Being paid with Exposure…

There’s a skirmish raging in the publishing industry at the moment… no, I’m not talking about two of the Big Six going head to head over something, or Traditional Publishing attacking Self Publishing.

I’m talking about writers waking up to a strange concept.

Payment.

When I started writing in the hope of making it a career, I was naive and hopeful. I’d followed an article I read in a Writing Magazine and started out by trying my luck with the Short Story market.

With every acceptance for an anthology I gained, my ego was given a boost. I was going to make it and in just a few months, I’d have accumulated a writer’s CV with enough stories published to wow an agent when I sent out my first book manuscript…

… or at least that is what I thought.

I was careful. After a few submissions paid for in “exposure”,  I went for anthologies and magazines that paid a minimal amount rather than the “for the love of it” publications. My plan was to get a few of those under my belt and then try for the markets that paid multiple pennies per word.
That went awry when I opened my own webzine and realised that unless I paid for writers, I wouldn’t get more than my friends submitting… and I had a sneaking suspicion that my friends were submitting to either shut me up or to make me feel better as my webzine tanked on the views.
*sighs*

I came out of that period a lot wiser. I learned that being a webzine owner / editor wasn’t as easy as it looked and that the stress of getting an issue out each month wasn’t worth the small moment of pride I got each month.
It also taught me that unless I wanted to starve my family, I was going to have to work harder at bringing money in.

(Yes, I know. I live in the UK – our benefits system is supposed to mean no one starves… *snorts*…)

Anyway. That was where I started my inroad into novel publishing.
I’d sent out a large number of novel queries at the same time as the short story foray. It hadn’t gone well.
Exposure wasn’t worth the paper it wasn’t written on after all, I had discovered. Agents weren’t interested in my publishing credits with magazines, even ones that were popular in the genre crowd. They wanted something that they knew would sell to a big publisher, so that they could collect their 15% commission on a large sum.

So now I’m here.

Self publishing is almost as bad as working for “exposure” but at least I get to set the prices when I publish a book. And at least I do get paid… sometimes it might be pennies per book, but at least all those pennies are mine and mine alone.

Chuck Wendig writes a superb blog. He has an entertaining writing style that brings people to his yard for more than just refreshment…  He’s one of my Writing Heroes because he seems to find time to write Books as well as blog pieces. He’s a genius in the art of grabbing his audience by the throat and getting his point across in a few, well chosen words.

He’s also a tad sweary… which I appreciate because I can’t do it properly. There’s an art to swearing that I have never mastered. But I digress.

I’d seen the blog that Wil Wheaton had posted on the subject of Huffington Post’s refusal to pay for his work back in October.  And at the time, I agreed with it wholeheartedly. I’d chuckled and agreed with The Oatmeal’s take on Exposure Payment and then in the rush of creativity for NaNoWriMo, I forgot about it again. Until this…

SCREAM IT UNTIL THEIR EARS BLEED: PAY THE FUCKING WRITERS

Chuck’s post on the 18th whacked me full force in the face with a wet Kipper and forced me to pay attention to something that I thought wasn’t happening any more.

I don’t know why I thought it wasn’t happening anymore. I haven’t been in that world very much, having been spending more time trying to work on my own novels, worrying about my partner’s back and my children’s  schooling.

But now I realise that the “exposure” payment never actually went away… and that I will never again write anything for just exposure. I will expect some kind of payment – whether that is in kind (so a guest blog post on another blog will always mention my own work somehow; aka free advertising)  or an actual monetary payment.

The only place that you will find my words for free is here – on my own blog. And even here, should you wish to support my writing career, you can. I have several e-books available for purchase on amazon and other places; just type “Kira Morgana” or “A. E. Churchyard” into your favourite e-book site’s search facility.

Just buy yourself something to read and thereby keep my cats in Kittynibbles and my kids in socks… it’s as simple as that.

PS: The only work that will ever be entirely for free will be either my Fanfiction (I don’t believe in profiting from someone else’s work and if the copyright holder objects to it, I’ll remove them from my site) or the stories that get published through Cake & Quill – Charity Anthologies are worth the work for an entirely different reason.

The sexual threats against Emma Watson are an attack on every woman – Vox

The sexual threats against Emma Watson are an attack on every woman – Vox.

I, personally, will not stand for this. I want the world my girls grow up in to not only be safe for them, but safe for my son as well.

