Paying submission fees Part Two

hh 147 I miss the dogs already

Paying submission fees Part Two
I’m on a plane on my way to New York. And I keep thinking about this whole idea of writers not wanting to have to buy magazines and pay submission fees as I prepare to run around NY running readings and dropping galleys.
Let me say that you should never be paying an agent or an editor. You should not be paying a publisher to publish your work. That should be obvious.
On the other hand, I am pretty impressed with writers who do the following to support their indie or university press:
1. Buy copies of their own books at their author discount to sell at private events.
2. Throw a publication party and sell a lot of books so the book launches well.
3. Invest in their own book by putting their time, energy and money into promoting it.
I also believe that if you want independent non profit literary publishing to thrive into the next decades and you can contribute to it, you should. Generosity is a fine quality in a human being, and a little too rare in poets. Too much scrambling to get ahead.
Okay, let me hang back here for a minute and work on another perspective.
1. We live in a culture where we actually do need to make money, most of us anyway.
2. That’s why I think it’s good for writers to have a job.
3. The job pays your bills.
4. That frees the writer to actually write whatever you want to. You don’t have to think to yourself, let me see, what kind of writing would pay the bills?
5. If you do want to think about what writing would pay the bills, let me give you some hints: Romance novels, detective books, Tom Clancy/James Patterson type novels, YA especially with wizards, travel writing, CNF is far more likely to get you some kind of check than short fiction, or poetry? Don’t make me laugh.
6. Let’s take the possibility that writers do deserve to be paid for their writing. I like that idea. As a writer, it really appeals to me. My question is this. Where is that money going to come from?
7. Poetry and literary fiction are not valued enough in our culture; they are not a worthwhile commodity, so there isn’t any money in this field.
8. If you want there to be money in the field of poetry and literature, do what Ruth lily did and donate some to the field. Change your world.
9. You are asking for money from a world where with the exception of the Poetry Foundation, there really isn’t money. In the world of commercial publishing there is money, but in the rest of the publishing world, we’re not swimming in green.
10. As a writer, you want validation. The reason people cling on to the idea of money as validation is that money is what defines success in our culture, so they feel if they could just get paid for their work then they are validated. I get that. My suggestion is to find other ways to get that validation. Get published, win a prize, do readings where people clap a lot. Throw a poetry party where everyone reads a favorite poem and one of their own. And everyone claps. Clapping is a good thing. It reminds you that you’re not the only one in the room. That’s what we want to know. That we’re not the only one in the room. You’re not alone sweetheart. I’m leaning toward you now. This is me, blowing you a kiss.

Published in: on September 13, 2013 at 10:05 am  Leave a Comment  

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