ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Weston Ochse is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, narco smugglers, and human traffickers. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan, and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea. His fiction and non-fiction has been praised by USA Today, The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Financial Times of London, and Publishers Weekly. The American Library Association labeled him one of the Major Horror Authors of the 21st Century. His work has also won the Bram Stoker Award, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and won multiple New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war. Weston likes to be called a chaotic good paladin and challenges anyone to disagree. After all, no one can really stand a goody two-shoes lawful good character. They can be so annoying. It's so much more fun to be chaotic, even when you're striving to save the world. You can argue with him about this and other things online at Living Dangerously or on Facebook at Badasswriter. All content of this blog is copywrited by Weston Ochse.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

84 Million Reasons Why Not To Sell Your Soul for Exposure

I recently read Wil Wheaton's blog called 'You Can't Pay Your Rent with the "unique exposure our platform and reach our site provides" and was exceptionally pleased with his response. It takes a certain amount of balls-chutzpah-audacity-guts for someone to turn down HuffingtonPost.com. I just googled 'audience reach of Huffington post' and clicked Huff's own braggadocios post which says that in 2014 they had 84 million hits. So let's take them at their word for the purposes of this blog.

84 million hits.

How many of you would sell your soul to get 84 million readers to read your work?

So when Huff Post kindly asked WW if they could reblog his blog Seven Things I Did to Reboot My Life he was obviously intrigued.  (BTW, it's a really good blog. Make sure you read it after you finish mine.)

Then Wil asked what the pay was, you know remuneration, ducats, mullah, coin, dollas, recompense-- you know, what the hell will you pay me for my blood, sweat and words-- the response was “unfortunately, we’re unable to financially compensate our bloggers at this time. Most bloggers find value in the unique platform and reach our site provides, but we completely understand if that makes blogging with us impossible.”

Sigh. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me to give them words for free I could at the very least buy a good used car with pinstripes and probably a sunroof.

BTW, I'm a WW fan. The above photo was taken when I was deployed to Afghanistan in 2013. My wife (Yvonne Navarro) and I normally attend Phoenix Comiccon, but because I didn't attend because I was knee deep in the Hindu Cush (boy that sounds dirty), my wife didn't attend either. She'd previously established having me as 'Weston on a Stick' when military duties pulled me away from conventions, etc, so the super cool people at Comiccon put both she and I on a stick and had various celebs photo with them, including WW, as you can see above.
Now back to the blog...

Why people give their work away is beyond me?


Bullshit.  I'm dropping the bullshit flag right here! You are offsides! Get back in line and look at those books, magazines, electronic fropperies you gave your work away to. What's the distribution? 84 million? What? Can't hear you? 84? Maybe? What? Oh, your mother read it? Gimme a break.

WWWWD=What Would Wil Wheaton Do

WW told the kind hard-working paid editor at Huff Post, no thanks.

Okay, I see you're defensive. You're saying to the screen BUT THAT WAS WIL WHEATON.

I get that. Fair point.

I recently was paid to give a presentation to a local Sisters in Crime chapter. (I only mention I was paid because I want you to see the trend.) In it, I talked about my strategy to be a professional from the earliest of my writing days. You see, professionals get paid. Whether you're a plumber, a doctor, a priest or a hooker, if you're a professional, you get paid for it. Sure you can give your services away for free, but why do it? Of more than a hundred published short stories less than a handful were given away and those were to charity markets and less than another handful were less than pro rates. I only did the latter because friends asked me and I acquiesced. Not every time, mind you, but when I could. My very first story was a pro-rate story. Sure, it took a long time, but instead of selling my soul and giving away mediocre work, I was forced by my desire to be a professional and be published by professional markets to produce professional-grade work.

Bottom line, I don't give my blood, sweat and words away and I'm no Wil Wheaton. Now for the 84 million dollar question. If Huff Post asked me to reblog one of my posts for only a wink and a nod, I'd be hard-pressed to say no. I might eventually capitulate and sell my soul. I haven't been fortunate enough to have to make that decision yet. 

But that's not the point.

The point is that my first response would have been - Pay Me! And when they came back and said no, I would have been pissed. 

Sure, I might have paced the room and spat about like a glaring of wet cats. 

Sure, I might have shook my fist at the fickle internet gods and goddesses and then shouted in my best English accent which actually sounds Pakistani - CRY HAVOC! UNLEASH THE GODS OF WAR!

But then I'm not sure what I would do.

84 Million is a fucking lot!

1 Million is a fucking lot!

All I can say is that I'd first think WWWWD and then try and do it.

Because god forbid, I sell my soul for exposure. 

It's just not the thing cool professionals do.

And this is what Merle Dixon (aka Michael Rooker) thinks about people who give their blood, seat and words away.

As The Thing was oft to say, NUFF SAID!


  1. Well said. A couple of questions, though. What about loss leaders? Professional retailers use them all the time. What about barter? Words traded for exposure might be considered to be such, and you would be receiving value (theoretically) in exchange for your work. (The question of whether that exposure would actually be effective in selling books is a completely different issue.)

  2. Blogs are loss leaders. FB and Twitter are loss leaders. What you just read is a loss leader. But a packaged and finished piece of prose should be treated as premium stock.