Nothing is Free

Rant Mode: On.

Today I got a very generic email from a blogger that wanted me to promote their blog here on The Mad Reviewer.  Here is a copy of the email:

Hey I was just wondering if you’d have a look at my blog ( and if you enjoy it would you mind promoting it on your blog?
I loved your list!

Okay, so the domain name isn’t real but I’m certainly not giving the person in question the publicity they were asking for.  I sent them a reply, not-so-politely informing them that I do not work for free.  Thus, my rant today: nothing is free.

But wait, Carrie, you say.  Don’t you run this blog for free?  Don’t you guest post for free?  Don’t you review books for free?

Eh, not really.

Nothing is Free

I run this blog because I like talking about books and even though you’re not supposed to be in it for the stats, I must admit they do give me a bit of an ego boost.  No, I don’t make money per se, but I do get paid for my efforts.  My main form of payment is in return for posting (hopefully) interesting content, people comment on it and have a discussion with me.  I enjoy discussions and they’re like a reward for a job well done, which is all the payment I need at the moment.

As for guest posts, you’ll notice in my guest posting policy that if you guest post for me, I’ll guest post for you.  Unless it’s a very special circumstance, like getting huge exposure or for a cause I believe in, I do not guest post for other people unless they will guest post for me.  That’s called a trade and it is considered a form of payment.  When authors contact me to review their books, it is the free book (either an ebook or a paperback) that is my ‘payment’ in exchange for a review.  So that’s not really free either.  You don’t have to receive money in order to be ‘paid’, but money is a pretty good incentive.  After all, I’m hardly working as a content editor for Mark Lee out of the goodness of my heart.


You could call me greedy and I wouldn’t blink.  Yes, I am greedy.  So?  Every single one of you out there is; greed isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  It’s what makes us get up to go to work in the morning (or evening if you do shift work) and you will do things for yourself you will do for no one else.  If you were working every day while someone was on your couch doing nothing, you wouldn’t put up with it forever.  Sooner or later you’d snap and tell that person to either do something for themselves or leave.  It’s natural to be greedy, but as with pretty much everything, there’s something said for being a moderate.

I digress.  My main point is that if you’re asking a complete stranger for a favour, you had better be offering something in return.  In the case of the email writer, they were asking me to take time out of my day (time I could use to work on Mark’s anthology and get paid) to sit down and write a post promoting a complete stranger who has not even commented on my blog, tweeted a post of mine or linked to me in a post.  In essence, they wanted free publicity.  Well, guess what?  Nothing is free.  And now some wise words from John Scalzi, who knows what his work is worth:

John ScalziRant Mode: Off…for now.


  1. Zen A.

    You are more within your rights to rant. I’ve had to deal with a similar sort of people, and I’m always left with a feeling of distaste. It’s just common courtesy to give something in return if you’re going through the trouble of featuring them on your blog!

    • Carrie Slager

      Absolutely! The person emailed me back saying they just wanted ‘a mention’, not a full promotion post. *rolls eyes* Then say that in the email, please! Either way, I’m still frosted that someone who has never done anything for me contacts me out of the blue expecting me to do them a huge favour.

  2. The Masquerade Crew (@MasqCrew)

    In the beginning I freely did stuff upon request because I was trying to gain an audience and traffic. That’s not the case anymore. Someone asked to do a cover reveal a while back. I emailed the author and told her that I don’t do those for free anymore. After all, there are others paying for the exact same thing. I outlined my prices (which are far cheaper than most other outfits) and even gave her an option to do it for free (with a few caveats). Guess what? I never heard back.

    • Carrie Slager

      That’s not really surprising. Either these people feel entitled to free things or they really have no idea about the time and effort they’re asking you to put in. I suspect it’s a combination of both.

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