Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Requirement To Live

OR - you did it for free????

I’ve written about authors being paid. I want to delve into this a little deeper because of the post from yesterday and because of a library talk I went to the other night.

Sunday, I went to an author’s book launch. The author paid for the entire event herself. She also gave away her books –free.

Thursday, I went to an author’s workshop at the local library. I understand that sometimes these workshops are gratis – free. I’m not sure if all such ‘visits’ are free, but I’m hoping this author was remunerated.

This author told about a school visit that she did in another country via Skype. She did not get paid for this. She was very happy as she sold five books and supposedly opened a new market.

My own editor/friend doesn’t give away books (except for contests which promote her book – and she only gives away one at a time). She also does not do school visits for free.

To get down to the brass tacks of this ‘problem.’

Authors are required to live, just as everyone else is. Now, if you give away your books, if you give free school visits, if you give free library programs, if you read and edit peoples’ books for free – how do you live? Living takes coin.

Stephen Silver put a post up at the LinkedIn SCBWI group page. He links to his blog and a video on that blog about ‘why you deserve to be paid.’ It’s a simple, but succinct, message. Stephen is an illustrator. He talks about what we do has value. We have to realize it, we have to accept it, and we have to expect others to accept it also. He gives a great example of a lawn-mowing kid who does the job and yet, we don’t pay them? Would we ever not pay the kid for mowing the lawn? Take this further. What about the teacher who teaches our kids? What about the doctor who saves our life? The auto mechanic? Are we the only ones who expect pay for our work?

I never quote the Bible. I am not well versed in it, but I know it. I did find these....
“Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.” The author of this article says, “Preaching the Gospel is a legitimate method by which people might live’ (be paid.) The minister preaches using the ‘gift’ that God gave him. We writers write using the ‘gift’ that God gave us. We cannot accept God’s gift without expecting Him to give us the wherewithal to survive, i.e., live.
A couple more: “the worker deserves his wages.” “do not hold back the wages of a hired worker overnight.” “Pay them their wages each day before sunset.” Jesus sends the disciples out without an extra shirt or sandals or a staff because, “the worker is worth his keep.”

Sorry for the long post. It is important that you and I remember our worth. So here’s another reason for making sure that your requirement to live is taken care of by being paid for your services – books, school visits, workshops, whatever. You are required to live. By that, you are required to be reimbursed. You are of worth.What you do is of worth. 

Life is worthwhile.

PS - There are two good articles in the March/April 2013 SCBWI Bulletin.

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