Monday, June 06, 2005

BLANK Magazine & the Death By a Thousand Cuts

The fiction market is such that nowadays simply receiving an acceptance with the promise of a single contributors' copy as payment is enough to satisfy most modern, working writers.

However, the honor system seems to possess so little honor these days: after waiting more than six months past the original publication date, Blank magazine sent the following message to its contributors to Issue Two:

Vol. 1 No. 2!

It's!—well, it's almost out; it went to print today.

If you look into printing at all you will find there is no cheap way to print a publication in color. This is our problem. Copies will cost about twenty-five dollars—undoubtedly steep, especially for a magazine still in its infancy. We simply do not have enough subscribers to justify a lower printing cost at this time. This, coupled with the necessity of copies for distribution and exposure—without which no magazine can survive—has left us with insufficient funds with which to purchase contributor copies. We just do not have the money, and as much as we realize this a travesty—practically criminal—there is nothing we can do. And we apologize; we hope you undestand. If it's any consolation, we believe we have produced an independent publication of greater quality than most—design and content being equally important—aimed at representing your work to the best of our ability.

Thank You,
The Editors
Blank Magazine

This is a classic "bait and switch" -- lure writers in by accepting their work, then slap a $25 charge on the journal in which their work is to appear.

Well, this writer isn't biting. My reply to Blank magazine was as follows:

Given this information, I respectfully withdraw my work from Blank magazine. Had I known I would have to pay $25 (U.S. funds; this works out to be $31 in Canadian funds, plus shipping) for an issue to see my work in print, I would not have consented to being a part of this.

The situation as described in your e-mail makes me feel like my work has been highjacked and is now being ransomed back to me. I have published in many magazines, and never run into a situation remotely like this.

As of the sending of this e-mail, I will consider my stories "Der Komplex" and "Coup on Liberty Crescent" to be unencumbered, and will begin submitting them elsewhere for publication.

This is a show-stopping detail. Sorry Blank, but get your shit together.

It's difficult enough getting along as an artist, finding those few avenues where your work is accepted and appreciated, and it's absolutely unconscionable to think that there are people "out there" will to take advantage.

As Sweetback says in Sweet Sweetback's Badass Song: "They bled my pappa, they bled my momma... but they won't bleed me!"

1 comment:

Jas... said...

I am a writer also and I find it nearly impossible to maneuver in this world of publishing. Either that or my work sucks.
[Jas shrugs]

Maybe I will go to work at McDonalds and live off my free meal a day!

Great post, though. Give 'em hell!