Last night I did a presentation based on my first ebook, Avventurieri sul Crocevia del Mondo – an informal look at the history of the Silk Road and at the weird chaps that ran along it between the First and the Second World War.
The venue was the hall of the UniTre – the Senior Citizens University – of Incisa Scapaccino, a town roughly three kilometers from where I live.
I did a two hoours gig, the audience was well pleased and entertained and I was asked to do some more presentations on a number of subjects.
It was done pro bono – actually, it was done for two bottles of fine wine and a box of local pastries.
Now, I’ve been called a few weird names – online, mostly – because I do this sort of free gigs, and yet I often affirm the writer must be paid.
Some have called this a double standard.
I do not think it is – the fact that I am doing free voluntary service for my community, basically paying back the welcome I have ben given in these hills when I moved from the big city, does not make me particularly dishonest when I ask a fair price for my work.
Two bottles of fine wine and a box of biscuits is a fair price for my time, in this particular situation, as it is the warmth of the welcome that was given to me.
I’m liable to ask higher fees when dealing with a publisher – it’s not that weird, I think.
And yet, some people do not seem to understand.
Usually, they are those requiring professional services for free.