Publish Without Pay

A very astute reader pointed out that our blog post on getting paid in “exposure” seemed a bit hypocritical since Buck Off Magazine does not pay its contributors.

To that I say, I agree. It’s our dream to pay the creators who inspire us to continue shifting through submissions, but at this time we simply can’t afford it. However, there is a slight difference in how BOM operates and how a festival will take advantage of new artists.


When creators are published through Buck Off Magazine, the rights to their pieces revert back to them after a period of time. This means that every piece of work featured in BOM has the potential to be used again.

For a real world example, consider the short story “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien (not to be confused with the book of short stories with the same title). The short story was original published in Esquire magazine before O’Brien re-used the story in his collective novel.

BOM works in the same principal – legal ownership of the work returns to creators for them to use however they see fit (and we want our creators to find success after BOM!).

But the same can not be said about festivals and non-profits that pay in “exposure.” Because a performance can’t be repeated or artwork re-obtained, the creator is left with nothing to be reused at a later time.

It’s a fine line, but the distinguish should be made.


There are benefits to publishing for free – it’s a start. Success does not come overnight. Sending work to a magazine that isn’t going to pay you doesn’t mean your career is over. It just means that it’s starting.

Another benefit to publishing for free is practice. Editors and agents expect a certain level of professionalism. And we at BOM also expect professional attitudes – we’re more than happy to tell you what needs to change.

Being a creator means working with the system – but not letting it use you. Publish a piece or two for free, just don’t let yourself expect nothing for your work. It’s a delicate balance.


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