You write and you edit, write some more and revise. The hours of work are countless, if you’re truly perfecting your craft. Generally if a story is easy to write, it reads like shit. But the rough stuff often has merit.
Once you get through beating yourself senseless and you finally build up enough courage to submit to a publication, you have to find the proper fit, read all the criteria and set everything up to proper formatting. Everyone wants to just write and reach the reader right away, but publishing exists to make sure that the content of your story is something entertaining and/or meaningful enough that a reader will give a damn.
It’s hard to keep people’s attention. More so than ever. We all have something to say and we’re all dealing with shit in our lives. That whole “write for yourself” ideal is a great fairy tale, but if you’re writing for yourself, go get a journal. haha
Sure, write from yourself and partially for yourself, but if you desire to captivate audiences, you have to be courteous enough to write well enough that they won’t feel cheated out of time and money when they give up precious moments to delve into the product of your soul.
It’s a great feeling when someone compliments your work. But what about getting compensated for it?
If you’re writing to get rich quick, you may want to choose another profession. the market’s flooded and everyone is drowning in bullshit stories. Publications have to sift through waves of unpolished material to find the gems.
When it comes to finding a home for your short stories, you’ll find that a lot of publications offer no pay. Some print ones don’t even offer a complimentary copy. If you’re just starting out and getting sick of rejections, these are okay to play with here and there. They are great to start building a name.
From the business standpoint short stories can pull in some revenue, but keeping readers and subscribers isn’t always easy. Pro rate pay is ideal, but not always optimal. I have written for free many a time, and I’ve also received pro pay. What I find very comfortable is the compromise of token payments. I’m an indie writer at heart. I love extending my stories to lesser known publications and promoting the hell out of them. But that means taking a pay cut.
Some would say that writers should be happy to receive any pay, this is the stance of ignorant fools who know nothing of the amount of hard work it takes to produce a truly great story. Yes, there are times to accept a writing credit as your only payment, but it’s not something that anyone should be expected to do on a regular basis.
Those publications that offer a token payment seem to “get it”.
They want to pay us what we’re worth. They do what they can to offer some kind of rate in order to show us that although they may not be able to pay writers full rates, they can offer something to show their appreciation for our dedication. This speaks worlds to me.
Anyone who makes money off of playing with the written word is exceptionally fortunate. And those that encourage us and make it possible are to be thanked and remembered.
Go out and sub to the big ones first. Try and get as much as you’re worth. But if your story just doesn’t fit exactly what the higher paying magazines are looking for, don’t be above a token payment. The smaller writing credits are some of the ones that I’m most proud of, and they may grow to be bigger in the future.
People pay attention if you keep knocking.
So get to it.