It’s taken me quite some time to feel like I had the right (or perhaps the guts) to weigh in on the debate that’s being waged about the merits — or otherwise — of organisations like the ABC’s The Book Show and Overland Literary Journal putting out a call for bloggers. Bloggers that they’re not currently planning to pay (at least not with money).
It’s a thorny issue. The Book Show Blog callout is aimed directly at writers under thirty, writers who, presumably, aren’t already being paid for much (or any) of their writing. Overland aren’t asking so explicitly for young writers, but they’ll probably get quite a few applying.
Lisa Dempster, Ryan Paine, Benjamin Solah, and Extra Pulp have all been part of the discussion, as has Alec Patric on the Overland blog. (Clearly, I’m a bit slow off the mark.) I’m prepared to have my mind changed, but most of me thinks that these opportunities are good ones. Sure, they may not pay in actual cash, but (and if you read through the comments on the Overland piece, you’ll see that I’m pretty much reiterating what I’ve written there) being committed to making a regular contribution to, well, something, would be worth it for me. Payment is not always financial.
Again, a repetition of my comments on the Overland blog: I think blogging needs to be rethought. How do we make a distinction between professional and amateur bloggers? Does the fact that some writers might be paid necessarily mean that they are valued over those that aren’t? There are many different reasons to blog; not everyone who blogs considers themselves a writer. Is the distinction here the fact that these blogs are being put together by organisations?
If nothing else, the fact that such a flurry of typing fingertips has ensued can’t be a bad thing.