A month or more ago, I blogged about an article that nobody wanted. I'd written it after going to the grand reopening party for Attic Bookstore. To refresh your memories (or just save you the time of trying to find the old blogs), I wrote the story for a local paper, who then decided that they didn't want the story after all - the bookstore's goth theme didn't fit very well with their paper. Next I submitted it to a local magazine, even though they don't pay their writers - I just thought it would be a waste if the piece went unpublished. However, I didn't exactly feel like revamping the article for no pay, so when the magazine said it wasn't their style, I withdrew it. I then submitted it to Associated Content, an online informational database that I sometimes write for. They didn't want to pay me their usual measely payment for it, since it only covered one local business, so I had to resubmit it for publication with no pay (one time rights only, of course). It took them a while, but my piece on the grand reopening of the Attic Bookstore in Englewood was finally published. I'm glad that's over; it was such a headache for a while there.
I often feel the articles I write are like my children, so the thought of having one rejected, fated to exist only on my computer, was heartbreaking. I made the decision to publish the piece even if it meant not getting paid for it, but I was shocked by the way publishers treat writers who are literally donating their time and work. Really, if they're not going to pay us, they should at least show a little respect! I guess that's why I rarely write for free (or almost-free) - any publisher who doesn't pay their writers (or pays only a couple of bucks) most likely doesn't respect their writers.
In any case, I felt that I learned a lot from the Attic Bookstore article fiasco.
- One, it sucks when publishers tell you they're interested in a piece but then change their minds once they see it - but there's nothing you can do about it. Therefore, have backup plans - someone to send the piece to next.
- Two, unless a piece really is time-sensitive, it probably isn't worthwhile to give it away just to see it in print as soon as possible. If the piece can wait, then so should you - take your time to find someone who will at least give you something for the time and effort it took you to write the piece.
- And three, there may be articles like this one - the children that you wish you hadn't created - but there will always be plenty of good articles (and good publishers) to make up for it.
Well, there's my lessons for the day. That being said, feel free to take a look at my article!