I’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?