Saturday, June 20, 2009

Wanting New York Times writing for Podunkville Gazette fees

I've been running into small publishers lately who want wonderful, imaginative, creative and witty writing, and that isn't like anything already on the Web. That's fine. But these publishers also want to pay piddly amounts for this amazing writing.

It's a bit frustrating.

For instance, I just signed up for a new blog. This week, I turned in my first posts. The publisher wrote back to tell me that my posts were a bit too negative. He mentioned that people are already depressed by the economy, and that they didn't need new blog posts to remind them of this fact.

Fine. That's a valid point. But then the publisher directed me to the blog run by Penelope Trunk. This, the publisher told me, is an example of a good blogger who has something original to say with every posting.

Again, the editor was right. Trunk's blog is a must-read. It's fascinating and funny and incisive.

But this guy isn't paying enough to get Penelope Trunk. He's paying enough to get a blog post that I can squeeze out in 15 minutes or less. That may sound harsh, but it's a reality. I can't spend too long on a post that doesn't bring in enough money.

This publisher brought up the low pay rates by explaining that he hoped that the bloggers on his career site weren't writing just for the money, but for the joy and satisfaction of blogging.

Well, nuts to that. I do write for the money. I support my family this way, often by forcing out stories on topics that are so dull I want to scratch my eyes out. But it's a living.

It wouldn't be a living, though, if I spent all day working on a blog post that paid peanuts. Shame on me for accepting this low-paying position in the first place.


  1. Just an FYI...I am a regular reader of Penelope Trunk's blog, and she once commented that it takes her something like 8 hours to put together a blog post. Also, all of her posts are professionally edited. She has also received payments of something like $4000 to $5000 per month for dropping certain companies names into her it is not suprising that she is willing to put 8 hours into a single post.

  2. That's always how it is for artists... you should be doing it for the love of the work (BARF!). I can't believe that guy had the balls to give you that kind of BS reasoning. I would politely ask him if he can pay bills with love.

    That level of ignorance just kills me.

  3. Thanks, everyone, for your comments. Yes, I long ago learned that I can't love any writing if I don't get paid for it. Kinda' sad, actually. But I do see signs that things are turning around, slowly but surely, for some of my print-magazine clients. We'll see.