Stark Raving Mad?
I saw a call for submissions today that made me laugh out loud. There is much controversy within the profession about writing for free. My position on that issue can be summed up in one sentence: My first book came about as a direct result of an article that I wrote for free.
There’s a difference, though, between writing for free and paying for the privilege. There’s also a difference between writing for free and writing for free at great length while naked in front of a camera.
Yep, you read that right. The call for submissions I saw this morning was a request for poetry. Poets were asked to submit 3-4 poems for consideration. In the happy event that the poet’s work was accepted, she would then have the privilege of sitting—naked—for a professional photographer. With the poet’s original work and nude photos in place, the poet would then be required to write another poem about being tricked into posing nude…uh…er…I mean, the artistic experience of posing nude.
The publication might or might not choose to publish that poem along with the original poem and the nude photographs. In return for the right to publish the original poem, the nude photographs, and possibly the second poem, the poet would receive…a copy of the publication.
Sorry, guys. Anyone who wants to photograph me in the nude—and I readily concede that this is a very small percentage of the population—has to at least buy me dinner. If they want me to write about it afterward, I am definitely going to need more than the right to buy additional copies at a discounted price.
I believe—and my own experience proves—that there are logical, practical reasons to write for free. If, however, there are logical, practical reasons to write for free, then pose nude for free, then write about posing nude for free for free, I have not yet discovered them.