An interesting topic came up on my MFA’s Facebook page, about whether or not a person should offer unpaid work in his/her quest to be a published writer. There were some fors, saying the experience and the addition to your CV can be good, and some againsts, saying that writers devalue themselves and their work when they agree to unpaid gigs/publications and that being a part of that process hurts everyone.
I debate this idea a lot. I have one thing I do that I don’t get “paid” for (though I will count free books and things as a token payment at least) and that I also get some enjoyment out of doing. There are also a couple of online publications that I’d love to get published in that don’t offer payment, like the Young Adult Review Network, which I think would look nice on my cover letters as I try to get a children’s book published.
But I also want money. I want to find a place that will pay me for what I do, so I can concentrate on this more and more. I know I should write for the love of it, and I do, or I would have stopped a very long time ago. But love doesn’t buy groceries, pay student loans, or shore up money for a house down payment. And it’s also good to know that people value the work I do in a monetary way.
The problem with that is, I have a hard time finding ways to get paying work, or paid publications. I look up magazines, and freelance writing job sites, but there’s a lot of drek to go through. And with getting short stories/essays published, it can also take a while to find places accepting submissions. (Then there are the evil, evil ones who won’t take simultaneous submissions.) I take the time to write, and to edit, then I take the time to find places to submit to…only to be rejected, or only find publications that will not pay even if they want it.
So, yes, I want to get published, so that I can have more things to put on my cover letter when I send out other work. But I’d also like to get paid, so I can conceivably continue this work. I just…need to find someone to pay me.
EDIT: Just realized this may have something to do with those Fraud Police Bill Lychak was trying to tell us about…