ban·dit: a robber, especially a member of a gang or marauding band. an outlaw or highwayman. (dictionary.com)
It’s bad enough when publications don’t pay writers. But, when the publication is named BANDIT FICTION, it adds even more irony to the thorny issue of writers working for free. Unlike actual bandits, who take things from others by threat of force, Bandit Fiction doesn’t have to threaten writers to get its hands on their writing. No, writers willingly submit to them knowing full well via their writer’s guidelines that, if their work is accepted, they’ll get no money. And the justification that Bandit Fiction uses for not paying writers is the most bizarre of reasoning I’ve come across in my 17-plus years of freelancing:
Do You Pay For The Work You Publish?
After conducting thorough research and gaining feedback from those who submit to us, we have decided not to pay for the works we publish. Instead, any money we have (which does not go towards paying immediate running costs) is invested in growing our audience and offering the best services we can.
“Thorough research?” “Feedback from those who submit to us?” What kind of writers would not want to be paid for their work? Is there somehow a parallel universe of writers who think they should just give their work away for free, and another universe of writers who think it’s essential to get paid for their work? About the only words I write for free are for some of my social media group interests, which I share with others with common interests. But, when it comes to things like travel articles, fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, etc., which I submit to publications as unpublished, I do demand remuneration for it. I do not write for “free exposure.”
Since I’ve been a freelance writer for the last 17 years, I’ve come across many publications that do not pay writers. The biggest reason I’ve seen is that the editors claim they don’t have the money to give to writers for their work, while also claiming that they don’t make any money after paying all the expenses for creating and running a publication. They believe that we writers should be thankful for being published by them, given that we will get “free exposure” for our work even though our bills might go unpaid, or we might have to skip a meal or two.
The first two writing publications I came across as a fledgling freelancer in 2004 were WritersWeekly and Funds for Writers, both champion publications for seeing that writers get paid for their work. And, from the beginning of my quest to see paychecks for my writing, the founder/editor of WritersWeekly, Angela Hoy, preached on how important it was for publications to pay writers for their work because, of course, writers need to buy groceries, and pay the rent and utility bills like all other professionals who get paid for their work. She’s also often said that, if a publication can’t afford to pay writers, why is it even in business?
Like I said, Bandit Fiction, despite its name, is NOT forcibly stealing the work from its contributing writers. Those particular writers are actually “bandit-ing” themselves out of a paycheck for their works rather than just submitting to paying publications. The bottomless pit of non-paying publications means lost money for aspiring writers.
To be able to say you’ve been paid for your writing makes you more than a rank amateur…something no “bandit” can take away!
- What?! New Authors Are Being Solicited by “Free” Publishers? How to Avoid This Common Scam…
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- SHAME!! Dog Ear Publishing Accused of Not Paying Royalties and Not Responding to Authors….but IS STILL BILLING THEIR AUTHORS’ ANNUAL FEES?!
- 10 Ways to Respond to Non-Paying Pubs’ Excuses By Angela Hoy
- Writer Does the Right Thing; Stops Work on Unpaid Project
Roy A. Barnes is a past contributor to Writers Weekly and lives in southeastern Wyoming. His works have been featured at Chicken Soup for the Soul, Funds for Writers, The Writer, Breath & Shadow, and Travel thru History, and more.
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