It may be a huge reversal in writer philosophy but I have dropped my refusal to pay for writing support services, having joined Literistic ($8 a month) and Duotrope ($5 a month). Under Literistic’s advice (given in its free, and excellent, Submitting 101 course) I also decided that it’s okay to pay to submit to contests.
Why did I change my mind about paying for writing services? The argument made by Eliza Robertson (Twitter: @ElizaRoberts0n) in Submitting 101 was overwhelming: the potential return on paying for submissions was much more than the cost. The reason for not paying to enter contests at this point, I began to see, was pride, the money being hardly significant.
For me, this is because years ago I went to teaching school for the purpose of making money. Using this strategy, I reasoned, I would never surrender creative control on topic or design of my writing work in order to get money from editors. I had been working in magazine journalism and had seen more and more crossover of “the wall” which is supposed to exist in magazine publishing between the advertising department and editorial. I felt my artistic integrity was being compromised; the ‘giving the people what they want’ was taking over, and it was not the readers but the advertisers who were the people some editors cared about.
That being the case, paying to get information or even paying to enter contests is a small concession. I rate my time’s value by the rate I’m paid hourly as a teacher, and if I measure it that way, there’s no question that both Duotrope and Literistic’s charges are worth the time I save.
I stop short of saying “this is my hobby, and it’s not an expensive one when you think about it” (having sold my horse after five years last spring, I know what it is to have an expensive hobby. ) This is placing a premium on making art. It’s more like what I told my younger brother last week, when he asked if he should take time to do art:
“Always take time to do art whenever possible,” I said. And I mean it, not just for him, but for every person who feels so inclined.
And spending a few bucks so you have more time to do art, and less time researching publications, is totally worth it.
On to the Submissions Challenge Number 3: Since during the first challenge, I submitted seven times, and in the second, 16 times, for the third I will try for twenty submissions.
A report is due back from me no later than October 22 … we’ll see how this goes.