There appears to be a new breed of writer who takes from others without giving anything back.
When I started the people who were new to writing like me, became my biggest supporters. They helped me by answering questions and giving advice. They advised for free and they became friends as well as colleagues. When these mentors brought a book out I was the first to buy it. I advertised their work and tried to give as much back to them as they had given to me.
That type of appreciation and loyalty has all but disappeared. Don’t get me wrong I have some amazing supporters who reply to my emails and donate to my Patreon. My negativity is directed toward those writers that take and have no intention of giving anything back.
Let me give you a couple of recent examples.
On Facebook, I run a large group of approximately a thousand members. With this group, I schedule daily feeds to share article links in. I ask questions, find new members and keep the group running.
In addition to this, I ensure everyone follows the rules such as not posting multiple links on one thread. Not easy when most people seem incapable of reading and following the rules. The group takes me about two hours a week to maintain. The writers on the group get their work advertised and access to a vast network of other writers. They make money through my group.
On several occasions, I have asked these writers to donate to my Patreon, only £2 a month, not a fortune. Only nine people out of 1000 do. Nine people that’s it. The rest take and don’t contribute. Before you think this is a shakedown for money, it isn’t. But, it makes me think if they don’t think it is worth a £2 investment, then are they not supporting others. Are they reading the work of others? Are they joining newsletters to keep in touch? Probably not.
In contrast to this, I belonged to a group where the owner put a status up saying pay up or I close the group. He earned over £400. How is that right a polite ask gets you nothing and threatening people makes money?
This week I was reading a post complaining about editors of publications, that don’t give feedback to writers when they reject a piece. I am so tired of reading complaints from writers about editors of publications.
As an editor on Medium here is a newsflash we get paid nothing. On Crimebeat we get more than 10 submissions a day. Doesn’t sound a lot, but all this work is done for nothing, not a cent. If the article is a success the writer gets all the money, the editor is doing it out of the kindness of their heart. On top of this, I have to write my own articles, have a full-time job and look after a family.
When I come to rejecting an article I refuse to give feedback for articles that do not follow the submission guidelines. Why should I spend time communicating with writers who have not even bothered to follow the submission guidelines? I wrote an article about why submission guidelines are pointless to most writers.
It is lazy and unprofessional. 80% of our rejected articles are for this reason. If there is another reason, for example, the content has been covered before, I try to leave a message.
Here is the thing for one of my publications I asked for writers to donate £1 a month towards my editing time. No one donated not even £1 although they were earning a lot more from my editing work. I closed the publication. £1 is a lot less than you would pay a professional editor.
Writers need to look at themselves as much as throwing complaints at others. You are benefiting from work that is being done for nothing. Nobody would mind helping others out, but would it hurt you to give a couple of pounds, not even the price of a coffee to help them out.
Times are tough I understand that better than most, with two children under four that seem to grow hourly and need bigger clothes. If you can say honestly you couldn’t afford £2 a month then not one writer or editor would stop working with you. That is not the case for everyone. Anyone who has made money from their writing should consider supporting others, I do.
Even if you can’t help financially, join their email list market their book for them or simply drop them a thank you. Don’t sit back making money off someone else’s hard work and give nothing back. You are far more likely to be remembered and be successful if you support others.
Be nice to those you meet on the way up because you will meet them on the way down