Jane Doe Essay

A young poet friend of mine objects to magazines charging writers. She wrote this essay which was published by The Chicago Record. I agree with her and suspect some of you may also.

Petty Literary Money Grubbers


Jane Doe

The two most prominent non-performing arts are painting (a genre term that includes all the fine art forms) and writing. An art gallery is a vital business that links the artist to the buyer. Almost all galleries are for profit, paying the artist a percentage of sales. The more well known and desired the artists, they naturally get a larger percentage. The other type of galleries are either not-for-profit, or collectives, with different structures of remuneration. Some artists feel that galleries take an inordinate share of earnings. Many artists resent the semi-closed world of galleries that do not readily accept new artists. This is a relatively traditional arts business, since artists ceased being artisans in the second half of the 19th century and acquired agents, rather than patrons to promote their work. Of course, except for dealers in old masters, a gallery’s selection of artists to represent is purely subjective.

Writing, until the advent of electronic publishing, was not entirely dissimilar to the art business. Publishing houses issued the books of their writers and paid them royalties. Invariably, except for successful commercial fiction writers, it became difficult for serious writers to earn a livelihood by their craft. This certainly urged many of them to seek refuge in hospitable academic environments that offered a modicum of security and captive audiences. Then came the proliferation of emags.

In an amusing historical note, in the 1970’s, the eruption of Off- Off Broadway theater ventures allowed, for the first time, inexperienced youngsters to start their own companys with little or no professional or business know-how. At this time, the average life span of a new theater company was three to four months. This confirmed the good sense of the National Endowment of the Arts that required a group to be in existence for at least two years before requesting funding. Then they would face the standard of artistic excellence, and if they were denied grants, they believed it was for not belonging to an old boy’s (or girl’s) theater network.

Then the children of the publishing arts multiplied. And no longer had to serve demanding, underpaid apprenticeships at traditional publishing houses to learn the publishing business. While everyone else is struggling in America in the twenty first century of economic malaise for the diminishing middle class, the liberal arts college degree finally had its era of utility. Formerly, the most useless preparation for the future, now the lib-arts grad could use simple computer skills, simple art skills, simple writing skills to start a magazine. By 2015 there were over 5,000 emags, most of them run by well-meaning, but ill-prepared dabblers.
Many of the nouveau arrivistes pressured their writers to subscribe to their magazines, thus hoping to pay for their new business. At the same time, tens of thousands of new writers, urgent for publication, collaborated with their new publisher by paying for subscriptions. In the 1930’s, if a writer self-published, or was published by a vanity press, it was either a joke, or an embarrassment. Now this phenomenon, a torrent of writers and a host of epublishers, formed a low-yield symbiosis. This was a union of true ignorance. The publishers believed they were entitled to money from the writers. The writers thought it was normal to support the magazines that published them.

The worst offenders in this pay to play arena are the contest sponsors. Even the well-established, supposedly responsible literary magazines and the university publications reap income by offering contests with an entry fee, that attracts participants hoping for recognition far more then prize money. Many of them also yearn for the cash. The practice of charging writers to be published is unprincipled, exploitive and deleterious in the effect on the mentalities of writers and publishers alike.

In an era of dominant visuals in entertainment, and unrestricted access to the internet, the performing arts are fading. Painting (including all the other facets of fine art) has become so diverse in form and technique, that it is no longer accessible to the basic culture seeker. Writing has expanded more then any other art form because it requires the least skill, the least investment in materials. Great writing has faded away in the publishing climate of mass market sales. Throughout history, culture has arisen and departed, often linked ot the life and death of empires. It is no tragedy that opera, ballet, classical music, classical theater are fading away in our society. Change in cultural values is inevitable, despite the reluctance of certain participants to accept the new reality.

It is appropriate for writers to realize that they should be paid for their work, rather then paying to be published. There should be some kind of standard to determine remuneration. Certainly the merit of the work should be considered. The reality is that very few of us know the difference between good and bad art, let alone good and bad writing. Liberal arts graduates, deluded into assuming they are educated, do not comprehend that if they want to be publishers, it’s like any other arts venture. It’s a business. If someone wants to be a publisher, they should learn how to finance their business, not expect to be funded by writers. Writers should learn not to participate in publication’s allurements, where they pay to be in print. It is improbable that either group will have the common sense to reverse their erroneous behavior patterns, but they should certainly be made aware of the impropriety of payment for publication.

