Perhaps I’ve ignored this for a while because I didn’t want to admit it to myself, but writing is an expensive profession. The physical materials–paper, pens, ink cartridges–are reasonable, but the money you have to shell out to get your work published makes a pretty significant dent in the bank account. I’ve started keeping track of my expenses for tax purposes and it’s staggering to add up how much I’m actually spending on my writing. In the last month alone:
New South submission fee: $2.50
The Madison Review submission fee: $2.00
Tiny Texas House Writing Contest fee: $50.00
Press 53 Annual Writing Contest: $17.00
Writer’s Digest YA Short Fiction Contest: 2 submissions at $20 each; $40
The Potential Chance of Getting Published: Priceless?
Everyone keeps arguing that “vanity publishing” and “self-publishing” is so expensive that it makes the practice ludicrous. But, at this point, I feel that traditional publishing is just as expensive (except it’s sneaky so nobody realizes it) for the author and with less chance of it actually paying off. With self-publishing, you’re published. The End. You paid the money and it happened. But, with submissions and writing contests, you’re submitting money for no guarantee (not that author’s should have the right to pay publications money and expect to see their work in print; I totally believe in editorial review boards being selective). From a personal financial point of view, is it worth it? Will it ever pay off?