Invoking the name

I just read an opinion piece in which the author cites a very well-known science fiction author by name, not once, not twice, but four freaking times. I won't invoke the name here, but it rhymes with "ballsy". If you are putting his name in your post that many times, it has to be an attempt to entice him to come read your blog, much the same way people used to draw a pentagram and chant a certain name three times in a row.

Mr. "Ballsy" is very web-savvy and runs searches on his own name, looking for references to himself, hence the significance of SEO technique as applied to him. This is not my snarky paranoid fantasies - he's said as much on his very popular website, uh, "schmutever". So, I'm not going to say his name here, lest he come visit some kind of smackdown upon me. "Ballsy" strikes me as one of the more mercurially tempered of the old gods of the blogosphere; perhaps he'll give your blog's visitor stats a nice boost with a neat link, perhaps he'll rip you a new one for being an idiot, and then go right on ripping.

He'll win, by the way. He gets 50,000 visitors a day, you (or at least I) get 20 a day, 60 on a good day. If he rips you on schmutever, especially if he's witty and throws in a picture of a stunned-looking cat, you might have a quarter of a million people all laughing at you for being such a dope. There's nothing stopping him from coming over to your blog and ripping you there, too, and people will come by the thousands in order to read his ripping of you. These will be his people not yours.

For the record, I think just about everything that "Ballsy" has said on the subject of writer pay is spot on, although it may be hard to hear for people for whom authorial success and recognition is still unrealized. If you are being paid little or nothing for your writing, you have to be getting something else out of the deal. Experience, exposure, eduction, training, laughs, whatever... but something of value to you.

Bearing in mind that you cannot buy food with experience, exposure and/or laughs, if you are in a position of privilege, as he puts it, where your day job pays all, then go ahead and sell your work for non-monetary compensation. Just be aware that that is what you're doing.

If, on the other hand, you are writing to pay the bills, you shouldn't put up with crappy pay for good writing. If your writing is still crappy, that's different, but if it is good enough to sell, then you should be trying to sell it for real money.

Which I am.

I put some stuff up here, it's true, but I am actively trying to sell other stuff for real money. As I get better, I expect that the money will improve also.


  1. It was/is an interesting discussion over there, WWE smackdown moments not withstanding.

    I love the information/entertainment ratio provided by the internet.

  2. Trev: I found the discussion interesting and entertaining up to a point. However, Scalzi's trump card in that was that the difference between $100 and $250 is irrelevant only to people who either don't need the money, or who feel they are getting more than $150 worth of intangible value by going with the lower pay rate.

    Beyond that, the discussion about the other issues devolved, IMHO.


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