Back in November, it was SFWA raising the pro rate designation (DW) from 5¢/word to 6¢/word.
Now Ralan's, an influential list of market and submission information, has made a major change. No more For The Love or Exposure Only listings -- ones that want the work, but not the pay. Posted on Facebook, where you can follow him there:
Ralan ConleySo why pick on these markets, some of which are run by good fans of SF/F/H? If you want to be a fan writer and share your work for free, go ahead. No one's stopping you. But you can't make Ralan spend his time updating these little markets. Especially as his goal is to help the new pro writer.
The decision to stop listing Exposure Only markets at Ralan.com has been in my mind for some time, and I just decided to implement it today. The Expo page has been removed and all Expo markets have been stripped from the Books, Humor, and Adult market pages. All Expo markets on the Antho:Expo-Token page have been removed and the Token markets have been moved to the new Antho page. Expo markets on the Flash/Poetry/Twitter and Humor pages have been left due to the typically short nature of the works presented and to tradition. Past Expo markets on the Dead Markets page are untouched, but newly deceased ones will not be added as of this date.
I'm sorry to disappoint anyone, but this decision is final and necessary on several levels. Token markets may well follow in the not too far future. For right now publishers and editors of Exposure Only paying markets who want to be listed at Ralan.com will have to pony up something to be considered a Token market for as long as that page lasts. Perhaps some other free, market-listing web site will take up these kinds of markets, or perhaps not.
I've also removed the old Response Times page. Since I slowed down to next-to-nothing in my submission of short stories the page hasn't been updated and the info on it is too old to be of any use to anyone. So, no loss there.
As you were.
I've probably submitted to no-pay markets. Certainly I've had stories published for no pay -- honorable mentions in contests and two pieces for charity anthologies. But I would argue there's a difference, especially with the latter.
So in the long run I have no objection to Ralan's decision. Obviously he can do what he wants, it's his site. But new writers are pointed to sites like Ralan's to answer the question Where do I submit my stories? This is after you've overcome the very difficult barrier of even deciding to let your precious stories out in the world, to see the light of day. To actually let another human being read your words. It's a real issue -- I wrote for decades before I finally shipped a story out in June 2002.
And the other bottom line, that getting exposure is good for you... good for whom? I'm serious. If this is supposed to help your career, who is going to SEE this publication? Is it free or is there a price barrier? And if it costs, then how much? We already know the writer isn't getting the money. Do you imagine that tons of influential editors, reviewers and publishers are going to be reading this Expo market? Or is it just a reference or link you can make -- one where only your limited audience is going to see? Or is the whole thing a way for the editor to get their own stories exposure, with stories from others to give the illusion of respectability. Remember, some of the Pay markets -- paid less than Pro but more than Token -- are taken seriously and get reviewed. Now THAT'S exposure.
At least Token markets are paying you something, though I understand why Ralan might consider ditching them, too. But having the market put some skin in the game means they aren't going to take just anything, IMHO.
Bottom line -- get paid for your writing. Or bask in the warm feeling that your story is out there, even if it isn't being widely circulated. Or self-publish, post on your own blog or website if you want barrier-free publication without even the hint of an editor. Your choice. Me? I like getting paid.