Alan Baxter stirred the twittersphere recently with comments about royalty only anthologies.
I was basically lamenting the continued rise of anthology submission calls that are “paying” writers with royalties only. I have a problem with this, and I’ll explain why.
Alan iterates over the different expectations of paying and non-paying markets, and how this provides a valuable progression for writers from baseline obscurity to slightly less obscurity (yes, I am joking, we writers tend to hover around obscurity through most of our careers).
Now the ideal situation is to be paid and get a contributor’s copy. Even if the payment is as low as just a few dollars, plus a contrib copy, the author is getting something for their hard work. Well below anything like a viable wage, but something. The best of all worlds is to be paid well and get at least one contributor copy.
For what it's worth, I agree with Alan here. I've noticed a lot of For-The-Love anthologies cropping up, and frankly, I'm not much of a fan. At the very, very least, an anthology should supply the writer with a contributor's copy for their effort.
But this is where it gets shady:
The primary reason for publishers paying royalties only is because it removes the outlay of buying stories up front, yet still reserves the hope of paying the contributors. That’s fundamentally a good idea, but it’s usually a problem.
The problem is outlined neatly by Alan and is quite a sneaky one, playing to a writer's vanity. Click through to Alan's article and read it for yourself.
Yeah, sorry I'm not spoiling it for you. Go, quick, read: http://www.alanbaxteronline.com/2011/08/02/royalty-anthologies-writer-exploitation.html