In amongst last Friday's 'Interesting posts' collection, was one about non-paying markets, by my friend, aalford. in which, he lists some of the non-paying sites that he enjoys reading.
The question of why many writers look down on these types of publications also came up, as well as one about whether or not his readers would ever submit to one. I gave him my answer (for me, some form of cashy-money payment, however small, is a matter of principal), but it got me thinking about this from the other side.
Assuming the publication or e-zine is attempting to make money - even if it's just to cover costs - I'd say they darned well ought to pay their writers, just as they no doubt pay their printer/site designer/web-host etc. I really can't see the downside of offering (say) $5 per story as opposed to a big fat zero. Unless writers don't care if they get paid or not, in which case, why bother offering, right?
There's certainly all manner of non-paying markets, so maybe it's just me. Maybe most other writers submit to paying and non-paying markets alike. If they don't, then I'd say the non-payers are making a mistake, 'cause their paying competitors are getting first dibs on all the good stories.
How about you?
Is asking for free materiel a good business strategy for a publication?
Do you ever submit your work to non-paying markets?