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If a content creator…..

In light of the new drama around youtube a friend replied to me:

And I say… A creator has to eat.

A couple years ago there was a big bunch of writers who talked about why they refuse to write for free. The overwhelming sentiment was “fuck you, pay me.” The reasons came down to a few simple things. An author needs to eat, and pay their bills. An author spends a lot of damn time writing. A good author also spends money on editing, cover design, and probably marketing to get their books read.

Does an author write even if they don’t get paid? I’ve been writing since I was seven, and I haven’t made much, but I keep writing. If I never make another cent I’d keep writing. But here’s the thing; if I wasn’t seeing progress in sales I would stop trying to publish. Or at the very least I’d quit spending money I don’t have on editors, cover designers, and everything else that helps to make the book GOOD. I’d probably stick my books up on a blog, forgotten, and rarely read.

I have also been seeing: “well, he just sits in front of a webcam and talks, he can still do that without funding.” People don’t realize what goes into the back end of a some of these channels. Equipment upgrades, and keeping equipment running. Paying electric bills, editing, hours (if not days) of research, and for Philly D he has a whole crew that he pays, as well as all the other things he does on top of it. The GOOD shows do way more than sit in front of a camera and talk. Even shows like Hank and John Green are well edited, and time consuming. How many people would be out of a job if these channels disappeared? Not just the main creator of the channel.

In order to write the books I have written I have to work a full time job. That job takes a lot of my time and energy, and sometimes when I get home I don’t have the ability to sit down and talk, let alone string two sentences together. Just imagine if some of your favorite youtube creators had to have a day job. How much time do you think they’d be spending making that content if they had to go to work at six am with a one hour commute? Do you honestly think they could produce hours of content every week for your consumption? For me I have a lot less time to write now that I have a day job again. I can’t keep up like authors I know who write full time. I wish I could.

Just because you’re passionate about something doesn’t mean you have the time and ability to make it. And you probably won’t be able to make the same quality of content you had before.

To every artist, every author, every musician who is doing their art full time… could you do it if you weren’t getting paid? Would it be as high quality? Would you be able to produce as much?

If I can’t do any of those things as an artist with a full time job why would I expect my favorite news show, or commentators, or sketch artists, etc, to go without pay? Artists deserve to get paid, damn it!

PS, I haven’t even commented on whether or not this is censorship, or any of the other issues going on with this subject. I just wanted to comment on why artists of any type shouldn’t be looked down on for earning money for what they do.

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Posted by on September 1, 2016 in Copyright, News

 

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Writers should write!

I just read this great article by Hugh Howie over on Huffington Post. In it he talks about his advocacy for writing, and self publishing that writing. He said:
“We don’t rail against the proliferation of YouTube videos from aspiring filmmakers or DeviantArt accounts from future designers. We celebrate the act of bettering our craft by producing early works.”

This got me thinking about my own journey as an artist and writer, and the little encouragements along the way.

Drawing was easy. I started with an Elfwood account, that actually still exists. I got a DeviantArt account later, and still update it now and then. People like and comment on my art still. I sold some paintings, wrote some tutorials for wetcanvas.com, and could have continued on a path to an artists career. Not an amazing one, but a nice one.

But as much as I love art, I couldn’t make it my career. I’m good, I’m not amazing, and I don’t have the patience to practice and study to become amazing. I can’t even decide what style I like to do, so there is nothing consistent in any of it.

But writing…

I posted my first chapters/short stories to Elfwood. That was my first taste of reader feedback. Again, some of it still exists, and I don’t plan to take it down.

Then I switched to writing.com. An interesting platform, with some nice features. I had a few readers, but I couldn’t pay for a subscription so the limit of five stories up wasn’t enough. I did delete my account there.

I had my own websites. Several, in fact. Getting people to go to your website is a pain in the ass. I loved building them, but then I’d take them down a few months later.

The first time I actually got money for something I wrote was when I joined redpaper.com. It was the first micro-transaction community, and I really loved it. I won a contest and made ten bucks there once. Sold some comics, some desktop pictures, and a few articles and stories. It wasn’t a lot of money, but it was incredible to actually get money, even less then a dollar, for the things I wrote.

This was a form of self publishing, and I didn’t even realize it at the time. It encouraged me to produce more things all the time. I don’t care that I got so little… it was mine! I earned it. It felt amazing.

Later, I switched to magazines… I was suppose to earn $20 per article/story they published. It didn’t work that way. I ended up getting nothing, which cut my confidence in publishing a lot. The fact that they didn’t see fit to pay me, even though I had a signed contract saying they would, contributed to my writers block. It made it a little easier to walk away when my life got so stressed out.

Youtube, DeviantArt, and similar venues… they offer more then just places to show your work. They aren’t just brag galleries, and show pieces. They offer the chance to actually make money doing something you love. Authors should have that same opportunity.

It might not be a lot of money sometimes, but does it really matter? It’s about encouraging an artist of any kind to get better at their craft. And if I can earn enough from writing to go to Starbucks once in a while, then that’s encouraging. Because it makes me believe some day I might make more. Maybe even enough to do this full time.

And that’s worth it.

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2013 in Commentary, On Writing

 

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