Content for Nuthin’

…and your chicks for free

(no guarantee that they’re really chicks, though…)

Heiliger Scheiß! …nearly two months since the last blog! But hey — priorities change, and the organic mode now offers benefits I was nearly convinced had passed me by for the last time… thank Clive for that!

Anyway, I’m late to the party for this one, too, but:

This past week, the latest gaffe from Teh Lab got a bunch of people’s knickers twisted. Was it intentionally ebil?  Nahhhhh… it was, however, as poorly thought-out as usual.

A cynic (for instance, me) might say that “content for nuthin’ ” is the closest thing LL has had to a corporate culture — let alone a business plan — since Steller Sunshine rezzed the Beanstalk. What better evidence than the Prince of ADD wandering off to start another company based on the same principle? By my lights, it’s so engrained in how and why they do stuff that they’re simply incapable of thinking in a different direction.

So, maybe they were oblivious to the possible reaction from some Resis who, in various partial pressures: have already made a name as an indie blogger about SL, paid or not; are paid writers in other venues; pay writers in other venues. Indignation was heavy upon the land.

On the other side of the argument, @Sir_Winnie spoke up in the Twitterstream for the many up-and-comers who would gladly take exposure to an audience the size of LL’s in lieu of payment. Light-bulb Moment: “Calling All Bloggers” wasn’t really calling those bloggers: the ones who have already become successful on thier own and who were, predictably, the most indignant.

I’m well acquainted with “the exposure market”, on the fiction side; I’ve even been published (under a different name than this one). There are thousands of literary webzines Out There, each with a dedicated staff and an ever-changing crowd of authors and poets who submit in hope of no more compensation than to see their words judged worthy of reproduction. And of course, there is an online socety to go with it: workshops and forums where (mostly) polite peer-review winnows some of the chaff, and where Calls for Submissions very much like Linden Lab’s frequently appear.

A few of you may recall that I’m also a gatekeeper in the exposure market. Twice a year, it’s my turn on the rotating staff of TQR: Total Quality Reading to read short stories that have already made the first cut, and review them publically. I’ve been doing that gig for around 6 years, and before that I edited poetry and short fiction for a couple of other ‘zines (neither of which is still “in print”). Folks like me don’t get paid, either… on the other hand, it’s nearly as much of a rush to write an acceptance email as it is to receive one. It’s about exposure on the publishing side, too: you hope your ‘zine gets more readers as the quality of what you’ll print rises, which in turn attracts more accomplished writers, etc…

Kinda like blogging, y’know?

There can be an awful lot of slush to wade through before you find the gems, though. If people actually submit to LL for editing and publication, I cringe in sympathy with the poor Linden who has to read it all and decide if any of it is usable.


Oh, and… if you’ve got that Dire Straits earworm now? You’re welcome ;)

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