Why you should (not) write for us

We would love you to write for us but should you write for us rather than, say, a publication that pays well? 

As you know, Thanet Creative accepts contributions from the public. As you also know (or do now), Thanet Creative do not pay for these contributions. Which is a good reason not to write for us. There are good reasons why you should write for us and just as many (if not more) why you should not. If you are unsure if writing an article or story for Thanet Creative is for you, here is a short guide.

Don’t write for us, we do not pay

We don’t pay. Not anyone. Not even ourselves. Thanet Creative is a charitable organisation. Any money we get through contributions is spent on other things – like serving the local writing community.

Should we receive a grant or sizable donation for the website, then we will almost certainly run a fun competition with some large cash prizes. That way, those writers we do pay, we pay properly. However, the day to day running of the website will, for the foreseeable future, be a labour of love.

If you have written a story that you think is good enough to be published, get it published. Sell it to a magazine if you can. Sell it to a magazine in another country (First British Serial Rights only cover the UK, you are still good to go in, say, Canada). If you sell it a few times, try offering it for an anthology (anthology rights differ from serial rights). In other words, do it for free or get paid. Free is kind and good. Getting paid well is better.

Do write for us, content sells

The best you are going to get is “the exposure” which puts no bread on anyone’s table. Unless, of course, you happen to have your own blog, in which case that sort of contribution is known as “guest posting” and is a valid SEO and marketing technique. Whole other bag. The payment you get is, not cash, but a nice link and some traffic from interested readers.

Writing a guest post for other blogs is a good way to ratchet up your readership level and get new readers. As someone who has written guest posts, I the past, I can tell you that factual articles about a topic you understand take a lot less time to prepare than fiction work.

Don’t write for us seeking critical feedback

No one has ever done this but writing for any blog to get feedback for a story you are working on is largely going to backfire. If you need feedback (beta reading) come to one of our events like Tea and Chat or a Critique Day. If you cannot make it to our writing events, other groups and writing circles exist in Thanet.

Do write for us if you want to support us

Thanet Creative is a charity, as I have mentioned a few times now. That means that writing for us counts as a donation in kind. Or, to put it another way, writing for us is an act of charitable giving and greatly appreciated.

Talk to your accountant about the value (or lack thereof) of making such a donation for tax purposes. If you want to make a donation in kind and you need to record a financial value for it, please talk to us first so we can agree what that value is.

Don’t write for us if you have never heard of Thanet Creative

There are a lot of local charity groups that could benefit from your artistic donation. Thanet Creative is on that list but surely you would prefer to support a community that you know?

Do write for us if you love Thanet Creative

I hope you are reading this because Thanet Creative has helped you or because you believe in what Thanet Creative is doing. In which case, writing for us may be the right thing for you.

Community groups like Thanet Creative thrive on the support that people like you offer. By adding to the body of example work, advice, and commentary on our site you are adding to the community. That is an awesome thing to do with your time.

Don’t write for us to satisfy your own ego

Publishing for ego’s sake is not the right move. (Despite what I am about to say in the next section). The process of submitting work for publication comes with the very real chance that we might say “no”. We might also say “yes, but…” followed by some areas that need improvement. If your ego is fragile, now is not the time for you to be submitting your work for consideration.

Do write for us to satisfy your own ego

Sometimes what you want to do is just have written something that someone else published. Your ego is not so sensitive that the process will break you and you are ready to work with someone else to see your name on a website. If that is the case, then good – go for it.

Here is a link to five ways you can satisfy that need to be published. If you just need to scratch an itch, we’re cool with that.

Don’t write for us to start your own platform

Authors need to establish a good platform. Thanet Creative’s blog is not the best platform for you. If you are serious about establishing an online presence as a writer, get your own blog. You can get a blog just like ours on Author Buzz UK and retain full creative control. Of course, that then raises the issue of guest posting to raise your profile but that is a whole other reason to write for us.

This is true of any website or publication. If you are platform building, start with a core of your own space and then seek to guest post. In that order.

Do write for us to help other writers

One of the main reasons for Thanet Creative running this blog is to help other writers. That’s what we are here for. A lot of our content here is advice for writers. If you feel you have something to say, then please sign in and say it.

Helping others is, we feel, a reward in and of itself. It is a good and kind thing to do. If you believe in the idea of Karma or the Christian idea of sowing and reaping, and that’s what you want to do – sow some good deeds – we with you on that one.

