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  1. theincrediblemrc
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    theincrediblemrc New Member

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    Sites and publications that don't pay

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by theincrediblemrc, May 19, 2010.

    I recently visited a site that didn't pay a cent for fiction, but had many condescending words for writers who had apparently bothered the editor with questions. I find this amazing, that someone has the nerve to ask for free fiction and still feels it is ok to bark at writers who are, essentially, being taken advantage of.

    Isn't it about time writers got together on this issue? We're working when we're writing, why aren't more editors recognizing this and offering ANY kind of payment? The old line, "Well, you get exposure," doesn't mean anything to a writer who has been published already. Aren't we doing these publications, whether print or online, a favor, by gracing their pages with our hard work?

    I am ready to form a united front of writers in protest of this heinous development in the literary world.
     
  2. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Some markets (particularly online ones, I've found) don't pay for content. It might seem condescending, but it does give a new writer a way in, where it is very difficult to get published in pro and semi-pro markets. You also have to take into account that some of these non-paying markets are young, and might not have the audience to be able to afford to pay writers yet.

    That said, there's no excuse for an editor being rude. It doesn't take much to just be polite, and I personally tend to avoid submitting to editors with whom I've had a bad experience (other offences which will really put me off include only responding if a submission is accepted, which is just disrespectful to the writer in that respect).

    I think the solution is, that if you don't like or agree with the way that a market does business, vote with your feet (or with your manuscript, in this case...) and simply avoid it. If enough people do the same, then they'll get the message.
     
  3. Humour Whiffet
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    Humour Whiffet Banned

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    Banzai has hit the nail on the head. Many can’t afford to pay.

    Here’s a simple test: next time you’re at a party, ask what people thought of the latest episode of Glee. Gauge their reaction. Make a mental note. Then compare it to their reaction when you ask what they thought of the latest edition of The Paris Review.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The paying markets demand more quality from the writer. The writer chooses who to offer a manuscript to.

    If you don't wish non-paying sites to exploit you, and that is how you see it, then don't submit to them. Aim higher.

    It's that simple.
     
  5. Humour Whiffet
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    Humour Whiffet Banned

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    Quality does not necessarily mean more money though--certainly not when it comes to short literary fiction. For example, The Notre Dame Review pays around $5-$25 per piece…

    If anything, you can make more by lowering your standards and writing genre fiction...

    I think it was Nietzsche who said something along the lines of “Books for the little people always smell bad.” Smell bad and make money. (Just make sure the stinky stuff is well written.)
     
  6. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Why exactly is genre fiction of a lower standard?
     
  7. Humour Whiffet
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    Humour Whiffet Banned

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    It's aimed (broadly) at the little people (Joe Public, the ordinary men, the herd, the hoi polloi). I’m exaggerating slightly.
     
  8. theincrediblemrc
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    theincrediblemrc New Member

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    Genre fiction

    There's nothing wrong with genre fiction. A lot of it is crap, some of it isn't. A lot of so-called literary fiction is crap (see: Finnegan's Wake).
     
  9. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    [​IMG]
     
  10. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Agreed, though intensely disagree with Humour Whiffet's statement. This needs to stay on topic though.
     
  11. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I would advise people to aim for the best/most prestigious magazine they feel like submitting to. Start from the top and work your way down. Never sell yourself short.
     
  12. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    I can see Humour and Benzai through the windows of that train :D Happy landing!!

    On the track now:

    Protest against non-paying sites is not going to work because there will always be willing writers (usually new) who will submit their work to those sites.

    In defence of the editors, they have to deal with lots of crap on a daily basis.... you know, writings which don't deserve one second of their time. But, I agree, that doesn't mean they have to be impolite.
     
  13. FrankB
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    FrankB Member

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    I have somewhat mixed feelings about this advice, although I've seen it often over the years. I believe only a tiny minority of neophyte writers have the chops to step right into the big leagues without a stint in the minors. And most who choose this route quickly find that out. Many become discouraged enough to quit writing altogether.

    By all means target paying markets but it's simply easier to crack smaller ones, especially local or regional periodicals. (Generally speaking, I think writing for e-publications is a waste of time. Too few pay anything at all.)

    I got my first bylines in local newspapers. Many writers do. Chances are, would-be writers walk past potential paying markets every day, in the form of grocery store give-aways and those kiosks in malls with free magazines devoted to seniors, or teens or stay-at-home Moms.

    Most of those periodicals will pay (modestly) for material and tend to be more newbie-friendly than regional, national or even collegiate mags.

    Once you've added a few paying clips to your portfolio, you'll be more apt to wedge your toe into higher-paying, more prestigious markets. Editors simply pay more attention to queries when the cover letter indicates the sender is previously-published (and paid).

    It's simply easier to build a career from the ground up than from the penthouse down. ;)
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I recently submitted a group of related Haiku to a non-paying site. It was accepted, and included in a Haiku anthology.

