Predatory price wars initiated by market behemoth Amazon directly devalue the written word, according to Turow. So does the willingness of young writers to work for nothing in the hope of future rewards. “You can’t be a professional writer unless you get paid for it,” he says…
I started labeling myself a “professional” the day I first received an acceptance letter. And you know what? That was from a small, non-paying Christian magazine. I’d been trying to get stuff into paying markets, but no one was interested. I needed the writing credit that the magazine was willing to give me, a newbie at this business.
And yes, as much as I dislike the business end of writing, I’ve been trying to treat it as a (very small) business lately.
I try to stick to a production schedule, I try to keep products going out regularly, I keep up with what’s going on in my profession, and I keep records. Businesses don’t always start out making profits…in fact, if someone builds a business from the ground up, the first couple of years generally don’t show a whole lot of black in the accounts. You have to be willing to spend some money (whether it’s real money or the money you could be getting paid for your time) in order to build it.
Business for this artist is a pain in the butt, and if I’m going to act like writing is a small business, I’d like to be acknowledged as a professional. No one’s going around telling the new start-up screenprinting business that it isn’t “professional”—at least, not until it’s been proved otherwise.
There’s really no industry standard (that I’ve found) for when a writer call herself a “professional”. I personally think, like I said, that it’s when they make their first sale. That proves the writer can stick to their guns and persevere, just like any other professional in any other field.
So there. ;P
What do you think?