To the Atlantic, and any other profit-making company that insists that in these times of economic--yadda, yadda--they often can't afford to pay writers or other creative sorts, I reply with this 2007 NSFW video by one of my personal writer heroes, Harlan Ellison.
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- Ah, but they do make money. Yes, a lot of magazines and newspapers are going down, but smart publishers are still viable. These are the ones who weren't stuck in the idea that we'd always be printing on paper. That the executives should always be paid big money while firing editors and writers. In my own case, for example, I've made a good living for decades as a freelance writer. How? In part because I won't work for people who offer to pay me for "exposure."Mar 7, 2013
- Free can work as part of a business model. The difference between open source and publications such as HuffPo and The Atlantic is that the best developers are hired--it's the open-source meritocracy at work--in publishing the best writers for "free" publishers aren't hired. They may find success by going elsewhere, but only the owners and top brass of HuffPo, etc. benefit from their variant of the free model.
The Baen free-library did indeed work, but you may have noticed that they're publishing less and less new free materials. That's because Baen and Flint started the model, e-books were still quite new. Now, with cheap e-books everywhere, the model doesn't work nearly as well. That said, for fiction, especially for serial and/or genre fiction, it can still work quite well. For non-fiction, especially journalism, it really doesn't work.
I wish it did.Mar 7, 2013
- I agree that simply giving away your writing is probably not a viable business model. But appearing on panels at conferences to raise your visibility was certain a useful technique for I/T Analysts a few years ago, when Stacey was still in the business. Raising your profile and increasing your brand does still have value, and to some extent, to the extent that you write a wry paragraph on G+ to induce us to click on the link and read your articles on ZDnet, you are giving something away for "free", yes?
As far as Harlan Ellison and Dr. Howard Hendrix are concerned, as Science Fiction writers, their business is quite different from journalists, and their attitudes have been viewed by many as being rather Jurassic in nature. Google "International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day" for more of that backstory.....
And by the way, while I've given away lots of code, but I've generally not given away huge amounts of free advice or custom programming. When I worked at MIT, which allowed employees to do outside consulting, if someone asked me for that level of help, I did always make sure that past a certain point, we would have to agree on an fair and reasonable hourly rate (or a price for completion of some agreed-upon work).Mar 7, 2013
- Indeed. raising your public profile is good for people in many businesses (Hi Stacey!) To me, doing things like writing on G+ is something I do both because I enjoy talking with intelligent people and to promote my work or anything else that I think other people might find interesting. A lot of writers though, and I suspect many others, hate using social networks to promote their work.
My writer/editor friend & I, who make pushing our work publicly part of our day have been trying to talk other writers into doing this for ages but we're always running into resistance. We find this more than a little perplexing since there's a clear correlation between raising your visibility and making more money in writing. Just as Flint, et. al. found that giving novels away for free actually increased their sales, providing "free" public intelligent conversation improves our traffic, which in turn, helps keep a roof over our heads.Mar 7, 2013
- As long as they can get away with it (i.e. as long as there are suckers) why would they change?Mar 7, 2013
- I say we automate journalism. Have survey monkey conduct interviews and feed random troll words into the title. Then a computer writes a story using Facebook posts for inspiration.Mar 7, 2013