My partner and I are bringing him up to be as aware of himself and his effect on people around him as possible and we don’t need the pervasive misogynistic atmosphere that this planet currently has to be confusing him.

We are all Human;
no matter what our gender assignment is;
no matter what our sexual preference is;
no matter what our romantic preferences are;
no matter what our race is;
no matter what our Religion is;
no matter what our Personal Beliefs are.

It is time we recognised that FACT and act as a species to change the world we live in. We are good at changing what stands in our way, it’s what has made us the most successful predator on the planet, so let’s use that ability on our OWN CULTURE and change it for the better.

Is Technology the Enemy of the Writer?

This morning, after dropping PT at primary school and seeing NOS off to his first day of high school, I found myself with one of those rare things…

Peace.

TOH is in college, doing his arty thing and with both kids at school I don’t have to worry about anything until I go down to pick up PT at 2.30.

I came in, turned the PC on, started my favourite inspiring playlist going and looked at my to do list:

  1. Choose or Die Chapter 4.
  2.  Finish The Second Door.
  3.  Design an IIAAC logo.
  4.  Change my book tweets and spend some time interacting with people.
  5. Check Email / Facebook.
  6. Research for New Arkingham Book.

Now, #1 is the most important – it has a deadline of Sunday and it’s already Thursday… but my treacherous subconscious sent me straight to #5 and before I knew it, I was on Facebook, scrolling through the Newsfeed and commenting on Cat Pictures!

Then I came across a post from another Writer, someone who I feel is very much a role model for me. M.M. Bennetts is a Historical Fiction Author, who loves horses and has a particularly intelligent sense of humour.

The latest thing she’d posted was a link to an article in the Telegraph Online.

I am a sucker for interesting sounding news stories. It’s the reason that I enjoy watching “The Wright Stuff” with TOH when he is home, and why I often find myself reading Huffpost or the BBC website.

This article however struck me as particularly apt for my particular brand of To-Do List:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/9522845/Shutting-out-a-world-of-digital-distraction.html

This was the question that hit me smack in the face:

“As we immerse ourselves in the internet more and more, how we balance its distractions with its benefits will become increasingly important. So just how widespread is the use of tools such as Freedom and SelfControl among novelists trying to carve out the space in which to think and write, and what does it say about our ability to concentrate in the digital age?”

– Carl Wilkinson, WWW.Telegraph.co.uk

I agree with Ned Beauman, in that the Internet is an incredibly useful tool, for researching, for publishing and for connecting with other writers. Writing can be an incredibly lonely profession and the social network sites provide us with ways of connecting with our readers and each other.

However.

The Internet is also a majorly addictive thing…

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9511611/Addicted-to-the-internet-It-could-be-all-in-your-genes.html

I am addicted to the Internet – when I can’t get on, I get withdrawal symptoms and although my writing productivity goes up, my mood drops and I start eating a lot of stuff which is bad for me… I also neglect my family,unless I’m forced away from the PC and the house is an utter tip, something which I am trying to deal with.

I know my family has problems with addiction; my dad is unable to give up smoking and my mum almost became an alchoholic and has a *smoking* issue.

So I have to control how much distraction I have when I want to write. I write best when there is no one around and I can minimise the distraction. If I am working on something (like today) I’ll have music on, and I’ll only check in on facebook occasionally. If I have other distractions like the kids around, then I am on facebook a lot… which isn’t good for my family or my writing.

I know I have to get a handle on this. If I don’t then I will never reach my dream of being a “proper” author (i.e: that I can support my family from my writing) and being able to write full time without worrying about the finances.

To do that, I have to be as prolific as possible.

I’ve made a good start; two children’s books in Print, a Story Collection and a story series in E-book. However, that isn’t enough. I have so many books lying unread in my hard drive, the characters crying because they’re not being read by people other than me. True, I need to edit a few of them and there are more unfinished projects than finished ones… it’s sad really.

And this is where the Internet gets in the way. Unless I am using it in a specific way (writing blog posts, researching or publishing a book), having Facebook up is a constant drain on my time. For example, it was 10 am when I read that article… now it’s nearly 11 am and even though I’ve written this post, I know from past experience that I’ll end up wasting more time on Facebook after I’ve posted it!

Time to stop procrastinating, ban the internet between 10 am and 2pm and get on with my career!