An amusing afterthought. In semi-professional and community theater, where there is scarcely any money to pay artists, musicians insist: ‘Musicians must be paid’.

Jane Doe has an M.A. in poetry from an Ivy League University. She teaches English and writing at a community college. Her poetry has appeared in a number of literary magazines. She recently ended her association with a magazine over the issue of charging fees for reading submissions.

Short Story Podcast

My short story, ‘The Man Who Shot Stonewall Jackson’, is being podcast by Second Hand Podcast. The story is from a collection ‘Now I Accuse and other stories’, to be published by Winter Goose Publishing.

On its own page – secondhandpodcast.com/episodes/episode-18-rr-how-to-care-for-hyacinths-fate-and-starlight-the-man-who-shot-stonewall-jackson

You can also find it on the following:
iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/second-hand-stories/id 1149655764?mt=2
Google Play Music – https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=1#/ps/I2ykkb5j2ykxc w6eucw32xx2txu
Stitcher – http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/second-hand-stories
TuneIn Radio – http://tunein.com/radio/Second-Hand-Stories-p909061/
Player.fm: https://player.fm/series/second-hand-stories

Cathy Porter, Fine Lines Magazine, Review of my Novel Sudden Conflicts

In Gary Beck’s new novel, Sudden Conflicts, we follow the adventures of three unlikely friends – T.J., Clar, and Pete – who meet in college, become roommates, and form a close bond that builds as they navigate their way through their differences, all while working and living together in New York City. These three very different individuals manage to survive a school shooting at their college, and earn their PhDs — all before going on to work together in the world of high-technology. The story moves at a brisk pace, offering insights into each character’s personality -giving a human element to the novel that sometimes is missing from books where the plot centers around technology. Mr. Beck allows for the personal development of the three friends, who grow closer as they delve deeper into the world of high-tech dangers, finding their security and safety at risk – as well as anyone who gets involved with them. Overall, this is an enjoyable, fast-paced read that should appeal to a wide range of individuals, regardless of their interest in computers or the cyber world. Gary Beck proves his talent for novels is right up there with his talent for poetry.

Sudden Conflicts press release


Sudden Conflicts
A Novel by

Gary Beck

For Immediate Release

Author Gary Beck once again captivates with his newest novel, Sudden ConflictsThree brilliant college roommates, from disparate backgrounds, aspire to join the world of high-tech super giants. Armed with newly-earned PhDs, they share a tiny New York City apartment. Humor, and years of deep friendship help them endure long months of searching for rich investors.

While the trio fights to gain millions of dollars from entrepreneurs, threats, hackers, and intrigues build to a climax. When TJ and Pete start dating two lovely young women, danger escalates, FBI agents become involved, and a Chinese businessman makes an offer they might not be able to refuse. The friends are forced to make hard choices when revenge and morality present opposing pressures.

Sudden Conflicts is a 298 page novel. Available in paperback with a retail price of $15.95, and an ebook for $2.99. ISBN:1945646136 Published by Lillicat Publishers. Available now through all major retailers.
For  information or to request a review copy contact: editor@lillicatpublishers.com

Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director, and as an art dealer when he couldn’t make a living in theater. He has 11 published chapbooks and 2 more accepted for publication. His poetry collections include: Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press). Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways, Displays, Perceptions,  Fault Lines & Tremors (Winter Goose Publishing). Perturbations, Rude Awakenings and The Remission of Order will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. Conditioned Response (Nazar Look). Resonance (Dreaming Big Publications). Virtual Living will be published by Thurston Howl Publications. His novels include: Extreme Change (Cogwheel Press), Flawed Connections (Black Rose Writing), Call to Valor (Gnome on Pigs Productions) and Sudden Conflicts (Lillicat Publishers) State of Rage will be published by Rainy Day Reads Publishing. His short story collection, A Glimpse of Youth(Sweatshoppe Publications). Now I Accuse and other stories will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City.

Lillicat Publishers is a book publishing company with the goal of publishing exciting books by both new and established authors. Our primary genre is Science Fiction, although good speculative fiction comes in many forms. We also are interested in Fantasy and Mainstream fiction. No Erotica.