They say any exposure is good exposure.
Try telling that to the dude who carved his novel, chapter by chapter, into those dead hooker’s chests *is handed urgent note* he sold HOW many copies?! NOTE TO SELF: Find some hookers – preferably already dead to avoid wet work.
Who they are isn’t quite clear and why they think this, even less so.
Exposure is good, people read your work, hopefully enjoy your work, and buy more. Woo, you exposed yourself and instead of getting jail time you got rewarded with money and fame (paltry amounts of money and a smidgen of fame – but who’s counting?).
But when ‘they’ say any exposure they don’t mean in books or magazines or comics or screenplays, they mean free or cheap or morally ambiguous.
Writing for free is like working for free. You know why? Because writing is working!!
If someone asked you to paint their kitchen ceiling for free because it would be good exercise, improve your brush technique, and let all your friends know how good you are at painting ceilings, you’d probably laugh in that person’s face. After you’d removed your foot from their arse that is.
So why would you offer to write an article or story or (god forbid) a novel for no reward? You’re told exposure is good, exposure is currency. Bollocks. Exposure is a gamble. It may or may not increase your audience. People try and convince themselves that they’ll never get into a paying market so they might as well get some good exposure. After all, if they offer to write something for free then people will read it and offer them multi-million pound contracts! Worth every penny you don’t make from the original freebie.
That shit doesn’t happen to people getting paid to write†, so why take the risk for zero return?
Yes, there may be some circumstances where you are willing to write for free, but consider them carefully. Don’t jump in with both feet just because you think the exposure will be good. The exposure would still be good if you were getting paid…plus you’d be getting paid!
Have faith in your work and try not to fall into the trap of helping others make money while you sit under a blanket for warmth and suck cheese out from between your toes because its the only food you can afford.
If you’re going to expose yourself, ask them to show you the money first! Ooh, that reminds me, I have to find those hookers…
† Alright, alright sometimes it happens. But no more than people getting discovered as an actor by some guy that saw them walking their dog in the park. And I don’t see you running out to buy a Great Dane just for…no…no, stop that. Step away from the pet shop – a dog is for life, not for trawling for acting jobs.