A ten-point guide to not working for free

No (wo)man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.

1First rule of working on a mate's project for free - don't do it!

2Second rule of working on a mate's project for free - don't do it!

3But, if you must, then make sure it's a one-off and make sure said friend understands the enormous favour you are doing them.

4Make sure you get something in return - entrance to events, free books to review, that sort of thing.

5Do not do re-writes - if mate changes their mind about what they wanted in the first place and then requests massive changes that take up the entire day to work into the piece, do not be messed about.

6Beware of mates who say no-one is being paid and that their mag would not exist unless people wrote or photographed for free: especially be careful of "arty" publications.

7Be aware that someone on the project is most likely being paid. Always ask the question: why is a creative project refusing to pay their photographers or writers?

8Warning! print-only magazines may switch formats, making it hard to prevent them putting your work online for a fee after you have donated it for nothing.

9Beware legal liability. You are still vulnerable to libel, for example, even when working for free, and most likely the mag is not insured.

0Working for free is bad for the self-esteem: always pitch and then deal!

  • The Freelance acknowledges the recursive irony inherent in publishing this user-generated content.
Last modified: 01 Oct 2014 - © 2014 contributors
The Freelance editor is elected by London Freelance Branch and responsibility for content lies solely with the editor of the time
Send comments to the editor: editor@londonfreelance.org