I’ve just finished an article in Harper’s about life coaches. Though largely unschooled and uncredentialed, these people make a living as cheerleaders for those who can afford to pay. Their role is to tell strangers how to live their lives. Nice work if you can get it. (“50,000 Life Coaches Can’t Be Wrong,” by Genevieve Smith, Harper’s, May 2014 pg. 29-34)
But this blog isn’t about life coaches, per se. It’s about flying under false colors. The idea came to me at the end of the article, when my eyes fell upon an ad for Tweed’s, a new literary magazine featuring the works of writers like Joyce Carol Oates, David James Poissant and Raymond Storm.
Most startups can’t afford to advertise in Harper’s so I guessed they had money behind them and wondered if they might be open to submissions.
A click on their web page assured me they were. But there was a caveat. Each submission required a $15 fee. The money would be used to “subsidize” the journal, the editor explained.
I tossed the publication aside in disgust. A magazine should be viable because it has a subscriber base or investors in search of profits. An editor shouldn’t freed upon the aspirations of writers like a vampire. Those that do are despicable no matter whose work lies between their glossy pages.
Harper’s isn’t a vampire. My work has twice been rejected but I didn’t have to pay for the experience. What’s more I’m always grateful for what I learn from its pages. Today I discovered that life coaches and Tweed’s editors have opportunism in common. Instead of giving them my money, I should tell them to go fly a kite.
(Courtesy of www.windrushkites.co.uk)