    I knew it was non-paying when I submitted. They were soliciting Haiku, and I had an idea for a Haiku cycle that I wanted to develop. So I went ahead with it. My choice, and no regrets.

    I wouldn't pay to get my Haiku published. Nor did I feel I needed to be paid for them, in this instance. I also post stories ere, knowing full well that kills any real chance of getting them published in a paying market. Again, my choice. But I have other writing projects I won't let go of quite as easily - or cheaply.

    So I see no point whatsoever in railing against non-paying publishers. They fill a niche, because they meet a need.
     
  15. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    The article I sent in to an online magazine was accepted, and they were non-paying. However, the editor was fantastic, appreciative, and very welcoming. The site gets alot of views and I know alot of people enjoyed my article. Also, alot of my blog views came from the link on my article.

    The point is to get my name out there. It was never for money. When I graduate and hunt for paid journalist jobs/freelance writing, then I will use my non-paid appearances and my blog to sell my writing abilities. :)
     
  16. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    Right. On topic, etc.

    Writers are providing a service, in this case entertainment or education. I hardly see it as a "heinous development in the literary world" for freely accessible websites to request fiction (an entertainment service) in exchange for publication (an explosure service, a feedback service and a not-my-job-to-fix-broken-website service). For new writers and hobby writers just getting the feel of their craft, the services may very well balance -- or even come out ahead for the writer.

    If websites were stealing someone else's work and not paying for the privelige, that's one thing. Stating up front that they are not currently a paying market is entirely legitimate, however. And as others have said, if you frown upon a site asking for free fiction, don't send your work there! Let other writers, who may regard it as a treat, do so instead. Neither you nor they will have lost thereby.

    As to the particular site which was condescending ... meh. It happens. Some editors and site managers are rude. Some writers are thin-skinned. And sometimes these combine in unfortunate ways, which is why I have read submissions pages listing "THINGS WE DO NOT WANT TO SEE" and "STORIES WE GET TOO OFTEN," frequently featuring things like 1: We are a science fiction publisher. Please do not send us your stories about a serial killer, or 2: We are a children's publisher. Please do not send us racy scenes, foul language, or overly violent pieces.

    In some cases, the editors can sound quite snarky -- and while rudeness is not to be encouraged without cause, I can't really blame them for feeling frustrated. When you have posted clear submissions guidelines and then gotten chewed out by a comprehension-impaired writer when you bump his story for being out too short, written single-spaced in 11 point "artistically calligraphed" font in blue ink on lavender paper, and it's the wrong genre, all I can do is offer my sympathy and maybe a Guinness, if I know them personally.

    (I am slightly exaggerating. However, remember that Harvard has gotten actual college submissions essays which were handwritten in an outgoing clockwise spiral from the center of the page. And I have read an account by a Canadian anthology editor who expressed disappointment that professional writers had submitted short stories with incorrect manuscript format, including stories that had misprinted - apparently the writer in question could not even be bothered to glance at the printout to make sure the printer had finished inking the story.)

    As for writers getting together on this issue ... why, precisely? There are already Agents and Publishers Warning / Watchdog lists, to protect writers from scams. We don't want to come down hard on non-paying markets, because some writers want to use them for exposure. And while authors like to be valued, we shouldn't insist that we be paid more than our writing is worth -- or paid more than the guy running a website from his home office can afford.
     
  17. izanobu
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    izanobu Senior Member

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    Starting from the top and working down is a great way to find out if you "have the chops". After all, if you only submit to 4theluv markets, you'll never know when you've hit the level of the pro paying ones.

    Editors, unless you are really rude to them or threaten them or something, generally don't remember the stories or authors they reject. If you send them something they don't like, they'll just slap a rejection on it. That's it. That's the worst that can happen. Occasionally if you catch an editor on a really bad day they might add a nasty comment, but that's pretty unprofessional of them and doesn't often happen. It definitely doesn't happen often enough to even bother worrying about it. There's literally nothing to lose by sending to the top paying markets first, and a lot to potentially gain :)

    Of course, as always, it entirely depends on what your goals are. If you just want to see your name in print, 4theluv is probably a quicker route. Or self-publishing (ie sticking your story up on the web yourself or a route like that). If the goal is to be a professional, then be one. Pros get paid for their work and submit to markets accordingly :)

    (Nothing against 4theluv and token markets, btw. But in the fiction world, editors who see credits in a cover letter from zines they've never heard of probably won't care a whit. So don't submit to token/non-paying markets thinking you'll build up a nice cover letter to break into the pro magazines with. And of course, this doesn't apply entirely to literary fiction. Lots of fairly prestigious magazines in the lit fic world that pay beans, but then again, there are a bunch of the truly top lit mags that pay pro rates too, so why not start there if that is the genre you are writing?)
     
  18. theincrediblemrc
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    theincrediblemrc New Member

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    Good advice, FrankB.
     

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