East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Rules are made to be broken


I’ve just broken one of my most strict rules: I’ve sent a story to a magazine that will not pay me for my work.
I just gave away a story for free.
This is something that should not be done – the writer must be paid, this is my firm conviction, the rule that has allowed me to keep afloat these last three years. It has not made me many friends, but it has paid my bills.
I am usually very bad with writers that give away their work for free.

So why did I do it?
Because it’s a project by a band of art students, that are trying to get their new magazine off the ground, and back when I was a student I did contribute to a number of fanzine and other fly-by-night projects, and I feel a great affection for anyone trying, in this place and in this moment, to launch something to promote culture, and reading, and the arts.

So there, I broke my rule.
Once a year it can be done.
And they might as well reject it, after all.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

7 thoughts on “Rules are made to be broken

  1. I don’t have a problem with my work being published in non-paying venues, provided that all they ask for is first publication rights. I see it as a way of getting free line editing for when I republish the story in an anthology of my own.


    • Good point.
      Managing the rights is a very important skill.
      I usually keep an eye on first rights and translation rights, because I often publish in two languages.


      • I have started what I call “writing for reprints”. That is, I see my eventual collection as the primary market for my stories, and the first publication just a proximate step to that goal. Thus when I write a story I am thinking first of how it will fit into the collections I am putting together, and secondly of a potential magazine/anthology market.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. You know what they say about rules being made to be broken and all that. Broke my own today – no writing. Didn’t even turn on my writing computer. Instead, I spent six hours gaming. Lovely.


  3. It’s okay give away free samples sometimes. 🙂

    But you’re right, the default should be pay for work.

    Liked by 1 person

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