I’ve written before about companies that ask writers to write for free or nearly free. Add another would-be exploiter to the list: the ” … for Dummies” folks.
On a writers’ email listserv, someone posted the following forwarded email:
Are you a subject area expert who would like to write for Dummies.com?
Because consumers look to Dummies.com for answers on nearly every part of their life, we’re looking for expert authors on all kinds of topics from iPhones to investing. If you’re a topic expert with excellent writing skills and would like to contribute articles to Dummies.com, please visit us.
We’ll review your credentials and writing sample. If there’s a match, we’ll contact you. Unfortunately, we can’t send feedback to everyone, so only the authors that we think are the best match for Dummies.com will be contacted.
I found it curious that Dummies.com mentioned nothing about pay. I know, from a number of writer friends who have authored Dummies books, that the company doesn’t pay well but the work is easy and some books earn out their advances and pay royalties. So I thought these authors might be interested in picking up gigs for the website if the pay were halfway decent. Checking further, here’s what I found:
[You] grant us and our parent, affiliates and licensees the right to use, reproduce, display, perform, adapt, modify, distribute, have distributed, and promote the content in any form, anywhere and for any purpose without compensation …
There’s more but the above is all you need to know. Do not write for companies that want your labor and talent but offer nothing in return. This is a profit-making venture for them but it won’t be for you. Give away your knowledge and talent, and you’ve established its value at $0.
Leave the slave labor to a real dummy and keep looking for a paying gig. And, if you’re so inclined, politely let the Dummies.com folks know that you don’t think much of companies that exploit writers.
– Anita Bartholomew