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PostPosted: October 11th, 2004, 1:45 pm 
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Joined: August 1st, 2003, 9:52 am
Posts: 1874
We were alerted to this joke of a publication by a reader. They offer "rewards" in lieu of respectable pay for writers...and they want exclusive rights for 90 days! There's not much more you can do to insult writers!!

All writers are encouraged to avoid this unprofessional firm.

If you want to read comments from past victims of "pay-per-click" publications, read How to Be a Starving Writer: Write for Pay-Per-Click Sites at:
http://www.writersweekly.com/this_weeks_article/000497_01262003.html.


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 Post subject: e-Marginalia Response
PostPosted: October 12th, 2004, 4:26 pm 
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Joined: October 12th, 2004, 4:18 pm
Posts: 2
I’ve spent the morning trying to figure out how to respond to your posting which I read after receiving your even more caustic email alerting us and instructing us to check your website. Your censure arrives in the wake of a similar (though angrier and more grammatically challenged) rebuke from someone who is likely the reader who contacted you, considering these are the first and only unpleasant or chastising communications that we’ve received since we began soliciting and publishing travel stories on our website over a year ago.

I am wavering between hurt and frustration, and between anger at being hastily misjudged and the ensuing confusion over how to clarify our position without provoking further antagonism. Nevertheless, I will attempt to respond.

I well understand and support your quest to help prevent the exploitation of those who earn a living (or try to earn a living) by writing. And I wholeheartedly encourage your efforts to track down paying markets and jobs for writers. As a struggling writer myself, I consider WritersWeekly.com to be a valuable resource, and only wish that I had discovered it under different circumstances. Likewise your other website, BookLocker.com, is an exciting distribution channel for emerging writers; I purchased an ebook from your site last winter and was pleased with the transaction.

In short, you appear to be engaged in positive, constructive endeavors. For this reason your censure stings plenty and confuses even more. But I’ll do my level best to overlook the emotional response and tackle the substance of your email and posting.

e-Marginalia evolved gradually and organically in response to e-Margaux.com visitors’ requests. With unsolicited travel articles filling our inboxes and our visitors clambering for suggestions, tips and reviews consistent with Margaux’s immersion-based travel philosophy we finally decided to stop passing the buck and oblige everyone. Once we announced our intentions we were overwhelmed with submissions and were forced to confront the question of how to select only the stories most likely to appeal to our readers. The “contest model” was born.

The monetary rewards you’ve punished us for were and are intended primarily as a symbolic sign of our gratitude for being able to share travelers’ stories. If some glorious day e-Margaux and/or e-Marginalia make the transition from an extremely time consuming and rather expensive hobby to a self-sustaining, commercially viable business, then I assure you, we will eagerly and happily increase the purses we offer.

As the name suggests, e-Marginalia, does not pretend to be a mainstream travel publication able to hire professional writers, but instead offers travelers an opportunity to share the artifacts of their travels. We are endeavoring to develop a forum for travelers to tell stories that will inspire immersion-based travel, a forum to showcase travel experiences that invite people to reevaluate how and why they travel, a forum to celebrate and romance the very ideas of journeying, wandering and adventuring. e-Marginalia is by and for travelers.

Although we receive a great many submissions from professional writers (and more everyday, despite the fact that we do not pay) we are far more interested in personal, unique stories from everyday travelers than slick travel copy composed by seasoned pros. We make this clear on our website (please reference http://www.e-margaux.com/en/e-marginalia/sub-guide.htm and http://www.e-margaux.com/en/help/faq.htm#e-Marginalia ) and in our correspondence with those who submit work to us.

There is a great demand for “real people” telling their own stories, and many travelers out there who love sharing their stories. In fact, some are so thrilled to have their stories selected for publication that they’ve even refused the reward when they received the exciting news that they’d won. Of course, we’ve insisted, but I believe the point is noteworthy here. Perhaps this illustrates the difference between a traveler recounting an adventurous story for the benefit of other travelers and a professional writer trying to earn a living.

Finally, regarding publication terms, we request but certainly do not demand exclusive rights. In fact, several of the stories we’ve published were concurrently published elsewhere at the wishes of the author. The basis for our suggestion is quite practical. If the author wishes to maximize the popularity of the version of their story published in e-Marginalia, it usually serves them to avoid having it simultaneously available elsewhere. At any time that this has posed a problem for someone, we’ve been perfectly willing to accommodate them.

