," expecting I'd charge a pittance.
A slogan in advertising encapsulates all of a brand's personality. Like 'Just do it' of Nike. It isn't written for free. Or charged per word.
Here's a charged up and amazingly candid interview with Harlan Ellison, the prolific American writer of 'speculative fiction' like the Star Trek series. On why writers must be paid:
"They always want the writer to work for nothing." Harlan says. And as if people taking writers for granted isn't enough, writers working for free adds to the problem.
Writers should see themselves as professionals - and like every profession, charge for their efforts when others stand to profit from their writing. It's only fair.
Of course, there are exceptional cases where a writer might wish to waiver his or her fee for charity or a humanitarian cause. But where the writing is for commercial use, the writer deserves to be paid for the blood, sweat and tears. Even if it's 'just a slogan'.
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