Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Getting Paid

In keeping with the Tuesday theme . . .

Not much to report. Weird Tales finally caught up with me. Got my rejection last evening. It was a form rejection, yet they invited me to keep them in mind for future submissions. They must be gluttons for punishment.

In one of those "Eureka" moments, a recent incident in my town inspired me to begin something new yesterday. I think it's a clever idea that hasn't yet been done. We'll see if I can pull it off.

I did complete and submit a non-fiction anecdotal piece for an upcoming anthology from a fairly well-known small press. There are some cautions on various writers' sites to be wary about this company's contract, and I will take those cautions seriously. But they are offering fifty bucks for the story.

Perhaps, like Kramer on Seinfeld, who sold his life story to J. Peterman and could no longer tell those stories as his, I'll no longer be able to share this true anecdote as my own. But fifty bucks is fifty bucks.

Which leads me to this:

I have a confession to make.

I want to be paid for my writing.

Why do I bring this up? Well . . . since you asked.

While perusing Duotrope this past weekend, I noticed details for an upcoming anthology which I believe a chapter from one of my unpublished novels would be perfect. Though I can't really be objective, I'm pretty sure that the chapter itself works as a standalone.

Of course it crossed my mind that complications might arise should the chapter be published as a short and I later try to publish the novel . . . but I figured what the hell. The novel itself is just gathering dust. Not to mention it is the sequel to yet another unpublished novel. And you know what they say about a bird in the hand, right?

So I spent a few hours pulling out the chapter, cleaning it up a bit and formatting it for submission. When that was done, I finally went to the publisher's website and saw that they were paying . . . $12.00 for original stories. Twelve bucks. And a contributor's copy.

On that same page they mention they are seeking cover art for the anthology and are paying . . . $25.00. And a contributor's copy.

They are paying more to the artist for the cover art than they are paying writers for their submissions.

I decided to pass.

I'm not sure what my point is. I guess the bottom line is that I don't write enough to essentially give my stories away, and I don't believe that getting "exposure" is gonna help me one way or the other. It's all a crapshoot.

But when I do write, when I get what I think is a good enough idea to finally put pen to paper, I can tell you this: I pour my heart and soul into it, and leave a little piece of myself behind with every finished piece. And little bits of me are worth a hell of a lot more than $12.00.

Forgive the rant. I suppose I ought to be grateful, in this day and age, when reading is fast becoming a lost art, that there are any markets to submit work to at all. But I'm not one of those (usually new) writers who believe "Writers just have to write! We are driven to do so! It is like breathing to us!" Not me.

For me, writing is hard work. Not writhing on the floor, Thomas Harris hard work. But hard work just the same.

I'm not arrogant enough to believe anything -- just anything! -- I have to say is worth someone else spending time reading it. But I do think I get the occasional good idea, and even less occasionally do something clever with it in words. Those are the stories I submit.

But I ain't selling a piece of my soul for twelve bucks. I'd sooner give it to MicroHorror for free. Least I know they're good people.

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