Just because I write and edit, doesn’t mean I can afford to do it for you, for free.
When I first started my writing career, I gave away my services to anyone who would give me a chance. I did the same when I started editing, gave away my services to build my client base. It’s an effective way to build a business, but it can’t go on forever.
I have friends, acquaintances, and even referrals asking me to “just take a look at my book, and tell me if you think it’s worth it,” and “just read over this and let me know if you find any mistakes.” Here’s the thing, I’m working, and working hard, to make a living by just taking looks, and checking for mistakes, and I actually have people who pay me to do that. Those people understand that my time is money, and they respect that. I appreciate that.
I don’t feel those who ask for freebies don’t respect my time but I don’t feel they quite understand the advantage they’re taking. It’s hard to say no, because I know it’s important to them, and I like to help, but I have to. I’m busy establishing my career, working to create a name for myself, and to do that, I can’t keep giving away the milk (as my mother used to say).
I’m not writing this post to complain but to acknowledge that I understand both sides…writing is hard, and it’s expensive to produce a book, but it’s also hard to pay the bills for editors, too. Having something you can barter, design services, formatting, whatever, that’s great…that’s not giving something for free, and I know everyone is willing to take a look at that. For me, though, I’ve decided I’ve helped my last free client, and it’s not about them, it’s about me.