Thursday, February 26, 2009

Now that’s courtesy

Just had an email from BBC History Magazine informing me that my first footsteps piece for the mag is being reprinted in a special edition coming out in April. I won’t be paid anything extra for this – few magazine writers get paid for reprints – but they will be sending me a complementary copy.

This attitude is in stark contrast to other magazine publishers I work for. As an example, one magazine recently reprinted a large number of questions from one of my Q&A columns in a free covermounted book. Again, it’s perfectly entitled to do this, but I was not informed and my name appears nowhere in the book. If it wasn’t for the screenshots you’d have no idea who wrote the piece, but it does irk me that not only does this publisher reuse work without having the courtesy of informing the original writer, but more often than not the original writer’s name is removed from the credits.

I can’t afford to be too high-handed about it – another magazine recently dropped my Q&A column in favour of repurposing the entire section from earlier issues to save money. That’s blown a big hole in my monthly earnings, and I’m beginning to feel the pinch. It’s given me an extra edge in trying to get the Support PCs web site redesigned, and my web-coding skills have developed massively in the past week or so. I have this foolish notion that if Joe and I can get the redesign sorted, we’ll be able to attract more visitors to the site and drive up ad revenue from their current pitiful levels. It might also help me in the redesign of my own site, which I plan to strip down and simplify to enable content to be easily added without having to play about with page design at the same time.

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