Thursday, July 16, 2015

You're a Writer, Not a Funder, Goddammit!

Okay, rant time. (Oh c'mon, don't groan like that.)

I saw a post that read:

Hey, short story fans. (snip) has announced that they have until Wednesday to raise the funds needed to keep publishing for another year. As folks who write and submit short stories, we all have a vested interest in helping keep good markets who pay writers fair prices (12.5c per word) afloat. If you've ever thought of submitting to them or enjoyed any of the stories they post for free online, now's a good time to show your support and subscribe to the next issue or donate via the link above. [/soapbox]

There's a lot wrong here. First off, it is not--I repeat NOT--the job of writers to help keep these online zines afloat. The job of the writer is to, well, write.

Secondly, if a magazine isn't making the moolah to keep the lights on, that means one thing and one thing only: no one is reading them.

And if no one is reading them, why would you, the writer, want to fund them so that they can continue to not be read?

This is all so backassward. Did you know there was a time when magazines paid writers, and not the other way around? It's true!

I think we just need to face the music and admit that the short story market is degrading at a rapid rate, because again, no one is reading these magazines--and yes, there are more than a few who have repeatedly asked for funds, not to mention all the anthologies with Kickstarters. If people were reading these magazines, the magazines wouldn't be asking for money. And don't say it's because the magazine offers their stuff for free, and readers today are cheap bastards. People pay for what they like, that's what makes things like Patreon feasible. Frex, that's what makes businesses blossom or fall: if people like your product, they'll pay for it, even if it's outrageously overpriced, like Starbucks' coffee.

Now that's not to say writers can't fund if they really enjoy the magazine. But don't do it if you just want another magazine to submit to. I still think the whole thing is off, much like paying magazines for personal critiques of your story, or paying to get atop of the submission pile. Better to let the magazine die, as it's nature's way of saying that what they publish isn't worth reading in the first place.

1 comment:

  1. Agreed. Survival of the fittest. If a venue closes, another will take its place. Money should always flow to the writers.