Of course, it had struck me before, but when talking it over with a good friend just yesterday (and for over three hours or so in which we discussed, among this, many other things, the idea seemed even more important than ever. The concept is this: How does a serious writer go about making any money by writing articles for the Internet and specifically, the very many (and I note, some very good sites) that ask for free and demand excellent content. Such sites are discussed here, and while some may be worth the time and effort, others may certainly not be and it’s important to know which is which.
I’ve long-written for journals and newspapers and magazines and one expects a nominal fee of at least several hundred dollars and for a two hundred word review, about one hundred. For a piece in The Atlantic Monthly, New Republic, and the like, the sum can go all the way up to several thousand. Even Parnassus and Partisan Review (when it existed, that is, measly as it was or had become, alas) paid something. In short, all print publications paid hard cash, unless they were real start-ups by a good friend just out of college who was starting a new small lit magazine and felt generally, deeply sorry that s/he couldn’t pay you for your two bit poem.
But now, we (collectively, writers and critics here, so this means you) write great content (and I don’t mean here, because there are other reasons to write for Blogcritics beyond money and that was not the intention of the site in the first place ~ designed first as a type of blog, it was never intended as a pay source on the outward end, but perhaps a revenue on the other side if not that, then some money so that the site owner (who has to pay on the back-end) could and can afford to host the writings of others, meaning in effect, that we ought pay a certain amount, even a nominal fee of say $10 per annum, to the owner of the site each that will cover basic hosting and other costs. In exchange, we get high ranking on search engines, syndications, and our content and our reputations get excellent exposure and we are in good company for the most part, I should say. To me, $10 in the very least is worth it. Yes, much blogging should and is free, but let’s face it, a site like Blogcritics is no longer simply a “blog” but a true reference in the real world, not just the Blogosphere (does that make sense here? I hope my meaning comes through). In short, we get something that I think is highly valuable for free when we may want to rethink the fairness of that arrangement. That much is a sort of fair exchange and in this writer’s view, anyway one that has proven well worth the time and effort.