Exposing “exposure” for what it is: an insult

artist-palette-1172463As much as I love designing book covers, I don’t have time to do it for free.

Last year I designed book covers for a couple of different small publishers. I figured out one publisher would not be paying enough for the time I put into the projects, so I told the publisher I quit. She understood and we parted on good terms.

I had already started several cover options for one author, Jeff, who pulled his project out of this company and went with another. I told him I’d finish the cover for his book for free, which I did. The original publisher would have paid me, but I didn’t think that was going to happen,  so since I quit, I didn’t think it was fair to the author to charge him an unexpected fee.

Anyway, the point is, it was my decision to not be paid for the project.

So when I read Wil Wheaton’s post on his blog on this subject, it reminded me that if someone thinks my talent is good enough to use, it’s good enough to buy. With money.
If some company making millions and billions of bucks every year ever called me and asked to use something I’ve written or designed and tried to convince me that the exposure alone, and no compensation whatsoever, was all I’d get, I’ve decided I would them down politely. On the inside I’d be imagining myself ripping them a new one and planning how to badmouth them on social media.

I mean, I hate that. I hate when an organization like The Huffington Post which has enough money to pay even when they say they don’t (it’s called budgeting, folks), asks a well-known celebrity like Wil Wheaton to use something he’s written but not pay for it? Jerks.

I would never ask a professional in any other field to work for free. “Hey, doctor, can you give me a free prostate exam?” or “Hey, counselor, can you psycho analyze me just for fun?”

It reminds me of a similar situation I read about last year in which a mainline cable network asked graphic designers to donate their work for a contest. What is that? It’s insulting, demeaning and patronizing, that’s what it is.

I plan to publish four mini-novels soon, and a local graphic designer/illustrator who’s done work for me before says she will illustrate the covers. She’s fantastic. Now I don’t have as much money as the Huffington Post or Showtime, but I still plan on paying her. And yeah, I hope she does get some exposure, but she’s still getting paid for it.

Saying that, I do believe there are times when it’s okay for a person to not get paid for their creativity—but only on rare occasions:

  • When that creator, not the client, decides to do work pro bono for whatever reason;
  • When an established non-profit is the client (occasionally);
  • When the creator does just want the exposure;
  • Special circumstances, whatever they may be.

Okay, I’m done pushing venom. Got it out of my system.

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Quense tells how he writes his books and doesn’t apologize for it

Here is my review of Hank Quense’s Planning a Novel, Script or Memoir as it appears in Goodreads and Amazon:

I’ve read many books on writing fiction and after a while I see the same theories and best practices over and over. This is not necessarily a bad thing because a reminder is always helpful. However, when I come across some new best practices for writing a novel, I feel like I’m getting the most out of my time and money spent.

2940151898539_p0_v3_s192x300In his Planning a Novel, Script or Memoir, which is part of his Fiction Writing Series, Quense offers practical tips on how he writes his novels. That’s what I want—something I haven’t heard before, and that’s what I got with this book. At the beginning, he suggests the reader to just take what he or she needs.  Good advice. Not everyone thinks the same way, and, also, who wants to read the same thing over and over? Quense’s recommendation to use Scrivener, his practice of mind-mapping, and the idea of a plot cloud gave me some new techniques to incorporate into my writing disciplines. Of course, he also touches on fiction elements I’ve read elsewhere, but his succinct style on concepts like  “character arc” proved to be a great review and motivator.

So if you are looking for some fresh ideas on writing fiction, I recommend this book. He includes lots of resources in the Appendices. The reader may or may not decide to use Quense’s ideas, especially if the person prefers to write without planning, but as he says about his mind-mapping technique, “Ultimately, you have to decide whether to use this method or not.”

I’m definitely going to check out his other books in the series.

How to Hack a Flashback: Secret Shortcuts of Bestselling Authors

Great article on writing flashbacks by author Christopher Kokoski.

Christopher Kokoski

Flashback Hack Blog Courtesy of Drew Coffman, Flikr – modifications mineLicenseTo Flashback like a bestselling author, you have to know the tools, tricks and “hacks”of how they translate the concept of a fuzzy literary device to the reality of words on the page. Bestselling authors know and use these hacks, and so can you – as soon as you know the secret sauce.

First, here is the Flashback Formula explained in a previous post. Keep this formula in mind as you continue to read the specific mechanics of bestseller flashbacks.

Flashback Formula

No time to read the whole article now? No problem. Save it for later, then glance at the infographic at the bottom of the article. It’s like your personal Cheat Sheet of Flashback Hacks.

Let’s get into the meat of the article. Here are the specific hacks that show you how authors who have consistently published 14 + bestselling novels craft…

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