After much deliberation and chats amongst ourselves, the team has agreed that it’s important to pay contributors for their work.
We live in an age where creativity is continually and systematically devalued. In the age of the internets (extra ‘s’ entirely mandatory, thank you very much), it’s sort of taken as a given that artists (particularly writers, but also graphic designers, animators and musicians) will provide you with content for nothing, or next to nothing. Perhaps you’ll get a contributors copy of the book/CD/DVD/whatever, if there is one (but then again, perhaps you won’t). But it’s all good, because you’re submitting to all these publications for the experience. For the exposure.
In the years since I started to consider myself a professional writer (whatever that means), I have been paid for my work maybe three times. Other members of the Quaint staff will tell you the same. And every time you get that check (or paypal, or direct deposit), in your hand/digital hand, it feels like an enormous fucking deal. Why? Because someone thought your work was good enough to actually give you some material compensation for it: something with which you can pay the bills, buy groceries, or (in my case) buy a limited edition Junko Mizuno My Little Pony. Whatever gets you off. The point is, in our society, money equals value. And there’s a small part of you that feels your work is being valued more highly if you’re getting paid for it.
There are several amazing articles out there on the internets (again, ‘s’ mandatory) that outline just how important it is that creative professionals be paid for their work. We don’t want to decry publications who are unable to pay their contributors: that’s not what this is about. We know how difficult it is to eat the costs of running a magazine (even a digital one), let alone find the money to pay contributors. We are (mostly) graduate students. Trust me: we know.
But we want to make the gesture, and we want that gesture to be an integral and important part of this magazine’s philosophy. Will we be paying you a lot? Heck no (I wish we could). Unfortunately, we can’t afford to pay you even close to industry standard, which (judging by the caliber of the submissions we’ve received so far) is absolutely what you deserve. However, we want to give you something. Something other than ‘exposure’ (because let’s face it, exposure does not keep you warm at night. Actually, depending on the kind of exposure, it’d keep you pretty fucking cold).
We’re going to be paying contributors $6 per accepted piece. That’s across the board: we’re not paying by word, because we truly believe flash fiction is as valuable as a 7000 word short-story, and that poetry is as difficult to write as a 5000 word creative non-fiction essay. $6. It’s not a lot. Maybe it even seems like a cruel joke (I hope not). But what it’s supposed to represent is our acknowledgment that creative professionals should be recognized monetarily for their contributions. Think of it as us buying you a shot at the bar for being such a kickass writer and for making us feel something when we read your work.
And hell, if you’re ever in New Orleans, look us up and we’ll buy you a shot for real.
We leave you with this excellent video of Harlan Ellison getting justifiable angry about being asked to work for free.
(Oh, and the stock image was taken from the delightful 2bgr8stock on DeviantArt, whose work is available for free/for exposure, but whose paypal address I am trying to track down).
Kia & the Quaint team