Writers, speak up!…

April 9, 2011 § 12 Comments

The Missouri Writers Guild is hosting its annual conference right here in my own backyard (figuratively) and the biggest “cool” about it all is hanging out with all kinds of writers.  We had three “panels” yesterday, some of them enlightening (the agent panel) but overall, not one person (on magazine & ezine panel) addressed the $$$ issue. We were regaled with queries, what editors expected (blah blah blah) and how they refused to work with those who couldn’t measure up, but not once did a magazine or e-zine editor or publisher mention what they were willing to pay for articles, and various pieces. It’s as though the prize is having one of them say “yes” but indeed, the writing is the prize, one that deserves worthy pay. Don’t settle for what they would pay an intern if you’re not one. Don’t do it for free or “on spec.”  Writers, speak up!  (I will, today….)



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§ 12 Responses to Writers, speak up!…

  • Jade says:

    Thanks for this advice!

  • jeanie says:

    Sounds as though you must be in your element! Rick often get on me about this point — not so much with writing, but with my creative muse. Hear the message enough, it’s there for a reason!

  • anno says:

    Amen! And I note: rumor has it that Google is revamping its search algorithms to eliminate obvious content mills. Maybe the day of $5/300-word articles has passed?

  • oh says:

    Hi, Jade, I should go into a bit more detail. When starting out, there may be advantages to a writing a piece on spec OR for free…but it shouldn’t be a habit, especially if/when you’re an established writer. A fine writer deserves fair pay!

    Jeanie – Ah, it’s difficult to speak up for our crafts – whether writing or art – but on a professional level, it deserves a pro’s pay. And your work is BEAUTIFUL!
    Ok, must go review my notes. One more day at the conference and it is absolutely awesome – more later!

    Dear A – How did you hear the bit of news? Wow. You are current!!!! That would be awesome, right, if Google achieves search revamp to eliminate the dreaded content mills? We had a good discussion on those at the conference and C. Hope Clark was very enlightening about them, warning all.
    Great conference so far! more later!

  • qugrainne says:

    Isn’t it wonderful – being surrounded by WRITERS?! Love it.
    As for pay….. it seems awfully difficult to break into the big paying scene. So what do you consider worthy pay? Pay by the word? I see a lot of $25 per article ezines.

    • oh says:

      Q, if you’re writing for money, then doing a lot of these $25 e-zine articles isn’t bad. Especially if they are spin-offs of one article you’ve written, that is, maybe a different lead, but essentially the same piece, so you’re really getting your buck for the bang you wrote. But if you’re writing one article, start to finish, brand new, for each one, then measure how long it’s taking you – one hour? two hours? and look at your hrly pay rate. ARe you willing to be paid $25 an hour? not awful. But if that article is taking you upwards of two hrs or more, hmmm…better peddle it elsewhere for bigger bucks.

      E-zines generally pay less overall and also, because their need is constant, their copy having a fairly short life! So, they need, need, need. Maybe, you can do several e-zine articles a day – $100 a day isn’t bad! It’s a tough place to make a name for yourself, but yes, you can still develop a relationship with the editor and then move yourself ahead…
      And you need to be sure (somehow) that it’s a reliable zine to which you’re applying. What’s their pay policy?

      So, there are several things to consider: your time, the worth of the e-zine, the re-spin of whatever you hand in so the same piece can make you money in several different zines and also, consider the time that the $25 article takes away from something else or even bigger that you might be doing.

  • litlove says:

    Bravo! Writing is becoming increasingly devalued – it’s so necessary that those who do it professionally stand up for a decent rate of payment. Hope you’ll say more about the conference in due course!

    • oh says:

      LL – It’s crazy, right, the way writing is devalued. I’ve been guilty myself of writing some things for pittance, thinking that I’d better say “yes” or someone else will get the assignment. But that’s ridiculous. Having been at it awhile, writing “cred” counts for something. Viewing ourselves as professionals is so so important.
      Funny how a conference can wake up a person about something that is so obvious!
      I have a few calls to make tomorrow (monday!)

      And I have met at this conference many many writers who are thinking the same things. Perhaps a little writing revolution is afoot! As small example, let’s not forget the writers strike a few years ago that left all the celebrities at the Academy Awards gape-mouthed with little more than “hello” and “the winner is…” to say!

  • shoreacres says:

    Want to know John Scalzi’s take on all this? When I first started my blog, I found this posting on his blog, Whatever and it’s been in my files ever since. I read it about every six months. OK, maybe once a year. It’s becoming more relevant to me and maybe you’ll find it of interest.

    I mean, it’s John Scalzi, who isn’t exactly chopped liver in the writing OR business smarts department!

    Unasked-for Advice to Writers About Money

    • oh says:

      Yup, #9 (place value on your work) and #10 (writing is a business -act like it) though not new, are exactly what I’m talking about.

  • Vicki Rocho says:

    Just swung by to say hello and how nice it was to meet you at the conference this weekend. Can’t wait for next year!

    • oh says:

      Hi, Vicki! Thanks for stopping by! there is SO much to write about here following the Conference which deserves TOP kudos – it was so well run, tons of interesting writers, fine speakers and Tricia Saunders and the Guild members ran it seamlessly! . And yes, looking forward to next year!

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