Myra Faye Turner, Writer
I'm continuously amazed at the number of "publications" and websites that solicit writers to work for them for free. They claim doing so will help pad their portfolio and ultimately lead to paying writing assignments. Sorry, if you can't pay me, then I can't write for you.
I've noticed a lot of ads lately that offer everything from free "swag" to a free snacks (yes, I'm not shitting you. I saw an ad that was looking for a college student to write from their office in exchange for daily snacks!). To these people I still say, "no pay, no writing".
Here's why. First, I make my living writing and I can't afford to write to you for free, or for exposure or for snacks. Snacks won't pay by electricity bill. What's even more annoying are the online sites that claim they receive millions of visitors and ostensibly make money from their ads yet they don't want to pay contributors for their content. People wake up! Maybe at one time you needed to write for free to get clips but today anyone can provide writing samples by starting their own blog and blogging about topics they love. This should be all the samples an editor or potential client need to see to decide if they want to hire you.
If you feel you really need to work for free, then I suggest you find a non-profit or other organization that could really use your talent and offer to complete a few writing projects for them as part of your portfolio. Once you get a few of these projects under your belt, then you may be able to land more paid writing assignments. When I first started writing professionally, I wrote a piece for which I received $0. But, I offered the piece because I needed the clip. Mind you this was wayyyy back in 1998. But that one clip lead to a piece in a tech magazine and a $200 check and from their I was off and running. So don't let anyone tell you your talent is worth no monetary value or a bag of salty chips.