East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Curses and spells

According to my friend Flavio, writers should learn to place curses on their books, to hit people that would not pay the writer, or copy and distribute illegally their work. Some dark, ancient ritual to summon the Copyright Demon, if you will.

Just like me, Flavio makes his living by writing, and not being paid is a major professional risk for writers, especially hereabouts, especially in these strange times of the COVID.

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Non-paying markets are not markets

I’ve just submitted two stories to the same magazine – they accept multiple submissions, they pay ten cents a word, and they have only one slot open, so it’s really a long shot. Very hard market, lot of competiton from people that’s way better than me. Why not double the chances?

In fact I had mailed just one story, two days ago, but then I got caught in a discussion about paying and non-paying markets and…
Ah, I’m a bad person!

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A new magazine, and a dead end

They tell me I am weird.
A new magazine is being launched in my country.
They seek stories (no genre specified, but that’s all right), up to 15.000 characters – which is more or less 3000 words.
And I am always looking for new markets, so… why not?
They are willing to read our stories, they say, but they don’t mention any payment. So I ask what rate they are paying.
The answer arrives pretty fast…

We do not have funds to pay for the stories.

But they will sell the magazine. Continue reading


In the land of the up-and-coming

Ok, short (?) post stimulated by this post by the always stimulating Seth Godin.
And yes, it does have to do with writing.

Now, I like Seth Godin’s piece a lot, I love his suggestions, the post in question gave me a lot of ideas, but it all collides in a rather unpleasant way with my experience.
I tell myself it’s because I’m in Italy, and he’s in the great big world out there, and yet, it is not a completely satisfactory explanation.

The idea is…

If you’re an up-and-coming band building an audience, then yes, free, free, free. It’s always worth it for you to gig, because you get at least as much out of the gig as the organizer and the audience do. But when you’ve upped and come, then no, it’s not clear you ought to bring your light and your soul and your reputation along just because some promoter asked you to.

I love that.
But, what if up-and-comingdom is the default setting of your environment? Continue reading