Every year, I spent a bit of money I’ve earned from my fiction on supporting worthy writing-related web sites and magazines, be it via subscription or donations. In the past, I made most of these purchases in December, but this year I ended up spreading it out more throughout the year because of so many worthy Kickstarter projects I simply had to support. Even so, there are two in particular that I supported this month that I’d like to draw attention to in this post:
This is a quality magazine that is extremely supportive of diverse voices as well as new authors. They began to pay professional rates at the beginning of 2013, and are now holding a subscription drive in order to continue to publish and to pay writers fairly in 2014. I was one of over 300 people who already bought a subscription, but they aren’t there yet — they need 600 subscriptions total to fully fund, and the subscription drives ends December 31. Click here for more details.
There is a fine balance between supporting the writing-related services you love, and becoming an over-charged customer. When Duotrope became a paid service at the rate of $50+ a year, I could not justify paying that much for what they offered. I was happy to donate $20 per year in previous years because it was a) voluntary and b) more along the lines of what I felt comfortable spending on a service where most of the value is added by its users Wiki-style to begin with.
Fortunately, the fine folks at Diabolical Plots have stepped in and created an excellent alternative service called The Grinder, which they are committed to keeping free for everyone.
While the Grinder is new and does not yet have the volume of users of Duotrope (they are growing fast, though!) — a much greater percentage of their users are neo-pro SF/F writers, and so the data for the markets that interest me is generally as reliable or more reliable than Duotrope, even with less people reporting. They are constantly updating the site, introducing new and innovative features, and they’re extremely open to feedback. All in all, I am very thankful for the service they have provided to the SF/F writing community this year, and I encourage those of you who can afford it to kick in a few bucks and those who cannot to support them by uploading your submissions data, therefore improving the accuracy of their database.
Whether you choose to support these two venues or someone else (and there is no shortage of worthy candidates!) please consider spending a few extra dollars with venues that provide you with free, quality services year-around. Your help will keep them going and available for you and for many other users who may not be fortunate enough to have the disposable income for this.
And while I’m updating the blog, also check out my story Nuclear Family, podcast by the wonderful folks at the Cast of Wonders.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!