Friday, November 3, 2006

Are You a Writing Snob About Ezines, Ebooks, and Being Paid to Write?



Are you a writing snob? I certainly was, but I'm changing. Early in my writing I was so worried about being considered a professional children's writer that I wouldn't consider submitting to any magazine publisher that didn't pay. What's wrong with that? Well, for one thing, there are some wonderful e-magazines, print magazines for children, and writer's magazines that pay nothing, or pay in copies only. One of my very first articles on writing sold to "Once Upon A Time", a respected magazine for children's writers that paid in copies. When I received that acceptance I burst into tears. It was the validation I needed to go on with my writing.

I have written for numerous children's magazines. Most of them pay in both money and copies, but I scrupulously avoided the ezines with little or no pay. Then I took a closer look at what they were offering. I already had numberous publishing credits, but I could always use more so I submitted some crafts to Wee Ones Magazine and they were accepted. The pay wasn't huge but it was another credit and more exposure. Since that day I have also been published by Fandangle Magazine , and Dragonfly Spirit Magazine accepted a story about "Santa's Slowpoke Elf" that print magazines wouldn't touch because of the topic. My opinion of both non-pay and e-publishing was beginning to change. Now I wouldn't hesitate to submit to a non-paying market if it would give me an acceptable writing credit, and e-magazines for children are wonderful! Take a look at the wonderful things they offer. New e-zines are cropping up all the time.

Still my snobbery wasn't cured. I had no interest at all in ebooks! For me a book is something you hold in your hand. You can feel a book, even smell it, while you curl up in a comfy chair and lose yourself in the pages. *sigh It's hard to snuggle up to a desktop computer.

BUT....that is an old-fashioned concept. You have to be open to change and to progress. I write for children, not people my age. Children today are growing up with computers, they love them, and they are comfortable with them. So............with the help and urging of an illustrator friend, I submitted to an e-publisher, and my book was accepted. Hallelujah! E-publishing held some surprises for me. It is faster than print publishing which takes years. I was sent galleys to proof until they met with my satisfaction. My publisher is gracious and helpful, more than willing to answer all of my questions. My publisher offers the option of having a POD version of my book, but for now I am staying with the electronic formats.

My book can be downloaded in PDF, HTML, or Flip Viewer format. It is also available on CD-ROM. The real clincher for me was seeing my book in the Flip Viewer on my computer screen. I was in control of physically turning the pages and I could actually hear them turn!

The best part....kids love it! I had the pleasure of reading one of my stories at a Church children's gathering. The children loved the book on the screen and applauded the story. They mobbed me for my autograph and told me how much they liked my book.

I urge you to consider e-publishing, and non-paying options, for your writing. Non-pay is still exposure. I can see where the shorter time to e-publication would be a real benefit to time-sensitive stories and articles. Use these venues to bolster your sagging confidence and build up writing credits. But whatever you do, make it your best work. The publishing of poor-quality writing doesn't benefit anyone, not you and not the publisher. And look before you leap. Check out the publisher, the quality of their work, etc. There are good honest publishers of every kind, but there are also a lot of scams out there. Don't get taken for a ride. Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. has been very good to me, so far, and I know others who have had a good experience with Writer's Exchange E-Publishing. There are many e-publishers out there but it is important that you check out any publisher you are considering for yourself, don't take one person's word for it.

(c) 2006 Sharon A. Soffe

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1 comment:

Kevin Scott Collier said...

Shari,

I exploited many non-pay/contributor spots all through 2005 and the first half of 2006. It got my name out there, build a resume and body of work, and now I am being approached (not seeking out) paid jobs. On average, I get nearly a dozen writers a week wanting me to look at their children's story manuscript to illustrate for a published book. You cannot sell your name until you have one, and work to show for it. And, even after moving into a semi-professional arena... I still do much "Contributor" work to stay humble. Humble is cool.

Best luck to you on everything!

- Kevin