Thursday, September 3, 2009

Pay or No-Pay?

An ongoing argument amongst writers is whether work should be submitted to websites or magazines that do not pay for work they publish. As in all arguments, there are valid points to be made on both sides.

Some who are willing to write for no-pay venues say they do so to help out new or small-budget publications. Others do it because they've had no luck with paying places and find it a little easier to have work accepted. They may be new writers and are out to be published and add clips to their file. It puts their name out where others will see it. And even some very successful professional writers agree to have their work published for no-pay, often as a favor to a friend or to help a fledgling publication.

On the con side you find writers who think it's either criminal or stupid to give away the words that cost them time, effort, and a required skill. If we hire a contractor to build a deck, we wouldn't think of asking him to do it for no-pay. Even if we promise to tell all our friends about his abilities. Writing is hard work, and most writers are in the game to make money. Yes, they love what they do or they wouldn't be trying to make money this way. It's hard work and they feel they deserve to be compensated.

Then you have writers who are sympathetic to both sides. I guess that's where I fit. When I first began writing, I did have a lot of my stories and essays published at no-pay websites, and believe me, I was thrilled to have been accepted. These sites don't take all submissions. They are definitely selective. But I credit them for helping me get started, for giving me a long list of published material that I could add to my submission letters to paying editors. It's the old "getting experience" before you get the good jobs thing. So, I see nothing weong with 'giving' your work away.

On the other hand, I know that writing is a job that requires many tools and a bit of blood, sweat and tears at times, so I also feel writers deserve to be paid. And I must admit, that nearly all of my submissions now are to paying publications.

To me, this is something each writer decides. I only ask that they respect the choice of other writers. The argument has never been concluded, and I doubt it ever will.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Nancy,

    I am pretty well on the side of writers who want and feel they deserve to be paid. Of course, I do the blog for free, but that's more like a fun, personal journal for me. If a writer wants to give away her/his writing, that's their choice. To each his own.

    I hope you're having a great Thursday!