Letters To The Editor For March 14th

Add a “Publish-By-Or-Pay” Clause to Your “Pays On Publication” Contracts

Interesting piece about publishers holding work for years before publishing and paying.

Eight or ten months ago, I worked a one-day acting gig. It’s been over 20 years since I last acted and my first time before a camera. Naturally, idiot that I am at 57 years old, I’m the only person in the world who read the release before I signed it. And I crossed out one word.

From the wording of the release, it occurred to me that they could not only use the day’s tape for the project being shot that day, but for any project any time in the future, from now until the end of the world. The word I crossed out would (in my idiot opinion) limit them to use of what was shot today to the project being worked on that day.

Sure enough, two months later I had to call them to shake lose my $50 for the day’s shoot. Retribution, I thought, for my temerity. But even more sure enough, when I played the DVD that just came out this month, the scenes they shot that day were absolutely nowhere to be found. Were they filming their next project on this project’s money or did I and 10 other actors wind up on the cutting room floor? Who knows? But I’m sure they never throw away a second’s worth of taping.

Artists of all venue and media need to ask a price worthy of their artistry. Remember, if you can’t sell it, sit on it. We don’t give nothing away for nothing!

Seamus O’Brug

THANK YOU, Angela, for the article on promoting your own web site. It
is TREMENDOUSLY helpful! I thought I knew all the advantages of
marketing on my own web site… but little did I dream JUST HOW
valuable!!!! I didn’t know nothin’!

Mary Ann

Giving Writers Leverage

Hey Angela…

It’s GroovyDave from the WritersWeekly forum. You are doing a great thing for us on your site. You are probably the only person who has ever given actual writers actual leverage. That blows my mind. For years, especially when I started freelancing, writers had zero leverage; publishers had us by the proverbial balls (should you pardon the crudity)–and they went to almost every length to prove it. And if we didn’t like it, there was a middle aged housewife in Iowa who was willing to give it a shot.

I have known midwestern housewives who knocked down five hundred a month writing for the confession mags, and others in Utah who worked in uranium mines. I’m not against midwestern housewives. I’m against dilettantes who cheapen the profession of writing. Not everybody can write. When I started freelancing, the idea of ‘not everybody can write’ was the great unspeakable.

Not that I have anything against middle aged houswives from Iowa. But I have something against non-professionalism, especially in writing. I read some of your complaints on the Whispers and Warnings forum and some of them blow me away. I mean just blow me away.

Being a deadbeat is sort of like being in credit card debt. It’s a pretty simple formula. Stop spending money you don’t have. That’s thing number one. Then, gradually pay back what you owe. If an editor owed me money and he was in financial trouble and he said, look, I’ll cut you a check and overnight it or priority mail it and, instead of giving you $500, I’ll give you $300, you’ll have it tomorrow and we’ll call it even…you know, I could cut the guy a break. Maybe I’m a pushover, but I’d cut the guy a break. Because at least he’s trying to work something out, you know? See, if he’s willing to pay his debts then that means there must be some modicum of responsibility and some desire to settle things, just because it’s morally right.

I think most people are willing to cut other people a break like that…I think most people would. I know a lot of the folks on your forum would. Or if some editor agreed to make a series of payments and the first two or three checks were small but they cleared the bank…I’d kind of figure the editor was alright after that…

And then I read the responses from the deadbeats on your forum and they blow my mind. I have never seen people dodge the hell out of a question like some of these folks. Jesus, send the writer ten bucks and tell him more is on the way…

So anyways, thanks again.