Australian Specfic Small Press
Aus Women Writers 2014
Reviews Index 2012-2014
Dec 11, 2012
We’ll pay you in exposure
View the story "We'll pay you in exposure" on Storify
We'll pay you in exposure
Just when should a writer expect to be paid?
Storified by SeandBlogonaut · Mon, Dec 10 2012 20:23:40
A little skirmish on twitter got me thinking.
@MiaFreedman @clementine_ford Ok! Did you want to discuss on Twitter why you don’t pay your writers, or would you prefer to do it via email?Marieke Hardy
@mariekehardy We're proud that we give people the chance to be read by 1.2m women when they might not have otherwise been published.Mia Freedman
Not paying people for working is wrong @MiaFreedman. Particularly women.Catherine Deveny
@CatherineDeveny @MiaFreedman It depends on whether they can afford to pay. If they can, they should. I write for free if they can't.Cheryl Critchley
When should writers, and that's all writers (non-fiction and fiction) have an expectation of getting paid? Does exposure translate into paying work or into people buying your fiction?
Now Mamamia is a company (Mia's husband is CEO), looks to be pursuing profit ala Advertising and as you can see above claims to have a readership of 1.2 million women (how they come to this figure and determine gender of readers I don't know). How much money is made from websites can vary wildly though.
That being said, back when I was pretending to be serious about blogging, Darren Rowse of Problogger fame made a 6 figure living out off his website which at the time had around 40,000 Subscribers. So I am guessing that Mamamia is making a living at least.
The revelation that contributors aren't paid smarts a bit when a casual search of their archive will result in a number of stories regarding pay for women. Funnily enough the one below is from a "complainant" above
We pay our cleaners more than our childcare educators MamamiaBy CATHERINE DEVENY Are you okay with the fact that we pay our cleaners more than our childcare educators? I'm not. And I haven't been fo...
Your daughter will earn $1 million less than your son.by GED KEARNEY When anyone asked my daughters what they wanted to be when they grew up I would always tell them to answer by saying 'to b...
Now in journalism as opposed to say fiction writing there may once have been an argument for exposure translating to a job. So you didn't mind slaving your guts out for some exposure, while an employer tested the waters. But with the cut backs(of which Mia as originally a victim) and outsourcing of sub-editing I am finding this scenario less likely.
I have also heard of national newspapers using the exposure argument for fiction writers as well, not neophyte writers mind you, but seasoned writers with award winning publication histories.
Contrast the above with an area I am familiar with, that of Speculative fiction short story market. Sure there are a lot of magazines that will publish you for exposure, but most of these are free to the viewing public. The top of the market who would love to achieve subscriber levels of Darren Rowse mentioned above, let alone 1.2 million, still manage to pay their writers about 8 cents per word.
Very few of the producers/editors of these magazines would be paid a living wage or perhaps even a minimal wage. The distribution of money here, however, seems far more even, neither writers nor editors will be raking it in but at least everyone gets a piece of the pie.
Now I do work for free, I write the occasional guest post, provide content for an award nominated podcast and have recently pitched in to help with the behind-the-scenes of a major book community website. The difference with all of these projects is that the recipients of my labour make no money either.
And this seems to be my line in the sand. If someone makes money off my work then I should expect a cut of that.
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We’ll pay you in exposure
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