Okay, I’ll desist before I bore you to tears. I do hope that you have a better understanding of what e-Marginalia is all about and why we offer rewards. A couple thoughts in closing. I mentioned earlier that you seem to be involved in positive, constructive endeavors. It is for this reason that I was most alarmed with your email and posting. I would expect that, after reading http://www.e-margaux.com/en/e-marginalia/sub-guide.htm and http://www.e-margaux.com/en/help/faq.htm#e-Marginalia on our website, you would have contacted us to ensure that you correctly understood our policy before flaming us in a forum where your opinion holds so much sway. This would be not only a professional courtesy, but also part of a responsible writer’s fact-checking methodology. The disagreeable email which I suggested earlier may likely have been the reader who contacted you received a prompt, thoughtful and polite response from me. Although she has opted not to respond, direct communication from you would have been a far more positive and constructive way of approaching the issue. I am the first to solicit and apply advice. In fact, most of what you experience when you come to our website is the product of advice and feedback from our site visitors. It pleases me immensely to be able to say that. In responding to my posting, I implore you to offer positive, constructive advice in light of my clarification regarding our goals and means so that you can contribute to the growth and improvement e-Marginalia. Thank you.

e-Marginalia
http://www.e-marginalia.com/

Submission Guidelines
http://www.e-margaux.com/en/e-marginalia/sub-guide.htm

FAQ (related to e-Marginalia)
http://www.e-margaux.com/en/help/faq.htm#e-Marginalia


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PostPosted: October 12th, 2004, 7:48 pm 
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Joined: August 1st, 2003, 9:52 am
Posts: 1874
noticed you left your last name out of the post. Why?

Funny, you say above that many of the stories on your site are published elsewhere "concurrently", but your guidelines specifically state: "...we request 90 day exclusive rights after publication..." You also want non-exclusive electronic rights, which means you can publish a writer's work forever, without additional compensation. There's no clause for the writer to have their work removed.

Your guidelines also state that all submissions "must be previously unpublished and must not be simultaneously submitted elsewhere."

That's some pretty greedy verbiage coming from someone who doesn't even pay writers. Saying you're soliciting stories from "everyday travelers" instead of writers doesn't make any sense, either, when your guidelines contain verbiage like that. "Everyday travelers" wouldn't understand that lingo. It's obvious you're soliciting professional writers.

George, your payment terms are beyond insulting. Writers have families to feed and offering "rewards" of a penny a click (thus forcing writers to market your site in order to make money, which you're obviously encouraging them to do in your guidelines) is even more insulting than flatly admitting you don't pay. And, you only pay the three writers who have the most clicks! Everybody else is left with nothing and you have free content. Lucky you!

You have sponsor links on your website, but you're not distributing that money to your writers?

Is your ISP donating their services to your publication? How about the phone company? The electric company? Your website host? Your office supply store? What about the store where you bought your morning coffee? If none of these are donating their products and services, why do you think it's okay to ask writers to do so? Everyone else is being paid! Why not your writers?!

I admire editors who have big dreams and who want to publish profitable publications. But if you don't have any money, you have no business starting a business, and certainly no business asking writers to contribute to what you admit is a "hobby."

You said, "If some glorious day e-Margaux and/or e-Marginalia make the transition from an extremely time consuming and rather expensive hobby to a self-sustaining, commercially viable business, then I assure you, we will eagerly and happily increase the purses we offer."

Boy, if I had a penny for every time a non-paying editor has said that to me...

READERS: These types of "pay-per-click" operations instill hope in writers that they'll make money and/or gain recognition. They don't. Most go out of business or the editor gets bored and starts another site (where they again lure in new writers for no pay). I encourage you to submit your work to a real publication. Don't waste your time donating your writing to someone else's "hobby."

If you're a new writer and wondering if a real publication will pay you for your work, just search for the term "welcomes new writers" in our markets database at: http://www.writersweekly.com/search.html

Angela Hoy
WritersWeekly.com


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PostPosted: October 13th, 2004, 9:09 am 
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Joined: April 29th, 2004, 8:49 pm
Posts: 3632
Location: God's country
Right on Angela! George, yes we are writers trying to make a living at something that others like yourself play at as a "hobby." We have to wade thru crappy zines, magazines and book publishers to find the REAL ONES who are doing it full time and know what they are doing and are funded enough to fund us. I dont want to play at someone elses hobby and while it is a hobby to you, it is full time work for us. I resent hobbiers who hold themselves out as something real when infact, they are nothing a writer can make a living at. I have had my fill of stay-at-home moms running publishing companies from their kitchen tables and wanna-be editors that "one day will be able to pay writers." Do real writers a favor--if you can't pay them take your hobby back to your garage.


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PostPosted: October 13th, 2004, 4:53 pm 
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Joined: February 9th, 2004, 11:21 pm
Posts: 5
Hi writers,

You can read the ad this editor posted on the "Seattle Craigslist" Friday, Oct 8, 2004.

Before you follow the links go to the bottom of the ad and read the notation about compensation. It says "up to 75.00". Now how many clicks would that take?

As professional writers it is our duty to uphold the ethics of the writing industry and to conduct business in a responsible, respectable manner. Writers who are diligent in improving their skills, fact-checking, researching, writing, and re-writing and who expend endless efforts trying to market their words deserve to be compensated fairly.

And that is that!

Thanks again Angela. And to every writer who refuses to be undercut by this kind of thievery.

