What I Won’t and Will Do for Free for You

November 15th, 2009 by Bob Bly

Every day readers contact me and ask for favors for which they do not want to pay me.

If you are one, here?s what I won?t and will do for you for free:

1?I won?t look at your web site and give you my comments or thoughts.

2?I will briefly reply personally (not an auto-responder or an assistant, but me) to any e-mail that logically seeks or requires a response.

3?I won?t read your sales letter, resume, or other copy you have written.

4?I won?t have lunch or coffee with you. (Amazing how many people expect me to give up over a thousand dollars worth of my billable time in exchange for buying me a grilled cheese sandwich.)

5?I will answer brief questions via phone or e-mail at no charge.

6?I won?t give you a free copy of one of my books or products because you plead hardship, unless you send me papers proving you have filed bankruptcy ? in which case I will.

7?I will refer you to qualified experts or vendors who can provide services you may need ? again at no charge (I accept no referral fee).

8?I won?t read or review your book or e-book manuscript. I want to (I love to read and collect books), but I simply do not have the time.

9?I won?t speak at or come to your club or organization?s meeting.

10?I will allow you to reprint some of my content on your site or elsewhere at no charge, as long as you credit me as the source and include a link to my web site.

11–I am highly unlikely to promote you or your product to my list unless I know you or you were referred to me by someone I know and trust.

12–I will politely decline your kind invitation to visit you at your home and hang out when I am in your state, as I almost never travel and therefore am unlikely to ever be in your state.


This entry was posted on Sunday, November 15th, 2009 at 5:34 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

37 responses about “What I Won’t and Will Do for Free for You”

  1. Top Ten Cars you Won’t Find in the US | Compact Car Only said:

    […] What I Won't and Will Do for Free for You – bly.com blog – bly.com … […]

  2. Czech Hydrogen Fueling Station Open for Business | Hydrogen Cars … | Alternative Fuel Automotive Wisdom said:

    […] What I Won't and Will Do for Free for You – bly.com blog – bly.com … […]

  3. Gerold said:

    you didn’t say anything about your exceptions 😉 (no, serious: a good thought, making such a list)

  4. Fiona Fell said:

    Reading your list made me think a little more about the value I place on my time. And just how valuable it is to me. In both $ and love.

  5. Kurt said:

    Bob the Diva!

    What you hint on with your little rant brought me to a good question to ponder.

    Are there internet manners?

    Do we as a society feel that anyone we meet on the internet is automatically now part of our extended network? There is an unusual familarity with internet personalities but does that justify asking them for things that we would not from a normal professional?

    or am I all wrong and would it be accepted in internet society to ask an internet celeberty to read your manuscript and give you his advice on it free-of-charge and Bob is just getting what any celeberty gets?

  6. Shirley George Frazier said:

    Bob, I also receive the same requests at least twice a week.

    Your list proves that no matter what the industry, the same questions and offers prevail.

  7. Greg said:

    About seven years ago, I was in a bar in New Orleans having a couple of beers with a friend. Dustin Hoffman walked in to check the score of the football game on TV, I think.

    I was shocked — a little — when a couple of people went up to him.

    I have a ten foot rule. I stay at least ten feet away from any celebrity whom I recognize. I think a virtual ten foot rule for the Internet is not a bad idea.

  8. Kyle said:

    The grilled cheese sandwich lunch idea has baffled me for decades.

    I once had a sales lady tell me outright she wanted to buy me lunch because she might need favors from me in the future.

    So for $7 I owe you $500? Gee, thanks.

    But that grilled cheese, crisp on the edges…oh yea.

  9. Justin Bachelor said:

    I like the #6. Some people ask for your product for free even if they can buy it at any given amount. It’s actually reasonable that you set conditions on when to accept free service for others. Otherwise, people will abuse you and eat much of your time.

  10. Lou said:


    Your letter is reminiscent of a classic announcement by the famous American literary critic, Edmund Wilson.

    It’s a scream. Here’s a link to it:


  11. T said:

    What about this guy?


    Is “The Copy God” available to meet me for lunch? :)

  12. Steve Rainwater said:

    It IS truly amazing that consideration is not more obvious to some so-called professionals. Although I don’t have anywhere near your status and reputation, it is suprising how frequently I get asked to “review” or “provide suggestions” for someone I know, but not all that well, so that they can use my “suggestions” to create revenue.

    On the other hand, when one of my close friends (who would be allowed to make such requests) asked me to write him a cover letter with a quick turnaround, he said he didn’t even need a quote – just send him an invoice.

