TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Request for Submissions From:"NIVA Inc." <niva -at- MAGI -dot- COM> Date:Sun, 25 Feb 1996 19:32:21 -0500
On 25 February, Vester Scott suspiciously asked (like everyone else should be):
>No payment? Hmmm.
>Who DOES get paid if you publish someone's work?
>And how much?
>Like everybody else should be.
This was in response to my posting that said, in part:
>Submissions are invited for Writer's Block. Writer's Block is an expanding
>quarterly magazine aimed at writers, editors, and other communications
>professionals, including members of various writing associations and many
>high-tech companies. Our hard copy subscription base is currently at
>approximately 750; our Web site (where Writer's Block can also be found)
>receives about 600 hits per month (and growing).
>Please note that all submissions may be edited for content, grammar, and
>style, and that no payment will be made in exchange for publication.
To which I reply:
Nobody at NIVA gets paid for publishing someone else's work. Writer's Block
is a freely distributed publication that attempts to do two things:
1. Offer advise, guidance, and support for those in the technical writing
2. Promote our company (hey, I never said we were completely altruistic).
In fact, Writer's Block costs us a fair piece of change to print and
distribute each quarter. This is not by way of complaining, mind you, since
we do get some promotional value from it, but merely to set the record
straight (on the assumption that the record appeared slightly crooked given
the above post).
As mentioned, we distribute to about 750 subscribers, and that number is
constantly growing. Assume postage of (conservatively) .50 for local, and
more for out-of-country, and you can see the numbers starting to add up.
Add to that the considerable time we spend writing, editing, laying out,
proofing, and distributing the magazine, and our lack of profit margin
becomes clearer still.
As far as the promotion aspect goes, our name appears in small type in the
publications box. That's it. Our hope is to build a sufficient
subscription base to one day make a viable run at true magazinehood, and
gain income from advertisers (we intend to keep WB as a free publication for
the forseeable future). For the moment, we just want to produce a valuable
tool that attracts readers. To do so, we can't rely on our own staff to
produce all of the material in the magazine, and thought that opening up the
magazine to outside submissions would allow us to improve the quality and
value, and offer others a chance to publish their words and thoughts to a
growing, focussed audience.
Many small press magazines (in fact, I would venture to say most) offer
either no payment or contributor's copies. Since our magazine is free,
contributor's copies don't mean a whole lot, so the other option is no
I hope this clarifies where we are coming from, and where we hope to go.
Apart from my partisan interest in seeing the magazine flourish, I think our
field needs resources like Writer's Block to keep the lines of communication
open, and to keep us all interested in all aspects of what we do for a living.
Sorry for rattling on so much, but I thought it important to respond to any
misgivings my earlier post may have fostered.