Friday, November 21, 2008

Asking Fiction Writers to Write, vs. Asking Professors to Write

A striking difference, to be sure.

If I issue a call for submissions for, say, off the top of my head, an anthology of zombie stories, and I'm paying virtually nothing ($25-$50 plus a free book) - then I get 300 submissions. 50 of them are good. 20 go in the anthology. I'm done on time and have a fine product.

If I ask fellow professors to write book reviews, which pay about the same (a free book, a book that normally costs about $100), and which we professors are supposed to do as part of our contribution to scholarship, then this is what I get:

I can't find anyone to do reviews of books in German, French, or Italian.

Even for books written in English, I have to ask five people, in order to get one who agrees to do it.

Of the four per book that don't agree to do the review, two of them don't even bother to write back to say "No." They just ignore my email.

When a person does agree to do the review, there's a good chance that s/he will forget to do it anyway, and if I remind the person, there's an excellent chance his/her response will not be "Oh yes, I'll get right on it," but rather, "Oh, nope, can't do that after all."

The same situation applies if I'm looking for people to write essays for a journal or an anthology.

So, I'm thinking my dealings with fiction writers are looking preferable right now.


Blogger Fox Lee said...

We are darling.

11:54 PM  
Blogger Sabledrake said...

So do any of those professors, say for instance, hire ghost writers to do their reviews? :) If so, I can think of someone who might be interested. Or is that what grad students are for?

8:12 AM  
Blogger John Goodrich said...

Well, I expect that when you start paying professors by the word, that'll change.

4:36 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I'll try to keep this brief. My father was at the airport to pick up somebody. The man standing next to him starts a conversation. He turns out to be a professor. As soon as he finds out my father was a maintenance man, he quickly moved himself to another location.

A fiction writer would not have snubbed my father for several reasons. 1) fiction writers are always looking for new material 2)fiction writers are always wanting to sell books 3)fiction writers are very often nice people who live just down the street. (naturally, I do not include you with professors because you have transcended your professor status and adopted the mantle of fiction writer.)
Paidra Delayno

8:10 AM  
Blogger KPaffenroth said...

Well, I hardly want this to turn into bashing professors as a group, anymore than I'd want to talk in generalizations and stereotypes about any group.


since I belong to the group "professors" I guess I give myself some leeway. And as someone pointed out in a private email, writers seem to LIKE what they do, and professors often seem to DISLIKE what they do for a living. And that's really kind of sad, doing something you don't love, day after day. So maybe I won't be so hard on them.

9:09 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

You are entirely accurate, To lump everybody of any particular group under one heading is neither fair nor a reasonable assumption. I'm sure there are many professors who teach simply for the love of teaching and not to fulfill whatever agenda they subscribe to.

4:27 AM  

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