rants,  the writing life

I Am Not Flattered

I am so angry right now as I type this. I am NOT flattered. Not one bit. They always show up in my inbox full of flattery for my work. Whether they actually value it is another story.

In the pagan/occult writing/publishing world – we need to stop normalizing the idea that writers and artists shouldn’t expect payment for their work on commercial projects. That they should give it away for free for exposure of their other projects, or for the love of their art, so that someone else can make $$ by publishing it. Because you know the publishers who ask for free articles and art are NOT going to give away the finished product for free. They’re going to charge people for it. And that money isn’t going to a charity – it would be different if it was. No. It’s going into someone’s pocket because that’s how they make their living. Exploiting other people by flattering them into giving away their work.

If I’m writing free articles for the love of my art – I’m giving them away for free. That’s the deal.

The only person allowed to profit off my work is me, or those with whom I’ve agreed to share the profit because they’re doing something significant for me and my work that I can’t do for myself, or just don’t want to do myself. Not just using my name to sell their product. I know this sounds shitty – but it’s horribly exploitive. And this exploitation of authors and artists is rampant in the occulture overall.

If one more publisher comes to me wanting a free article to add to their for-profit book, or they come to me wanting me to write a book they can publish to launch their new publishing company while offering to pay me peanuts to do it (which has happened to me three times, btw) — I’m going to lose my shit.

I am not your cash cow. I am not going to do all the work for free so you can make money off of me. I’m not your fucking whore.

As a publisher, I have ALWAYS offered payment to contributors to commercial projects because I value those contributors and their contributions. I often split royalties with my authors 50/50 or I give THEM the lion’s share. The only reason I take anything is because I pay for the editors, cover artists, promotion, formatting, etc… Often things my authors can’t or don’t want to do themselves. Ask them how much they’re making. The only time I have not paid contributors is if we were creating a free resource. Like when we published Black Serpent magazine — they were free to readers. So, the contributors weren’t being paid because what we were publishing was free to the general public.

When I’m not staring down deadlines, I’m happy to consider contributing articles to projects that will be given away for free, or where the proceeds will go to charity. But I’ll be damned if I’m spending 40 hours of my writing time producing an original, well-researched article for someone else to profit off of. I love the subjects of Daemonolatry and Magick, and wortcunning, and all of that, and I write monthly free articles, and give away free ebooks, on demonolatry.org ALL THE TIME. I’ve been doing that for years and years. That said – not everything can be free, especially when you’re a writer by trade and that’s how you make your living. A girl still has to eat and pay her bills.

I think the occulture needs to start boycotting **commercial projects** where the authors and artists weren’t paid something for their contribution. Only then can we de-normalize the exploitation of authors and artists and get people to value the writing and art of fellow occultists as ACTUAL WORK.

**Again, I’m not talking about free learning projects or charity projects. I’m talking about commercially available books/projects.

(Yes, this is an anger post and I know it’s probably not going to change anything, but I had to get it out of my system and people should know exactly where I stand on this subject.)

Steph is an award winning and bestselling author of thrilling steamy and paranormal romances, dark urban fantasy, occult horror-thrillers, cozy mysteries, contemporary romance, sword and sorcery fantasy, and books about the esoteric and Daemonolatry. A Daemonolatress and forever a resident of Smelt Isle, she is happily married and cat-mom to three pampered house cats. Her muse is a demanding sadistic Dom who often keeps her up into the wee hours of the morning. You can contact her at swordarkeereon@gmail.com

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