If I write for you, will you respect me in the morning?
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If you’re an author with Dorchester/Leisure, it’ll forget your name, give the breakfast you made to the dog, give you some excuse why they haven’t called, and expect that you make breakfast for all of its buddies.
You want cab fare? And your name again, one more time …
Mary Sangiovanni writes about Dorchester (her former publisher before it stopped making payments) and settling for pennies next to nothing for your work:
Too often, writers’ need to connect with readers — that need to be read, which is nearly as strong as that need to write — clouds judgment. It makes writers settle for pay that is unfairly, often insultingly, low. It makes writers willing to submit to and to publish with markets that conduct poor or unprofessional business practices. It makes writers compromise and make excuses for publishers, or look the other way, or stay quiet, because it’s easier than rocking the boat, than scratching off one more market in an already strangling genre. It makes writers foster and support markets which are not really markets at all sometimes, but little more than vanity outlets for those who want the adoration of the genre they love at worst, or earnest but uneducated attempts at supporting and integrating themselves into the genre they love at best. These writers worry about losing the respect of the publishing world in general. They worry about appearing difficult to work with. They worry that doors will close in their faces.
This will not happen. For Godsakes, publishing is so much bigger than the little ghettos and small ponds that so many writers are content to confine themselves to. And if anything, what ripples outward to the buying public and the gods and giants of publishing will be one simple message: Writers write — we have a voice, and with constantly emerging technology, we have platforms for that voice to be heard. We write, and by virtue of that gift and that ability, we can effect change. We can make sure scams and con artists and shady, unprofessional businesses are called out and brought to light. We deserve better, and dammit, we’re going to have it.
Spans the spectrum of a lot of writing, both commercial and fiction. My desire to be read and connect with potential readers will never border on needy (God willing). I’m willing to work with a right publisher who respects me as an author, not as slave labor.
I believe my mother calls it “self-respect”.