Please do not ask me to work for free.

“Can you give me feedback on…”
“Can you give me an overview of…”
“Can you take a look at…”
“Can I pick your brain about…”
“Can you give me tips on how to…”
“Can you just write a quick…”

Please be clear: if you’re starting a message to me like this, chances are, you’re asking me for professional work. In the last week, I’ve gotten seven such messages. That’s typical.

I would love to be in a financial position to do some work pro bono. I am not, and so cannot.

My consulting rate is a sliding scale of $60-120 per hour (edit 7/26/22: pay-what-you-can sliding scale $75-300 for individuals, significantly higher for corporations and institutions). My writing rate is $2/word. If you want to hire me, you send an email to, with the kind of consultation or writing you’re looking for; I’ll get back to you as soon as I can on whether and when I can take the job, and then work together with you on a contract specifying scope of work and payment. I require 50% of the full payment up front.

A cheaper option: I specifically designed the $3/month tier on my Patreon for working artists who can’t pay a one-on-one consultation rate. Patrons can ask me anything they like, and I answer via social media. They also get Process Diaries, or essays about creative work, that I don’t publish anywhere else.

A free option: over the last six years, I’ve written extensively about the creative and business aspects of writing all over the Internet, mostly on my blog. It takes a quick Google search to find them.

The exceptions are: if I’ve offered to help of my own accord; if we’ve arranged a barter or work exchange; or if you’re asking for a blurb, testimonial, or letter of recommendation.

Thank you.


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One Comment on “Please do not ask me to work for free.”

  1. jamjarhead says:

    This post is very familiar to me. Younger or less experienced artists seeking free advice comes partly from being so accessible, articulate, and friendly. Drawing clear boundaries and stating professional fees is a logical and necessary step. Your desire to help pro bono is admirable. When you are wealthy that will be a possible option. BTW, can you take a look at…?

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