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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

What's With The Rage?

People have been in ranty moods lately. I had a post ready to go on the vanity/self publishing controversy, and although it isn't ranty, I thought I'd save it for a day when readers were less touchy. But rage seems to follow the masses and John Scalzi hit some tender nerves.

Every once in a while Scalzi says something I agree with. He hit the parrot on the head with his recent posts on low paying markets. It started with his post called Aspiring Writer Stockholm Syndrome followed by a later post called Final Notes...

What amused me was the apparent outrage from writers who thought Scalzi was being harsh.

Point #1: Many of the attacks I read appear to be from writers who were pubbed by these low-paying and no-paying markets--or want to be pubbed by them. They're responding defensively, assuming (in error) that it's a personal attack on their decision making.

Uh--no. It's simply an issue that should be addressed.

Do you care if a stranger gives away his property? No, of course not. But if you knew he wanted to make some money on it, wouldn't you advise him to look for a better deal rather than settling for the first person who was willing to take it?

Point #2: Almost all of them seem to ignore the fact that Scalzi was giving his opinion on his blog. It's not written in blood, guys. If you don't like it, move on.

One of the reasons I stopped posting markets on Market Mondays is because I got tired of seeing so many low or no-paying sites. If you're good enough to be published. You're good enough to be paid a decent rate.

There are, of course exceptions to every rule.

Some markets like Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet is known for showcasing the best writers. They don't pay much, but they make up for it with their outstanding reputation within the SFF community.

Other markets, small and relatively obscure are good for work you KNOW is not fit for traditional zines. It's quirky writing for quirky venues. I have a few friends who write bizarre little stories that don't fit anywhere else. I still wish they got paid more, and I'm sure they do too.

Few people, if any can make a livelihood from short stories. Even pro rates are paltry. If you want to make money writing short copy, get into article writing.

And if you're doing this for clips, would it kill ya to get paid for it?

Finally, to the 'artistes' who think payment is overrated... When you're alone at your keyboard, go ahead and call it art. But the moment that sub is ready for sunlight, and you want an editor to love your 'baby', it becomes a business transaction--whether you like it or not. The publication doesn't want 'your baby' because they think it's cute, they want it because they think it will sell zines. Don't romanticize it into something sublime.


Heather B. Moore said...

Thanks for sharing these links. I went to the aspiring writer Stockholm Syndrome post and read more about it--I think he has very valid points.

Marianne Arkins said...

I absolutely agree.