Monday, September 28, 2009

Writing in Hard Times

Last week, I sent a submission to a Senior newspaper published in the Johnson County area of Kansas City. The essay would be appropriate to run in the November issue as it deals with Veterans Day. This morning I had a message from the editor saying she would like to use it but was uncertain at this point that she can accept it. The November issue, she wrote, will be a small one due to low advertising revenue. She'd use my submission if at all possible, however.

So, that leaves me, the writer, hanging. I've not been published in this particular newspaper before and would like to get my foot in the door. But I'd also like to have this essay published so maybe I should send it somewhere else that might be more of a sure thing. Or it might not. I think I'm going to hold on at this first place and hope they sell a few more ads and will be able to include my work.

This little episode appears to be a sign of the times. Low advertising revenue for many publications has caused them to reduce the size of the issues, and for some, it means they must cease publishing completely.
There have been others that have discontinued their printed publication and moved onto an online version.

The poor economy our country is experiencing hits more than the big auto companies, the giants on Wall St. and huge manufacturing companies. Like a row of dominos, when one goes down, a whole lot of others go with it. Publishers and editors are suffering from budget cuts and low advertising revenue, which means writers are knocked down, too.

So, what does it mean for today's writers? It means you work harder to market what you've written. You send to more editors than in the past. You search for lesser-known publications and perhaps are willing to accept less pay. Maybe even no-pay publications for right now. If nothing else, they keep your name floating in the publishing world and add to your clips file. And when the economy looks better, some of those places will start paying again. And guess what? You've got a foot in the door already.

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