Jane Eaton Hamilton

"I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions.” – Lillian Hellman

Tag: working for exposure

Pay the Fucking Writer–and not at 30 year old Canada Council rates, either

It bears remembering that you have a duty and an obligation to pay professional rates and expenses for professional appearances.

The “death by exposure” climate has always bothered me. I remember one bookstore which actually demanded, after I read for them, that I return my meagre Canada Council reading fee back to them.

And while we’re on the topic, Canada Council rates are not what you should be paying, folks. Multiply it.

You wouldn’t ask a dentist, a lawyer, an accountant to work for free. If you have paid anyone–and that includes your salary–but you can’t pay us a living wage, then you need to shut your event down.

Think of what goes in to a shared reading. The writing itself may have taken years, or months, or weeks. Certainly it will take anywhere from an hour to several hours to decide what to read, to time it properly, to practice its delivery, to figure out performance clothing etc. With travel, the event itself will take probably five or six hours for the writer; you may think you should only pay for the writer’s twenty minutes on stage, but that writer, courtesy demands, must appear early and stay through the evening through the other readers. Additionally, that writer may also have to pay for a babysitter, gas, parking, and/or a meal.

Harlan Ellison

Writers: Value Yourself and Your Work

Sorry, but I don’t really want to work for free

Working for “Exposure” by Hanna Blank

“This morning’s form letter, after having been asked yet again to lend my name/track record/time/energy/expertise to being a “featured speaker” to someone else’s for-profit programming, on the basis that it will somehow make me money through exposure… if I also drive the exposure via social media…
“Thank you for reaching out to me about this event, it sounds like a great offering and I wish you well with it, but I will not be joining you.
“Past experience with events organized on this model has proven that for me, these events are not remunerative, either financially or in terms of my professional CV.
“Therefore I must consider them as entirely pro bono work. My time for pro bono work is of course limited, and as a result I have a longstanding policy that I do not do pro bono work for for-profit events/organizations.
“I warmly invite people who ask me to participate in such events on this sort of remuneration basis to consider, for the future, what some other financial models for such events might be. I feel it is an important gesture of political and professional respect for even organizers to try to make sure that cultural workers, activists, and changemakers are paid in real terms, not contingencies, when they are asked to do real work.”

PS  “It’s only flattering so many times, this thing where people like your work so much they’re willing to offer you the chance to make them money.”  Hanna Blank

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