But I also believe pay comes in many forms: a good review, a prestigious (if not well-paying) publication credit, the respect of colleagues. This example from Norman Partridge. (How bad ass would it be to get a letter like that?) Money is nice, too. Feel free to send some.
This is the point I was trying to make: I'm not in a place where I want to yield too much creative control for money. If a story I write doesn't sell, so be it. It goes in the "junk" folder. The junk folder is not in danger of starvation. What about "some day maybe" when an agent/publisher tells me to change a key element in a novel so I can get the book on the shelves of Wal-Mart? That would be a nice problem to have, but I'm not in a place to make that decision (nor do I foresee myself there any time soon). What is "too much"? Each artist/writer/what-have-you must make his/her own decision about how far they're willing to go. I won't pretend to make the choice for anyone else.
I can only make my own decisions. For example:
- I will keep writing.
- I will support markets which publish short fiction I respect/enjoy. Any writer who loves short fiction is obligated, in my opinion, to do so. Realms of Fantasy collapsed again, folks. Don't let this happen to your favorite pub. When every paying, well-respected venue for short fiction goes the way of RoF, what kind of "pay the author" conversation will we be having?
- I'm going to offer any book with my name on it (as primary author or editor) to libraries in the U.S. for free because a good library has always been an author's friend. I plan on hitting some librarian hangouts online and sending a few postcards. (or, if a librarian happens to read this...drop me a line aaron.polson (at) gmail.com).