Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Though I continued to try (peck, peck, peck!) to get a usable download of the dictation file yesterday, no such luck. Going to have to call my client, get the recording company's contact information, and have the studio send me a new file. Most upsetting -- and not a little inconvenient for everyone concerned.

Since I couldn't do any actual transcription work, I spent some time yesterday reworking some of the older blog ideas into honest-to-God articles. I'm posting them on my website for the free use and reprinting of any editor out there who might be so inclined.

I got the idea from another writer's site. At first I was appalled. (You're just GIVING your writing away? It must not be any good!) Then I read the other writer's articles, and discovered that they were quite good. Knowledgeable. Engaging. Useful. What do you know?

I spent the next few days thinking about the novel concept of just giving your stuff away for free. And I came to the realization that I already do it anyway. In this blog, for instance. In the myriad e-mails that I write to writers every week. In the writers' workshops that I teach. (Though I get paid to do the workshops, even then I'm doling out information to whoever asks for it, in the classroom, at lunch, on the way to the restroom...)

The cool thing about offering freebies is the opportunity to open up new markets and reach new people that you wouldn't normally have access to. This is not because of any fault of yours or theirs. It's just that the world is big, complex, and full of billions of people. One person can't possibly find all likely avenues of disseminating information.

Consider doing something similar. If you are an expert in a particular area, or if you regularly write on a particular subject, consider posting some of your work and making it available -- free -- to any newsletter, magazine, e-zine, or other editor who wishes to use it. (Editors are ALWAYS looking for stuff to fill their available space!)

When you do post freebies, you can stipulate that editors may post the text for free, as long as they include your biographical information and your byline wherever one of your articles appears. Make sure that your bio includes your website and / or e-mail address, and who knows what new avenues may open up in front of you!

It may sound trite, but I believe it's true: the more you give to the world, the more the world gives back to you.