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[Writer Post] Godin, Coppola, and Not Getting Paid (again)

Posted by reudaly on March 7, 2012 in Writing |

I’ve been trying to get this post going for well over an hour now. It’s a gray, gloomy day. There are chores ahead of me – typing up long-hand work, housecleaning, praying for a miracle that the lawn guys come before it rains this weekend and we have people over. Though I wouldn’t say I was BLOCKED this morning, I would say that I was BLANK…until Writer Beware started posting articles on their facebook feed. Now I’m…perturbed.

Over the last couple of weeks, there’s been some talk in the social media worlds of PayPal forcing Smashwords to stop selling e-books that contain certain erotic elements. There’s been some outrage on this (not as much as some people would like) but some. Writer Beware passed on this article that explains it a bit more. This is economic censorship that has no place…anywhere.

For the record, I don’t write these types of things. I don’t necessarily like the topics listed to be taken down, but I don’t think anyone has the right to demand they stop being available. There are a lot of ways these topics are dealt with in other forms of fiction (including Christian/Inspirational) and non-fiction that could be swept up in the net. As many people point out, the topics included in the list are also mentioned in the Bible. Though I haven’t worked with Smashwords yet, I do appreciate their attempts to work with PayPal and their pressures to make this situation more palatable for the most people. It’s a difficult situation all around.

The other “hide-chapping” thing that popped up this morning…Seth Godin being somewhat misquoted, but still head-thumping. The article is titled: Godin to authors: You have no right to make money any more. Now technically, this is a misquote. What he’s quoted as saying is: Who said you have a right to cash money from writing?

I know I don’t have a “right” to be paid for anything. NO ONE has a RIGHT to be paid. They do have an expectation to be paid for services rendered. Despite the campaigns against speculative work in the art industry, I still have to do it in the writing one. Until you have a history -you write a novel, you try to sell the novel. Until you reach a certain level with short fiction – you write a story, you find a market for the story. It’s “how it’s done”.

I don’t get paid for my blogs – I do occasionally get sent a fun pen to try out with the pen blog – but cash, no. I don’t do THIS for money. I do this to help build an audience and because it’s a way to vent some frustrations. I think that was part of Godin’s point. But when people who’ve got more money than they could ever spend, like Francis Ford Coppola, say things like: I’m going to be shot for saying this. But who said art has to cost money? And therefore, who says artists have to make money? I say, DUDE, reality check…it’s bouncing.

Art costs money to make in terms of time and equipment. Writing (and most art) requires a computer, an internet connection, paper, pens/pencils/paint, and electricity – not to mention someplace to put said equipment and electricity. None of that is free. Time? 95% of all artisans DO NOT CHARGE what their time is worth in any other industry. You couldn’t afford it. That’s why 95% of all artisans have “Day Jobs”. Some art requires postage/shipping to get material to where it can be sold.

Artists have to make money in order to continue to create art. And yes, in terms of self-publishing and ebooks, there is a LOT of material out there. It’s harder and harder to make a living writing, and yes, we’re all throwing stuff at the wall to see if it’ll stick in terms of new monetizing avenues, because we don’t know what will work at the moment.

But the more people like Godin and Coppola start putting it in the mind of the public – no matter how misquoted – that writers and artists don’t have the right or need to be paid, then they won’t even try to value our work. Content is valuable. We need to work together to make sure everyone understands that. And if no one’s being paid because there is “no scarcity” in material? Keep discouraging writers and artists by telling them their work has no monetary value, that should CAUSE scarcity.

I would to be shown how wrong I am. Debate me. Argue with me. But keep it civil. As for me, I have a novel to get back to writing.

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