Q. I like your writing, and I run a magazine/website or am publishing an anthology. May I publish something by you? A. Maybe. What are your rates? Q. We can’t pay. Will you let us publish something for free? A. No. Well, if you’re a friend of mine, or a charitable organization whose work I’ve expressed support for, maybe. Otherwise, no. Q. Why not? A. For the same reason restaurants don’t let you eat for free, and stores don’t let you take items off the shelves and walk out without paying. For the same reason that plumbers, electricians and roofers don’t work for free. And you don’t expect them to — but you expect writers to. If you can afford to pay the electric bill, you can afford to pay the writers you publish. Or you can’t afford to publish. Or at least you can’t afford to publish anyone who isn’t a sucker. Q. But what about the exposure we can give you by publishing you? A. Your publication isn’t doing well enough to be able to pay writers, and yet you think you have enough of a readership that it would be worth my while to give you my work for free in order to reach those readers… Delusions of grandeur, much? Or maybe you’re like Huffington Post, which is valued at more than 50 million dollars and is still too greedy to pay writers, in which case I think the writers who publish with you are scabs. Find me outside on the picket line. Q. Will you speak at our event? We can’t afford to pay you a fee, or pay for your travel/accommodation costs. A. If you’re a bookseller, and the event is about selling my books, then maybe. If you’re in Glasgow, and I can sell my books at your event, probably. Otherwise, see above. Q. Will you read my manuscript and tell me what you think of it, and maybe recommend it to a publisher? I can’t pay you for your time and effort. A. See above.
LESS FREQUENTLY ASKED AND LESS UNFORTUNATE QUESTIONS
Q. Our book club is reading one of your books. Will you visit us? A. If you’re in Glasgow, I’ll be glad to, at no charge. If you’re elsewhere, I’ll be glad to talk to your group by phone or video, also at no charge. Thanks for reading and discussing my book. Q. We’re a Buddhist sangha and would like you to come and give a Dharma talk. Will you? A. If you’re in Glasgow, I’ll do it, for whatever dana your members toss in the box. If you’re elsewhere, I can do it by phone or video on the same terms, or, if you really want me there in person, I’ll visit if you pay my travel and accommodation costs, and whatever dana your sangha members give.