Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘writing for free’

Shop Talk |

Shakespeare, the paywall, and the benefits of copyright

How did Shakespeare become so great? Economically speaking, it all had to do with market economies—at least according to the New York Times: Those who paid could enter and see the play; those who didn’t, couldn’t. By the time Shakespeare turned to writing, these “cultural paywalls” were abundant in London: workers holding moneyboxes (bearing the distinctive knobs found by the archaeologists) stood at the entrances of a growing number of outdoor playhouses, collecting a penny for admission. At day’s end, actors and theater owners smashed open the earthenware moneyboxes and divided the daily take. From those proceeds dramatists were paid […]


Shop Talk |

HuffPo, $315 mil, and when to write for free

At 9 a.m. on the Saturday of AWP, I rallied for “When Should We Write for Free?” – a panel that, just like it sounds, featured writers discussing their own guidelines to answer that question. The panel gave insight into a marketplace that has rapidly grown accustomed to free content. There was much discussion during the audience Q&A about providing free content – mostly in the form of blogging – and folks mentioned the Huffington Post several times, since their bloggers are not paid. Fast forward to last week, when the Huffington Post announced that AOL would acquire it for […]


Shop Talk |

Payment vs. Good Karma

At the Coachella Review, Steve Almond makes a case—through his email exchange with an agent—against contributing to an anthology for free: Mark – I may be willing to do this, but I’d really like to know: who IS getting paid, if not the contributors? I contribute to a lot of anthologies, and almost without exception, they offer to pay contributors based on the advance, or a small percentage of the royalties. The idea is a great one, and the contributors are top-notch, so this book could make real money. Why wouldn’t the people who provided the material for the book […]



Literary Partners