Don’t write for us if you plan to self-publish that story later

Self-publishing is hard enough without giving away content without a way to point people back to a book you have not yet released. Should you plan to self-publish an anthology of your own work keep it for the anthology.

Of course if after the book is out, you want to share one or two stories as part of your publicity campaign, that’s a whole other reason to write for us. However, get your book finished first.

Do write for us if you want to test the water

So you are a new writer. How wonderful – welcome to the club. Now, for the first time, you want to find out if your work is good enough to get approved by someone else. That’s not a bad reason to write a one-off for the Thanet Creative blog. Let us know that this is your first time and I will try to make sure that you get comprehensive feedback that you can use.

If it turns out you are an undiscovered genius, we will encourage you to find an agent pronto and will always value your contribution to us. If, on the other hand, your work needs more, well, work – that is fine too. We all have to start somewhere. Our web team are nice people and will give you lots of solid feedback to help you shape your article into a ready state.

Don’t write for us if you cannot yet string a sentence together

We all start somewhere but if you are still struggling to coherently express your ideas with the English language it is too soon for you to write for anyone. Come along to one of our events, or to another local writer’s circle. A supportive community will help you grow as a writer. In no time you will be ready to test the waters and submit something.

chimp at a typewriter

Do write for us when you have something to say

If you feel you have something useful to impart (or cool, that’s good too), then you should write about it.

The best writing comes from things you already know – this is especially true of advice on writing. You will notice I never write about telling romance stories. This is because I do not have enough experience to know what I am talking about. If you do, that is one obvious niche you could fill.

Don’t write if you have nothing to say

Seriously, if you feel you want to support us but do not have anything of value to say right now, do not worry about it. It is fine to not write. There are many ways you can contribute – just being a friendly part of the community can be enough.

Do write for us because you want to

Sometimes you just really want to do something. You have your reasons and who are we to argue? If you want to write for us, then you should go ahead and write. We are always happy to share our platform with other voices.

If you (still) want to write for us this is how you do it.

  1. Sign in to Author Buzz UK or create an account
  2. Join our Author Buzz group (it only takes a click)
  3. Chat with us about your ideas (optional)
  4. Select Thanet Creative from “My Sites”
  5. Select “new post” and write

Thanet Creative is powered by WordPress. If you have any questions about how to use it there are literally millions of pages of helpful advice on the web. Hopefully, things should be quite intuitive.

If you need support with these steps you can get support in our Facebook writer’s group or our Author Buzz forum. Our community is really nice and many members will be happy to help you. I’m often around in both locations so feel free to say hi to me.

Don’t write for us when someone is offering good money for your work

Good money for writing means an amount that stacks up to more than basic minimum wage for the hours you put in. If someone is offering a few hundred quid for that amazing story you have – for all we would love to publish it – you should probably get paid instead.

Good pay for writing is hard to find. Crappy low-end pay is abundant. Never give your work away (not even to us) if good pay is on the table.

Don’t write for anyone offering the least they possibly can

If at any time we are clearly earning an income from this blog, you should expect to get a taste of that. A fair taste. As a writer, you should never be willing to offer your art to any group that could pay you a fair amount but chooses not to. Huffington Post, we are looking at you.

Being a writer is not an easy form of self-employment. Even hobby writing is an area full of sharks. Writers that sell themselves short by giving their work to underpaying outfits devalue the writer economy for the rest of us. Please do not do that.

Support yourself and other writers by only writing for charities you wish to support (that don’t otherwise have a budget), friends you owe your life to, or your mum. Always be willing to work for your mum.

Should I work for free?

The question of working for free (rather than low pay which is another story entirely) should have an easy answer. For me, that answer is if the client can pay me a fair amount, then they should but beyond that things can get a bit fuzzy. Businesses, no not ever – a business that cannot afford to pay the full rate is not a viable business. Charities except for large ones with a marketing budget but especially small charities – on the whole, yes. People to whom I owe a huge debt of gratitude, again, yes. And mum. Any reasonable request from one’s mother is probably fair game for a freebie.

I recently found this flowchart (start in the middle) to answer the question. The link opens up to a full-sized version of the graphic.

should I work for free

(Infographic from shouldiworkforfree.com)

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