Marilag Lubag's Blog

Freebies | February 15, 2016

Last week, Kristen Lamb pointed out how giving away free stuff could actually backfire and hurts us writers. She pointed out that while giving away freebies might give writers exposure, exposure cannot pay rent. She’s saying that giving away everything for free would mean that people would expect that novels don’t cost anything—a.k.a. the Law of Supply and Demand. The more supply there is relative to the demand, the less the price.

Not only do this topic affects writers, it also impacts other artists as well. While there are people who frown upon giving away their products, I believe that giving away freebies is a good way to advertise. It means that you would get your name out there at very little cost to you. However, just because you’re giving away your product for free doesn’t mean you have to give away everything. It cost you time, brain cells, and materials to produce your work. You have to find a balance between giving your products away and getting compensated for your efforts.

For example, I watch K-dramas and anime for free. Crunchyroll, one of the best anime sites out there offers their service for free. They also show K-dramas. And it’s legal. They have a three tier pricing—one for free, one for limited, and one for the best. The free things allow you to watch the videos but they tend to have a lot of commercials and HD is not available. The one for limited price means that you can access all videos commercial free and in HD and all the manga. The one for the best price works a lot like Amazon prime—they also include free shipping for the anime merchandise also available on the site.

Another online free service I know is the Free Belly Dance Classes. The site is totally free but if you check it out, you’ll notice that it’s full of ads. Advertisements are the reason why the website has been up for so long. Then there’s the section of DVD’s—it’s $5.00 for each one. Tiazza also accepts donations from people who wants to help her keep her site running—a.k.a. the tip jar.

Then there are the people from self-help industry. They are the ones advocating that people should be willing to work for free. I’m pretty sure they’re partly to blame with why everybody are handing out their work for free. Oprah Winfrey does associate with a lot of them and they were the ones advocating on doing things for free. Still, there’s always a catch. I notice that everytime a particular self-help expert offers a free talk, they only offer it for free for a limited amount of time. Usually it’s between 24-36 hours. If you miss it and you want to listen, you have to buy it.

Just because people are advocating giving away our work doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t get compensated. There is no such thing as free lunch. We have to value ourselves and our efforts too. We have to find a balance to do both.

Should you give away your work for free? What do you think?

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