    One additional note – if you do ever travel through Midway Airport in Chicago (I read #12 – the odds are not good) try a Manny’s Ultimate (grilled cheese, thick bread, tomato and bacon). It could shed new light on the whole thousand dollar grilled cheese lunch thing for you. slr

  13. Do You Get Paid To Eat Lunch? said:

    […] Bob Bly made an interesting and insightful post on his blog regarding what he will — and won’t — do for free (thanks to Terry Dean for pointing it […]

  14. Bankruptcy | New York Bankruptcy Lawyer Says Not To File For … | Credit Finance Wisdom said:

    […] What I Won't and Will Do for Free for You – bly.com blog – bly.com … […]

  15. Dustin said:

    What if I run into you at the supermarket and just happen to have a copy of one of your books on me? Would you autograph it and let me take a picture (with the camera I happen to have on me) of us together next to the cantaloupes? I’ll let you stand 10 feet behind me so I don’t break Greg’s rule. I’ll just explain to people as I show the picture, “Yeah, Bob Bly is a lot shorter in person.” While nodding my head reassuringly.

    On a serious note, I started my career as an illustrator. I can’t count how many people would tell me they had a great idea for a book and wanted me to illustrate it (on spec) before they pitched it to the publisher. Doesn’t work that way… for a reason.

  16. Gefälligkeiten | Werbeblogger – Weblog über Marketing, Werbung und PR » Blog Archiv » Gefälligkeiten said:

    […] Lieblingspassage aus Copywriter Robert Blys Blogpost “What I Won’t and Will Do for Free for You”: 4—I won’t have lunch or coffee with you. (Amazing how many people expect me to give up over a […]

  17. Everything changes in 2010. Except: The Link Dump said:

    […] Bob Bly makes a point by posting what he won’t and will do for free for you. It may sound tacky but I know how he feels. I was recently asked to come up with a claim […]

  18. Maricel85 said:

    You can’t give anything for free if you are professional in that particular field. However, you could actually give some free comments for example, but never ever say all your ideas.

  19. Virtual Personal Assistant said:

    Virtual Personal Assistant…

    […]What I Won’t and Will Do for Free for You – bly.com blog – bly.com direct marketing blog[…]…

  20. games of thrones season 1 said:

    i just thought that queen latifah is one of the best comedians out there, she is really funny’

  21. Lawyer Description said:

    Have you ever thought about adding a little bit more than just your articles?

    I mean, what you say is important and everything. However think about
    if you added some great photos or video clips to give your posts more, “pop”!
    Your content is excellent but with pics and videos, this
    blog could definitely be one of the best in its field.
    Superb blog!

  22. Related Webpage said:

    My spouse is thinking of declaring personal bankruptcy however I have no idea ways to begin. Wow, I think I much better employ a lawyer. It is all so frustrating. I was doing a hunt for Bankruptcy Lawyer in My City and also discovered bly.com. Thank you kindly for the info. Much appreciation. Nasca

  23. Cleveland Weadon said:

    Exactly where do you come up with this? Just saying you’re quite imaginative. You need to ask your readers for new topics.

  24. Nemec@bing.com said:

    I have recently started a web site, the information you offer on this website has helped me tremendously. Thanks for all of your time & work.

  25. other said:

    Choose some well-informed followers and get immediate feedback. You can find a variety of ways to print the feeds.

  26. natural health said:

    You could definitely see your expertise in the paintings you write. The arena hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. Always follow your heart.

  27. 157815871585157615751578 said:

    you’ve got a exceptional weblog here! want to develop invite posts on my weblog?

  28. Dr Nights Porn said:

    You’ll find various agencies which deals with evidences located at a crime scene. Police use it for investigation, prosecuting attorney presents it before court of law as properly as a forensic science technician analyzes evidences thoroughly to assist other agencies in criminal procedure. A forensic science technician conducts comprehensive chemical and physical study of evidence submitted by a law enforcement agency

  29. wellbeing said:

    I just add additional oils in my cooking, but that’s risky for me to above consume.

  30. top job search engines said:

    Outstanding post, I conceive men and women need to larn a lot from this weblog its very user friendly .

  31. Pinoy Tv Serial said:

    quite nice post, i definitely really like this internet site, maintain on it

  32. Hayden Agurs said:

    Your style is unique compared to other folks I have read stuff from. Thanks for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this site.|

  33. Sell my Tampa house by owner said:

    Appreciating the time and energy you put into your site and in depth details you present. It is brilliant to come across a weblog every when inside a even though that isn’t the same out of date rehashed info. Excellent read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  34. Hildred Dwire said:

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing this Magic Mesh Door Coverblog. I’m hoping exactly the same high-grade blog post from you in the future also. In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own screen door instant site going now. Truly blogging is spreading its wings and growing quick. Your write up is a great example.

  35. Modern Dining Room said:

    It is truly a great and helpful piece of info. I¡¦m glad that you shared this useful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  36. hud housing said:

    Hello there, just became aware of your weblog thru Google, and found that it is truly informative. I am gonna be careful for brussels. I will be grateful if you happen to continue this in future. Lots of people might be benefited out of your writing. Cheers!|

  37. internetten kazanc teknikleri said:

    My spouse and I totally adore your blog and discover nearly all of your post’s to be exactly I’m seeking for. Would you offer guest writers to write content inside your case? I wouldn’t mind publishing a post or elaborating on quite a few the subjects you write related to here. Once again, awesome weblog!

Leave a Reply