Can I See Your Underwear?

November 5, 2014 § 4 Comments

This is EXACTLY what I want to wear while talking on the phone.

This is EXACTLY what I want to wear while talking on the phone.

It’s ‘rude’ to talk about money, right? I mean, unless you’re in New York and asking about an apartment, we Just Don’t Do That. It’s like asking about the color of someone’s underwear–isn’t that, well, personal?

Sure, it’s easy to find contest fees and prizes, and literary journals’ submission fees–often much better publicized than their pay rates–but finding out what magazines, newspapers or websites will actually write a check for a charming essay on motherhood or an investigative piece on school testing is like trying to find out the color of your professor’s underwear.

Just. Not. Happening.

Whether your goal is to write full-time, write part-time with writing-related job, write part-time as a break from or complement to your non-writing-related job, or because you damn well feel like it, it’s nice to know how to get paid. And over at Scratch Magazine (which is also a terrific magazine about the business of writing). they’ve figured out a way to share that information without making anyone undress.

Who Pays Writers is a fabulous resource.

Composed of anonymous submissions, the list is well-organized with tags to find particular media. Find out not only who’s paying, but what rights they want and what kind of stories they’re buying (investigative, personal essays, topical, etc). It’s a great place to check before you pitch, after you pitch, and when you’re looking for a home for something you’ve already written. Some samples:

S.F. EXAMINER: $100 for 100-250 words, FOB (front of book), news, in print and online. Medium reporting. “They say payment terms are net 30 in the contract, but invoicing is done every 30 days, and checks arrive between 45-60 days after an invoice is sent. It is as painful as it sounds.Sunday feature stories 600-700 words pay $200. And $25 extra for a single photograph for a story.Good editors. Some of whom will teach.”

ADBUSTERS: $1500 for a 2000-4000 word feature in print and online in 2014. Medium reporting. “Great edits & timely payment”.

I love browsing their listings for ideas–often, I’ll see a magazine that pays decently, think the title sounds like something I’d click with, go to the website and bam! Essay idea! With a possible market!

PLAYBOY: $11000 for a 2000-4000 word feature in print and online in 2014. Medium reporting.

Ahem. Excuse me. I think I need to go strip down to my underwear.



Brevity’s Social Media Editor Allison K Williams  is currently sporting a pair of navy full-bottom granny briefs. Before boarding a seven-hour flight AMS-MSP, so don’t judge.


§ 4 Responses to Can I See Your Underwear?

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