No Pay, No Play

freeI’ve been thinking about this for a long time, and I think I’m ready to say it. I am tired of writing for no money. Somewhere along the line, not paying writers for their work has become commonplace in the literary world. I, for one, am tired of not getting paid. It’s the same mentality that allows companies to abuse poor college interns for no pay, for the prestige of putting the experience in their resume.

But an internship lasts a few months maybe? Our writing careers will hopefully last a little longer. But I put it to you like this: We will only succeed when our value is recognized.

At its core, my argument isn’t about money. Your labor is the only thing you truly own. Don’t give it away. Starting May 15th, for one year I will be sending out my work for publication, but only to publications who pay cash money. Then I’m going to see how successful I was, and write a follow-up to this essay. And no, contributor copies are not good enough. I understand that no one has any money (except the Random Houses of the world), but isn’t it about time you asked yourself… Why?

By joshmedsker

Josh Medsker is a writer living in northern New Jersey. His writing has appeared in many magazines and websites. For a full listing of Mr. Medsker's publications, please visit

2 replies on “No Pay, No Play”

I’ve thought often about starting my own lit journal. I won’t do it until it can be super posh and the funds just aren’t there for that now, so it might be a minute. It’s like a….five year-ish plan. But I think that’s the crux: a lot of fresh new MFA’s are starting lit journals they can barely afford to start, so payment of authors just seems out of the question when you’re scaping the jar just to put a thing out there. That said, I agree with you. It would be great if MFA’s could think about their enterprises a little more like MBA’s! I’m trying to…for my future thing, if it ever becomes a thing.

Hey Laura! I don’t know why but I just saw this! Seven months later? Thanks for the comment! –Medsker

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