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When Should Writers Work for Free?

When should writers work for free? It is one of the most difficult questions facing writers in the 21st Century as unpaid outlets multiply online.

In an interview at The Paris Review, we found a historic moment when famous authors wrote for free in a completely unknown publication. When the legendary editor Robert Silvers launched The New York Review of Books in 1962, he went straight to the most talented writers in the country and asked them to work for free.

Check it out:

Our thought was to think of the best writers in the world to review the books of the season—even people who hadn’t written book reviews for years or ever. Many of them we knew—Norman Mailer, [William] Styron, W. H. Auden, Edmund Wilson. We said, “Look, we have three weeks, we can’t pay a penny, will you do it?” And they all did.

Mediabistro Course

The Art of the Book Review

The Art of the Book ReviewStarting August 4, learn how to get paid to write reviews that will influence the publishing landscape! Taught by a Publishers Weekly book critic, you'll learn how to recommend a book to its audience, write reviews of varying lengths, tailor a review to a specific publication and more! You'll leave this course with two original reviews and a list of paying markets for book reviews. Register now!