Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Why Write for Free?

A while ago I had offered to write about my work for the Society for Technical Communication's journal, Intercom. I was now asked to provide such an article this week. The column in question is called "My Job" and offers a first-person account of a particular technical communicator's work. The text is accompanied by a photo of that communicator at work. That photo request caused a super-fast office cleanup in the midst of deadlines and enlisting my son (an artist, but not a photographer) to take pictures of me at my desk. You can see one of the results at right.

This is the fourth (unpaid) piece I have written this year, and I just committed to writing another book review by the end of July. In addition, I am waiting to hear back on proposals I have submitted for writing 2 other articles. Except for the "My Job" column, none of these articles are about myself or my company. So why am I spending all that time to write for free? I studied journalism in college, so maybe I should just become a freelance writer ...

The object of this exercise is marketing my translation services, of course -- although if someone wanted to hire me to write original copy, I might be interested. (Any editors reading this?) All the articles I submit include a short biographical note with my name, company name, website and blog. If readers of the article (or blog post or book review) find my writing interesting and/or helpful, they will share it with others. And if they, their friends or acquaintances need translation services, I hope my name or company will come to mind.

I do list these articles on my website, but to get more mileage out of that work, I should ask about posting them in their entirety on my website, as well. So here's an item for my to-do list: Contact the persons to whom I submitted these pieces and ask about copyright. If I can post them, I'll note in a future post where they are all located.

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