16 September 2010

What's a paying market?

I just had to share this pet peeve of mine. If a magazine says its a paying market, then I think it should mean that its is going to pay something (of value) for your story. Period. It does not mean that the "top" story of the issue gets some amount while others get nothing. Authors are not submitting their story to a contest, they're submitting it to a magazine. I'm not even that thrilled with those markets that pay more for their "top" story than others. I think it's pretty deceptive to say, for example, we pay $200 for a story when really it is $200 for one person and $5 for everyone else.

While I'm on my rant, I'll just mention that I'm somewhat suspicious of contests that charge an entry fee. What does the entry fee pay for? Maybe it is like the ante in a game of poker. The winner gets the "prize" which consists of everyone else's entry fee--minus, of course, the cut for the House.

Am I just a little bit crazy about this stuff, or do I have a legitimate beef?


sex scenes at starbucks, said...

As for contests, which I'm not a huge fan of (I think writers' time is better spent submitting to paying markets) I think fees pay to support organizations. That's not all bad.

I've been caught up in the "top story only gets paid" gig. Don't like it either.

lesleylsmith said...

Well, I think everyone who reads the blog or the 'zine knows Editor Dave is more than a little bit crazy... :)
But, yes, you do have a legitimate beef. If a market is "paying" they should show you the money. :)
Contests are a little different. They can be helpful, even with fees, if they get your work in front of an agent or editor you're interested in. They can be helpful if a win looks good on your future queries. They sometimes are fund-faisers for writers/writing groups--and we want to support them, don't we?

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