27 July 2008

No Money, No Problems

"I keep hoping the corporations will wake up and realize that publishing is not, in fact, a normal business with a nice healthy relationship to capitalism. Elements of publishing are, or can be forced to be, successfully capitalistic: the textbook industry is all too clear a proof of that. How-to books and the like have some market predictability. But inevitably some of what publishers publish is, or is partly, literature-art.

And the relationship of art to capitalism is, to put it mildly, vexed. It has not been a happy marriage. Amused contempt is about the pleasantest emotion either partner feels for the other. Their definitions of what profiteth a man are too different."
-Staying Awake: Notes on the alleged decline of reading-

"Finally, there's the money issue. An editorial assistant at a major magazine is unlikely to make more than $30,000 a year, whereas a successful blogger right out of college could pull in as much as $50,000 -- a big difference when it could mean getting out of a bedbug-infested Bushwick loft share.

Of course, at the upper echelons of the industry, things are a bit different. A contract at a major national magazine can be worth upward of $5 a word; contract writers are generally paid a set yearly amount for a specific number of articles, or a particular word count. But freelance rates are generally much lower.

For most established but not well-known writers, $2 per word at a major magazine is standard, though usually negotiable. So even if a fledgling magazine writer were to write one 1,500-word feature a month for a national magazine -- which would in itself be a difficult feat to pull off -- he or she would be pulling in $36,000 a year before taxes. That's also assuming that none of the stories were killed or held and that everyone paid on time."
-The Decline and Fall of the Writer-