Much success,
Sonya


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PostPosted: October 14th, 2004, 4:16 am 
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Joined: September 24th, 2004, 2:40 pm
Posts: 6
Location: Springfield OR
George, I hope you're not the copyeditor at Marginalia. I'm sure that when you wrote " our visitors clambering for suggestions" you meant "clamoring."

However, perhaps they were clambering over something.

_________________
Kristen Johnson Ingram
author, Beyond Words;
Wine at the End of the Feast
Rule of Silence


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PostPosted: October 14th, 2004, 7:58 am 
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Joined: October 1st, 2003, 5:23 pm
Posts: 432
Location: Scotland
Maybe the office is at the top of a mountain?

_________________
Rejection is Nature's way of telling you to write better.


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PostPosted: October 14th, 2004, 8:04 am 
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Joined: October 8th, 2003, 4:46 pm
Posts: 687
George, since you have no shortage of copy anyway, as you say, why don't you simply edit and list the free articles? What difference does it make if some have more appeal to your readers than others? People won't read what they don't want to. You could simply post "send us your travel story and if it's suitable, we'll put it online." That way, you're not coming across as yet another publication trying to make money on someone else's hard work and you're not wasting anyone's time who's trying to make mortgage payments. Keep in the amateur realm and don't try to be something you're not.

Just a thought.

Cathi


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PostPosted: October 14th, 2004, 10:42 am 
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Joined: October 12th, 2004, 4:18 pm
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Bingo. Thanks for helping to move this conversation in a more constructive direction. Your suggestion is actually the way this whole venture began as I alluded to in my first posting. In fact, we had hoped to create an open forum somewhat similar in concept to the one where we are presently discoursing. But, we wanted to do so in a manner that offered a more user friendly interface (especially for "non Internet savvy types") and a more compelling aesthetic experience than most threaded discussion boards permit. In addition, we wanted to be able to showcase the travel photos which help bring personal travel accounts to life. There are some wonderful sites that accomplish these goals in the travel sector as you may already be aware. But, we wanted to be in a position to disseminate stories in edited, vetted format and with an eye to recognizing and encouraging immersion-based travel. Since this entire affair remains an uncompensated endeavor (except for much of the technical development, maintenance, hosting, etc.), alive and thriving due to the volunteer efforts of a small (but growing) band of volunteers (myself included), this obviously posed a real challenge since there were not enough hours in the day. So the project was postponed. And postponed again as we focused on building the site.

At last we settled on the contest model as a “one time” trial to see if it might provide a suitable framework for selecting stories. To be frank, the response was staggering. In part because the volume of submissions far exceeded my expectations. And in part because we received so many submissions from writers. In many cases, successful, professional writers with impressive publications and careers. Whereas this had not been our goal or our expectation, I was to discover that many writers were interested in having us publish their work despite our inability to pay. In fact, some of these writers even offered to become involved as volunteer editors. It is for this reason that the anger expressed in this forum has been so surprising to me. But I digress.

Once the first contest was underway the question begged: do we do it again? It had taken far longer to launch the first contest than originally planned due to the number of submissions we received. On the other hand, the excitement felt by the travelers whose tales had been chosen for publication, our pride at being able to exhibit their creations and the positive feedback we were receiving outweighed the challenges that committing to a second contest represented. And new submissions were already arriving. So we forged ahead. One contest at a time, gradually finding our way.

In our brief experience, we have streamlined the process enough to begin looking at ways to improve and expand the contests we host. Contrary to the implications of some postings here, there is a great deal of enthusiasm for story sharing without pay. So much so that we are once again exploring exactly the sort of model suggested by BookCoverDesigner. Because we are primarily interested in permitting travelers to cross pollinate and because our contest’s growing popularity has resulted in increased competition, it is likely that we will offer a free publish-on-demand forum in the near future. However, the challenge remains to meet the objectives stated above and to resolve the question of whether or not to edit these stories or simply make it clear to visitors/readers that this is an open forum, etc. In addition, we are also finalizing decisions for an expanded contest calendar for 2005 including travel photo contests.

With time and a little luck, we hope to meet the growing demands of our users. There will be bumps in the road, to be sure, but hopefully we’ll learn from these bumps and continue to grow in a way that makes our website better. We're not too proud to receive constructive criticism, and have sought to filter valuable feedback from this forum in a way that will help e-Margaux and e-Marginalia improve. Our Submission Guidelines have already been clarified in response to the postings made here, both on the website and in the follow-up email we send to submitters to ensure that submitters understand our policies. The question of compensation for our contest finalists remains a goal, and the frustration expressed in this forum helps to inform the decision that we will hopefully be able to eventually make. And in the instance of BookCoverDesigner’s suggestion, I am reassured to hear support for an application we are currently evaluating.


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PostPosted: November 5th, 2004, 8:04 pm 
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Joined: October 22nd, 2004, 4:41 pm
Posts: 3
Nicely put, George, but let me translate for those who may not fully understand the issue:


We tried a money-saving scheme.

We got caught.

We realize we have to play by the rules.

We hope to God we don't lose face.


I think that about covers it.


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