The Cost of a Writing Life

| October 31, 2013 | 2 Comments

When I first began my review site, Digital-Storytime.com, I had in mind a life of writing that involved a lot of freedom of expression and time … I might not make much from my brief evaluations of book apps, but I would have complete control over every aspect of my expression. Having control over your working environment is a big factor for many people in the overall satisfaction they find from being creative. For writers, this is often essential, allowing us to find and champion our unique voice based on a passion we cannot articulate in any other way.

Having the ability to self-publish, via this blog, has given me both a platform and a way to solidify my ‘voice’. During my recent trip to speak at a Writer’s Day for SCBWI this was especially clear to me, as I saw a sea of talented storytellers, mostly women, engage in dialogue about the profession and the ways to get discovered. What I find challenging, however, is the disconnect between writing and ‘compensation’ in our current cultural set-up.

Not only has the relationship between content creator and content promoter been skewed in the past, but the current situation is even more precarious, involving content publishers who think it is acceptable to offer as little as $0.02 per word for polished writing. These are the rates writers pay for good editing (imho), not for a publisher to take full rights to our thoughts and profit from them in an unending chain of legal ownership to our ideas.

So, my challenge to traditional publishers is this … if you are offering little or no rights to the content a blogger is providing, do not expect them to sign off without some type of REAL exposure offered. In many cases, the platform of our blogs alone is much more exposure than you can offer with your small presses. Do not underestimate our reach – it will be the death of you. Mark my words.

Further Reading: Slaves of the Internet, Unite!

Category: All About Apps, iPads in Education, Libraries and the Digital Shift

About the Author ()

Carisa Kluver is the the editor of Digital-Storytime.com, an iPad children's book review site. She has a BA in Anthropology from UC Berkeley and an MSW from the University of Washington. Before starting this project, she was a school counselor, health educator and researcher in child & maternal health.

Comments (2)

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  1. Eloquent as always Carisa. I would also recommend as further reading this piece from Andrew Sullivan’s blog: http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2013/10/31/writing-for-freedom/ which includes a great rant from Harlan Ellison, a bit of pushback from an economist and Sullivan’s thoughts on what he’s trying to do with subscriptions on his site.

    • Great article – thanks for sharing Deanne! I’m curious about the long-term sustainability of subscription models but I’m all for writer’s getting paid. I find that some of my paid writing is less satisfying that way, however, since the readership of an article is smaller and it’s difficult to promote behind a paywall. But the alternative for me is to only write what I want to write … or to not write at all some of the time, in favor of other activities.

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