Friday, March 19, 2010

Pirates of Volunteer efforts

I'm not sure about the legal wranglings of the gripe I am about to express but I am so infuriated I think it's well worth the risk.

Three years ago, I was apparently still fairly green in the sometimes shady handling of publishers and freelance writers, like myself. So, when I was approached by a publisher in Chicago for them to use an article I had written, I was so stupidly flattered I didn't bother to have the contract read by someone who could have seen the sickening holes and exploitations, and instead signed my name and scanned it back to them.

Thus resulted in having my article published in an anthology that is still sold to this day at $19 and of which I have not seen a penny.

For sure I am not the first, nor sadly, will I be the last writer to be ridden like a donkey and not even given something nice to chew on in the process, but it doesn't make the practice less bitter.

I was just about to name the shameless cads, who simply copy and pasted the hardwork of others into a book, stuck their names on the cover as editors and then go on to sit smugly in Cosi coffee house, drinking lattes or eating cream cheese bagels, but I thought I'd better check with legal friends first.

The only positive thing gained from this is that as I have now been commissioned to work on a much longer nonfiction project, I am taking great pains to thoroughly read the small print and ensure I will be paid for my efforts.