Re: Author still frustrated

From: Judy Seigel ^lt;>
Date: 01/16/05-12:31:39 AM Z
Message-id: <>

On Sat, 15 Jan 2005, Robert W. Schramm wrote:

> As to the idea of publishing on the web, all I can say is that with the
> exception of scientific papers that I have poublished, for which one is not
> traditionally paid, I have been renumerated for my books and articles --- and
> rightly so. I did do a short version of some articles on special processes
> for some web sites, but this is a polished and profusely illistrated article
> which I am not about to give away free.

I'm with Bob here -- the money itself is not really an issue, at least in
my own calculations, because anything of that nature I've done for pay
paid so little for the ENORMOUS amount of effort, the money was trivial.
It certainly never came to minimum wage.

But there's a PRINCIPLE involved. It's one thing (IMO) to share ideas,
info, experience, and expertise in an informal way on the list -- I think
that's a great pleasure, resource, and boon to the field generally. But
the kind of effort Bob describes should not not NOT be expected free.

There is of course much, possibly too much, of this nature that is free on
the web. A lot of it is, sorry to say, worthless, and/or done for
personal promotion. Does, say, Frank Stella have a website explaining how
he welds all his layers? There are, as we know, important exceptions in
our field, as well as sites maintained by institutions, but all fuel the
expectation that every intellectual project should be out there for the

(This is BTW very like a discussion we had in the early days of the
list, when the line "knowledge should be free" was repeated like a mantra.
It shouldn't and.... guaranteed .... it isn't.)

I'll add that I get inquiries about Post-Factory from folks startled to
discover it's not available on the web. Yes, it is quaint to sell issues
(tho I am card-carrying quaint myself). And of course at even floor
scrubbing rates for the labor, if pro-rated it would cost $5,000 dollars
per copy. But the idea, IMO, is that folks should show they respect and
value the material by not expecting it free.

Many websites actually sell their *readers* by running ads, as I was
advised to do. But having spent some years in not-for-profit publishing I
knew that spoils the fun -- as well as the pudding:

(1) you absolutely pull your punches, no matter how brazen you are. (Only
the New Yorker could do a story on the environment [Green Manhattan] with
Phoenix as poster child for bad land and energy use and a 3 page insert
promoting Phoenix in that very issue. That may be a first and last !)
Did you ever read a BREATH against Kodak, for instance, in a photo

(2) A small-circulation publication can't charge enough for ads to pay for
the cost of printing them and the postage for mailing the space they take
up, let alone soliciting and servicing them. The temptation then to
increase of keep up circulation is deadly. (For proof, take a look at the
magazines at the supermarket checkout counter.)

But I digress about my personal issues. Sorry.

In sum, although there may be considerable benefits in web publishing for
folks soliciting customers of one sort or another, Bob is a senior,
established figure & that's not his need or intention.

Received on Sun Jan 16 00:32:40 2005

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