Monday, November 27, 2006

Dorothy P-inged 'em

I received this email from the weekend from Dorothy P., who asked me not to use her last name. Dorothy is in Canada, but the editor is in the U.S. Dorothy told me she feels that while these types of editors exist in her country, this editor was so arrogant, she feels it reflects poorly on editors here and on web zines in general:

From Dorothy P:
“I have a specialty in sports and fitness and queried an online magazine site about writing
Canadian content for them. I'm an experienced writer for this sport. The first person I made contact with was a member of a sports related writing association that I also belong to, and who forwarded my query to his managing editor who, he said, does all the hiring.
It was established that I'm a full time freelancer, have won a national writing award, been published in Readers Digest, 50Plus, and similar quality magazines, and have authored three books. The managing editor got back to me promptly and asked for a couple of clips, which I sent.”

The editor then wrote her back and told her they liked what they saw in her clips and experience. He outlined the job, which included writing 2-3 articles per week, monitoring the chat room and replying to emails from their “fans.” Oh, and there was an exclusivity contract – their writers can’t be employed by anyone else in the sports field. He ended the email by saying, “At this time, there is no payment involved, but there are some opportunities to make some cash.”

Dorothy replied:

“Thanks for getting back to me promptly. What you propose as a contribution to the online magazine has appeal for me. It would comprise pretty close to a full week's work, or so it seems. However, I'm a bit confused about your reference to compensation. You say there is no payment, but opportunities for cash. What in the world does that mean? As a professional writer I can't possibly afford to write for free. Plumbers don't work for
free when you have a leaky pipe. Neither does your mechanic. I'm at a complete loss to understand why you think, as a professional writer, that another professional writer should not be fairly compensated for their contribution to your site. Please explain further in case I completely misunderstand what you said.
Dorothy - who's interested, but puzzled.”

Nope. Dorothy didn’t misunderstand. The editor replied that he is offering writers a chance to get their work “out there.” And this is a new one –compensation is in the eye of the beholder.

So, there you have it, writers. When the taxman commeth or the phone bill, light bill or your bank, tell them compensation is in the eye of the beholder.

Thanks, Dorothy for allowing us all to be enlightened.


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