@enoquin. I agree with you on the importance of paying writers. And I wouldn’t have given the below response if you had kept your complaint to a single comment. But maybe if you know a little bit more about the idea and people behind this project, Women’s Tale, maybe you would have a different thing to say.
(Comment 1:enoquin: In my opinion…people should always try to give participating writers a small token…the idea of always looking for volunteer writers will not encourage ‘the writing industry’ that is if there’s even one yet.)
First, let me say it strikes me very interesting that you found nothing else to comment on in the said call for submissions than the aspect that informs the readers that FOR NOW, pending when this new magazine finds its foot, the magazines will not be paying contributors just like almost every other magazine and newspaper in the world. In the world, not in Nigeria. I will like to know magazine that pays once in a while contributors in the world, especially a new outfit. I have contributed articles to few national dailies and magazines in the past and none has paid me for it. You do not demand to be paid for opportunity to air your view, although at some time in your career your opinion may bring you money.
For sure, if this was an anthology or a collection of materials, the contributors will be entitled to payment when the project must have broken even. But certainly not before. But this is not the case at all. For starters, the minds behind this particular project are university undergraduates and fresh graduates. Young people who came together for a cause. A laudable cause, I might add. As a matter of fact, the originator of the idea is a 19 year old writer. This is not Tell, or Newswatch, these are not millionaires, or people who seek to make money from the project. These are idealists who just believe (naively, maybe) that they can make a change in a world that is so skewed and fucked up. And by God, these people have done their homework very well. They had all the materials they thought would be enough for their first issue. Until I came in.
When I met the initiator, Edner Yunusa, I was impressed with what these young men and women have on their own accomplished and I prevailed on Miss Yunusa to allow contributions from other people so as to give the magazine a wider and varied outlook. She concurred and that was why I helped put this call for submissions on NS and my blog, believing that people of like mind might have relevant materials they would like to publish in a print media.
(Comment II: enoquin: …wait for the magazine launch and you will see the money that will be spent on the launching…Please oh, I am not trying to discourage anyone…but haba…more dignity should be ascribed to writers abeg!)
You said in your comment that you had no intention of discouraging anyone. How thoughtful of you. You did however manage to discourage me and I’m sure the brilliant, selfless and hardworking people, who without anyone’s help or money and perhaps with their meager pocket money designed this project and put it in motion, would not be so thrilled with your comments and the distraction and digression they caused.
(Comment III: enoquin: …Are they not paying for the magazine or the design? So why can’t the ones that will provide the content i.e the authors get paid too…)
Yes, these people would have had to pay for graphics design if not that someone who is not so concerned about only making money has volunteered to do it for them for FREE. Of course, they still need money for the actual publication and seeing that the combined savings of these ladies and young men cannot even get them 100 copies of magazine, they still need to source money for that. Which they are already doing to a degree of success. If you have done some voluntary community service before, you would know how easy it is to raise fund for a project like this in Nigeria. The money always comes raining…
What about advertisement? Yeah, advisement is where magazines make their money, but getting advertisement for a new outfit is like trying to climb Kilimanjaro. Not impossible but certainly herculean. You might want to ask NS admin about this. I know this very well because I chaired two editorial boards of a magazine while in school. And on both occasion, we did not make commercial profits, we commercially ran at loss. But we were nonetheless satisfied and proud with what we accomplished, and we had great feelings that we helped couple of aspiring writers kick start their publishing career. You know that feeling you get when you have done something worthwhile. You should try it sometimes, it works wonder. And on launching, ask any Nigeria (with no ties to political power) about that. You will be enlightened with their answers. Most times you may not even make enough money to offset your launching bill. Publishing by upcoming publishers and writers is not yet a very profitable business in Nigeria, with or without elaborate launching ceremony. That, my sister, is a fact.
While I appreciate the fact that writers should be paid for their talent, this apparently cannot be the case all the time. Sometimes you write ten pieces for free and sometimes you write one for a hundred thousand naira. I have done both. Soyinka and Achebe, Clark and Okigbo must have done tons of such ‘voluntary writing’ in their early days especially during their undergraduate (University Herald, The Bug), but today a Soyinka’s average speech goes for couple of millions of naira. Those students’ magazines you probably enjoyed on campus were most likely a product of ‘voluntary writers’. And what do we even do on NS here or on our Blog and Facebook if not voluntary writing? Voluntary writers most often than not become (intensely sought after) commercially successful writers.
Editors Note –
Naija Stories believes strongly in paying writers and we have set up a payment system (click on link for details) whereby at least 10 writers have already been paid. Our regular writing contests also mean that even more writers have been rewarded for putting their work on this site. Our anthology #1 has a contract attached with royalty procedures, and we soon plan to begin publishing individual members so they can earn even more money from their work.
Finally, we do not mean to offend or open an avenue for trading insults by allowing this post. We think that despite the rancorous tone, the opinion in it raises a good discussion for writers and publishers to have. Respectfully. All opinions are welcome.