Alexandra Lange | Essays

“We Can’t Really Pay”

I have spent about the last two months complaining about this, on the phone, to my friends, at length, people who have done nothing to deserve it, who deserve better. I am also motivated herein by your new, MSM, astonishing inability to pay. Because all of you print people who scorned bloggers but have moved into blogging and helm publications that “blog”, Earth to you: You don’t pay. And you’re not ashamed! You say it aloud like it’s fine when you call — “We’d love you to do this. Unfortunately, we can’t really pay.”

Officially I am taking stand that this is RIDICULOUS. I will keep writing for many of you if you still want me to after I publish this long, mean thing because I like you, and I love and appreciate your edits, and many of you have audiences I wouldn’t otherwise reach and I like to dip my toe into the editorial projects you’re pursuing over there, and I think, as both a spiritual, practical, and intellectual task, writers should take on venues and formats with which they are unfamiliar. But just FYI, publications, owned by corporations, branded, bonded, on the NASDAQ, HQ’d, HR’d, Incorporated, who pay nothing: YOU ARE FUCKING RIDICULOUS.

Lizzie Skurnick is blogging again at Old Hag. Her description of the joy, followed by the the monetary let-down, of being noticed really hit home. I’ve accepted about 10 assignments since I took on Nicolai Ouroussoff, but only two paid me in the four figures. I keep trying to work up the courage to post how little I’ve made this year, as a form of protest, but I think it might just look pitiful. (Though if others would join me?) I need to stop agreeing to work for free. I need to stop agreeing to work for less than $1 per word. I need to make this my new morning mantra.

Posted in: Business, Theory + Criticism

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