Friday, October 5, 2007

An empty magazine is Not Good.

We've all seen it: the hero sneaks around the corner, searching the darkened warehouse for the bad guy. The bad guy pops out from behind a shelf teetering with old dusty things and fires off a couple of rounds. Our hero brings his Glock 9mm up and Click! out of bullets!

OH NO! His magazine is empty!

Okay, so in my goofy metaphorical way, I'm saying that magazines without content are pretty useless.

When you write an article for a magazine, whether it's for a little money or a lot, you are providing a needed service. Heather pointed this out in a recent discussion on The Writing Mother group.

A new-ish but talented freelancer asked us if we thought she was being unreasonable in her dealings with an editor. (You can read about her Editor Troubles on her blog.)When the writer refused to hand over all rights to an article she wrote for NO PAYMENT, the editor was (allegedly) upset.

Right now, weather-worn freelancers are smacking their foreheads saying, "Not THIS again!" But it bears repeating at least one more time because there's a new freelancer born every 3 and a half minutes. (I made that up.)

Good editors are happy to get good content. Broke editors will often work with content to make it good. They need content, because a magazine without bullets is Not Good, as I already demonstrated above so breathtakingly if-I-may-say-so.

Bad editors will try to make you feel guilty if you don't bend to their every wish.

I'm not saying don't sell all rights. I'm not saying you have to get paid billions. I'm not saying every editor out there will do this to you. None of that.

Simply that it's your article. You choose.

I love writing for local magazines. I reserve the right to write an article for twenty bucks if I choose. So please don't misunderstand. But I can also refuse to write for twenty bucks.

You as a writer are providing a service and a product for your customers. Editors have every right to reject a piece if they don't feel like it meets their needs. They also can require all rights. YOU can choose not to sell them. YOU can choose not to sell them for what the editor is offering.

Good editors already know this. They are fair, often friendly, and very much aware that this is a business transaction. Good writers should be the same way. Let the rest of them conduct their business in a flurry of personal attacks, emails zinging back and forth through the ether or in the shadow of a darkened warehouse. If you happen to trip over one of them, just straighten yourself out, dust off the detritus, and go back to the brightly lit sphere of professionals. They aren't worth your time. They know where the light is, they can come to it when they want to, and you won't save them by trying to convince them to.

If you are a good editor, you have my respect and appreciation (and my submission - could you get back to me on that sometime this week? :) ) If you are a good writer, go to the light. And on your way out, if you don't mind, hand the hero some bullets.


Carolyn Erickson said...


The editor apologized to the writer, very humbly conceding that a little more professionalism on her part was called for.

This is great. The editor should expect to see increased sucess for her magazine. Really and truly. This is one of those what goes around comes around things.

Score one for the light side. Nothin' but net.

Hurray Sirena!

Sirena said...

Thanks Carolyn,

I hope that the editor also sees increased success.

I have closed off on my blog about it, thankfully on a positive note.

Thanks for writing about it.

Oh, are you absolutely sure that I'm from the light side. I've always like Darth Vader. LOL.


Carolyn Erickson said...

LOL, Sirena! That's up to you, I guess. I'm of the mind that good always triumphs over evil in the end, so I like to get on the winner's side! :D

OTOH, do like making that Darth Vadar breathing noise [koh-chee, koh-chee]. DD thinks it's funny too.

:) Carolyn

Sirena said...

It's really fun. I will also say, "[koh-chee, koh-chee]. DS...I am your mother! [koh-chee, koh-chee]"

I always get the same reply, "You're so weird."

Ahh...the power to embarrass even a 6 year old is strong in this one. LOL

No, I'm not totally dark side. I love Han so I side with the light side every time. And of course they have Chewy...oh...oh and R2.


Carolyn Erickson said...