Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Good

I spend a lot of time dissing scammers and debunking ads that want us to give our talents away, so when I saw this ad, which came to me via a subscription service, it sounded almost too good to be true.
After investigating various writer forums and organizations for warnings, it looks as if it is the real thing. A conversation yesterday with Catherine Rourke, the editor of body & brain Magazine, convinced me I should highlight it as the first in my three part series of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly:

"National quarterly holistic health/yoga journal based in Sedona, Ariz., seeks professional freelance writers to craft lively, upbeat and informative magazine-style feature articles about nutrition, health, yoga, brain research, spiritual wisdom and other inspirational topics for our savvy, sophisticated and enlightened readers. body & brain's editorial staff consists of former freelancers who have established writer-friendly policies, such as North American rights, respectable pay rates and other terms in accordance with the National Writers Union. We believe that freelance contributors deserve respect, dignity, timely pay and the rights to their intellectual property."

My jaw dropped and my eyes widened. What? Someone who is placing an ad for writers who actually believes that we writers deserve respect, dignity, timely pay and the rights to our intellectual property?
"Every word the public sees from articles to ads had to be created by a wordsmith," Rourke told me on the phone. "And the perception of writers remains abyssmal. As a writer, I've had to chase down editors who take your intellectual property and toss us crumbs."
Seems a year ago, when Rourke took this job, the magazine, which formerly concentrated on yoga, took all rights and paid writers .20 a word.
She convinced the publishers to change the rights contract to First North American Serial Rights and upped the pay.
Rourke admits she would still like to see higher pay (it ranges from .40--.50 cents a word), but says the magazine is small, with about 100,000 circulation, but is growing. And as it does, she will continue to fight to bring up the pay rates.
Sure beats business models who want us to work for free until they show a profit.
Kudos to Rourke and body & brain for recognizing the craftspeople who will be responsible for your growth.
And if you're interested in writing for body & brain, go to for writer's guidelines, which are being updated to reflect the new look of the magazine.


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