Sometimes I foolishly check out Craigslist to see if there are any writing gigs. I know better, but I do it anyway. It’s kind of like going to Applebee’s and thinking that you’ll have a good meal. Hope is eternal and stupid.
But sometimes you find something that makes it all worth it.
This particular ad is a double whammy.
First – it’s actually called Starving Writers. I suppose that’s honesty in advertising because if you submit to it, your compensation is “published.”
I’m not sure about you, but the last time I tried to get coffee by telling a barista that their compensation is that they practiced their coffee-making skills, they didn’t give me the coffee I ordered. They were even a wee bit annoyed that I had gotten them to make the coffee and then refused to pay actual money for it.
Second – they tell you that “it doesn’t cost anything” to submit your work to them.
After I finished making a little altar to worship their absolute kindness and generosity, I tried this with a contractor. I told them that I wouldn’t charge them to give me a quote on doing work around the house, and I wouldn’t even pay them for their work once I hired them. I’m not sure what their problem was, but they refused to even come to my house! I don’t get it. Why weren’t they totally appreciative of my willingness to take their work for nothing?
I’m 100% behind writers helping writers. Getting the names of other writers out in public, championing other writers’ work, reviewing books that you enjoy. These are all ways to help out and get writers the audience they need and deserve.
As someone who ran a small press for almost 10 years, I paid my writers. I didn’t make any money. I bought a few stories each month – $25 for short stories, $10 for flash fiction.
The stories appeared online, and once a year, I created a print anthology. Each author got one, plus the option to buy more and sell them. I finally turned a profit on an anthology, “Loving the Undead. An anthology of romance…sort of.” It wasn’t a huge profit, but it encouraged me.
I kept the press going until I couldn’t pay my writers anymore. Due to some health issues, I couldn’t work as many hours and couldn’t afford it. But I didn’t ask them to work for free.
Writers need to support each other, and that means in all ways, including financially. Buy their books, buy their anthologies, subscribe to their Patreon accounts, and join in on their Kickstarters. Writers do this to earn a living. They need to pay bills, just like everyone else.
[I do want to mention that I am also completely behind the idea of anthologies and books that are published for fundraising for various purposes. I organizations who make money from charity anthologies. They often get big name authors to help champion their cause and raise awareness. That is very different.]