I wrote this post on LinkedIn early on a Saturday morning so it is obvious that something must have triggered me. Well, the fact that I even have to sit and write this post should be an embarrassment for the publishing industry and individual clients who have the courage to show up with their smug faces, ask for our services and then, expect to pay nothing.

I first started working in the content industry in June 2013 and I have met all kinds of users and abusers, and today, after seven years of experience, I feel the need to say this out loud.

Stop it. Just, stop it.

Byline is something which is mine by right

One of the most common bones that editors and publishers like to throw our way is the “chance to get a byline”. Ummm… I am the writer, so isn’t the byline my right by law? Stop falling for this friends.

If the byline gimmick doesn’t work, they throw in an author’s bio and picture to attract freshers who feel the need to say ‘yes’ because ten other publishers said that they won’t even give them bylines!

So, let me get this straight- you use my content, my bio that elaborates my qualifications and experience, thus building an image for your platform and you use my picture to get hits, ads, clients, money and domain authority, while I like a fool do all the work and get “exposure”.

I agree 100% that it is good for my portfolio to have a byline on reputable websites too. However, where’s my money? Do I feed myself and pay my bills with your exposure?

Then there are those who instead ask me to pay them

Another set of blogs and websites are those who, in turn, demand you to pay them. This boggles my mind. This is very common in India. I have had so many people come down to me- offer me to write for them and then ask for money. I don’t know what to say. I really really don’t.

And, the ones who ghost

Leading publications and I mean national dailies have done this to me. They ask for a specific article. I research, write and email it to them. They share feedback. I rework on my draft, and then they ghost me.

They don’t publish the draft. They don’t communicate. They just disappear.

I get it if you want to reject my writing. Trust me– as someone who has been doing this for almost half of my adult life, I am used to it. Writers who want to progress are generally open to criticism, feedback and rejection– I know that I am (and my editors will vouch for me on this). However, ghosting is just disrespectful and annoying. That kind of behaviour has made me think less of myself when I was younger and impressionable. But, don’t worry. I know better now!

You expect our Grammar to be at Wren & Martin’s levels, you want us to deliver within tight deadlines and you want the content to be original, authentic and creative. Shouldn’t you be ready to pay?

Featured Image: Source

By Surabhi Pandey

Surabhi Pandey, a former Delhi Doordarshan presenter, is a journalist currently based in Singapore. She is the author of ‘Nascent Wings’ and ‘Saturated Agitation’ and has contributed to over 15 anthologies in English and Hindi in India and Singapore. She writes on topics related to lifestyle and travel and is an active reporter on the tech startup ecosystem in Southeast Asia. She is the editor and founder of The Vent Machine.

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