Should Writers with Little Money be Kept Out of Publishing? – Guest Post by Traci Kenworth…

A few weeks ago, there was a big argument on Twitter on whether writers with little money should be kept out of publishing. There were those who wondered how writers not being able to pay the $20 PitchWars fee, how could they afford to be on the internet? Basically, they were saying that if you can’t afford to pay, you shouldn’t be trying to write a book or publish it. I’m on a fixed budget with mental health issues and I don’t think it’s fair that myself, or any other marginalized writer, should be blocked from publishing because of funds. I responded early when the post came up, not in negativity toward the PitchWars creators as they put up a voucher which I applied for, but then I heard about all that happened on Twitter as far as some writers arguing that $20 wasn’t much and if you couldn’t afford that why are you even trying?

We all know the writing profession doesn’t bring in a lot of money for writers, unless you’re a big brand name. Still, it’s like inviting everyone to a party and then charging a fee at the door that some can’t pay. If you continue that practice only the privileged are going to be there. You’ll miss out on stories that might change your perspective on things. Since the beginning of time, a lot of writers had to find backers to sponsor their work. William Shakespeare, anyone? What if they’d said to him, “You don’t have money, so you can’t write these plays?”

I’m not really upset at PitchWars, who reversed their decision to charge the fees with the outcry. It’s that there are those people out there who think a person should be barred from publishing simply because they can’t afford to pay. Personally, I would Indie publish if I could afford it, but since I don’t have the funding to do it properly, I’m looking into traditional. I hope my lack of funds doesn’t hold me back. That publishers who are aware of my situation choose to work with me despite it. I hope to get the same chance as everyone else. I’ve spent a lot of time learning my craft. Shouldn’t my work be judged according to this; not how much money is in my bank account?

Traci Kenworth

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50 thoughts on “Should Writers with Little Money be Kept Out of Publishing? – Guest Post by Traci Kenworth…

  1. who ever said this, is none doubt a writer who can’t finish a novel or hasn’t even started one or maybe hasn’t even sold on book and doesn’t like the competition…most likely scenario. Ridiculous.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. What a pile of unmitigated pile of fermented self-entitled dinosaur dung these jerks are sprouting!

    First up $20 seems a bit steep for something that you can do for free with a google search and an email. But, hey if people wanted to pay it, why not? I am glad they changed their minds though.

    Next, this arrogant ‘gatekeeper’ attitude is what is killing the ‘traditional’ publishing industry.

    A writer does NOT need an agent to get published. They do need to educate themselves on what is acceptable in a contract and what isn’t, but again all that information is available, you guessed it, on the internet.

    A writer does NOT need a traditional publishing house, with a contract that benefits the publisher, to get published.

    A writer does NOT need to spend ANY money to get published, full stop! … They do need to learn a whole lot of skills that are necessary to self publish, but all that requires is an investment of, not money, but time. At most they can splurge for a cover, but again that isn’t going to cost an arm and a leg … and if it looks like it is, look somewhere else.

    Even if they do choose to partner with a traditional publisher, unless they are already a Big Name they will be doing just about everything themselves anyway … and paying the publisher, and their agent for the privilege. (by ‘paying’, I mean that before the writer sees a single percentage of a book sale, the publisher takes out their’ expenses’ then takes their cut, then the agent takes a cut, and then the writer gets what’s left)

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Most reputable traditional publishers (like Simon & Schuster and Random House) do NOT charge entry fees, reading or submission fees. Neither do reputable agents. AS one who has spent the last 30 years in publishing, I know whereof I speak! 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Traci, eloquently argued.
    There should be no barriers to talent. Merit not cash should be what drives everything.
    As for those people arguing if you can’t afford $20 then you shouldn’t be writing …I simply do not know what planet they are on.
    Throughout the history of art it has been shown wealth does not buy talent (well it buys other people’s talents but that is not the same thing!) Nor does if buy success (well actually, if throw enough money at something! BUT not LASTING success!!!)
    I seem to remember a single unemployed mum with no money up in Scotland, who had to write in a local cafe coz she could not afford to heat her flat. She was writing some book about a kid who went to a wizard’s school.
    Wonder what happened to her?

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you, Paul! Yes, I agree, merit should be what’s important. And what money do they imagine writers are supposed to hand over when they traditionally publish? THEY are supposed to pay, not you. That’s the publishers. I wonder what J.K. Rowling would say about all this?

      Liked by 2 people

  5. The argument, if writers can’t pay a $20 fee, how could they be on the Internet is not, I suspect, saying writers with limited incomes shouldn’t be published, but rather contending: If you can afford internet fees, you can afford an entry fee, Even this begs the question: In a consumer society where writing is tied to monetization, at what point do we marginalize low-income writers?

    Liked by 4 people

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