I decided to answer a few queries and let you in on a few truths today, because I’ve been asked or told a few things lately about not only the music industry but also about what I do as a writer and why I’m releasing photos of myself on Facebook and Twitter. The usual comments are:
1. I want your job
2. That’s my dream job, how do I do it?
3. You must make A TON of money, why did you need more work?
4. What’s the deal with the photos?
The misconception is that you make a lot of money. This is simply not true – sorry to burst anyone’s bubble. I do not make enough to live solely from writing. I have a part-time job as a journalist with Fairfax, which I’ve held for 6 years and the rest is freelance, which is never consistent, so I am lucky my mum hasn’t kicked me out of the house. I do a lot of freebies to help people, which is sometimes a thankless task and sometimes, there are sharks that will take advantage of you and eat you alive. Not to mention I’m one of very few females in this industry (name another female writer who writes music articles or for Rolling Stone, not so easy now, is it?).
Now, please don’t think I am complaining. I am not. I love what I do and I wouldn’t pursue it unless I had a love, passion and talent in it. And most of all, I love and understand music and musicians. I admire their talent and what they can do. I’ve experienced on many occasions the joy they bring – not only to me – but others as well, and the way they can bring people together with their music. I am also very aware I am living off someone else’s talent by writing about theirs. All this I understand. Also, in the music industry and the writing industry, you don’t get work at all unless you’re proven and can write succinctly and well and meet deadlines.So please don’t hashtag this as a #firstworldproblem…
What I wanted to share with you are some harsh realities I’ve been facing that has pushed me to market myself. Because being featured in the mags I write for is fantastic and I love it, but they don’t market me. I spend the time marketing the magazine because my article is in it; it’s not the other way round.
I just want to preface this with the fact that I am NOT having a go at the editors and magazines I contribute to, I love writing for them and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But I wanted to make you all aware of what’s it’s like on the inside.
The latest issue of Rolling Stone (with Thom Yorke of Radiohead on the cover) is about 80% US content, and our Australian editors writes a lot of the content, so it’s cut freelance income quite a bit. Even the article on Australia’s climate change crisis was done by an American writer whom Rolling Stone America flew over here to cover, then we get the story from the US instead of paying a writer who lives and works in Australia and has seen the climate change first hand.
Australian Penthouse is about 40 per cent freelance and favours Australian content, which is great. But they aren’t really concerned about the music articles, if you know what I mean. They also have an in-house team.
FHM also does a lot in-house. I get articles that I pitch, actively pursue and follow up. I do get to do in-depth stories but due to the lack of the freelance budget, there is really no consistent work for me.
Also, work is not always commissioned to me. I do have to work for it, ask my contacts, and pitch to editors. And there is no guarantee that once pitched, the editors will give you the story. They can take it and give it to someone else. Remember folks, there is no copyright on ideas. That has happened on more than one occasion to me. And also, even if you are a freelance contributor to a magazine, regular or consistent work is not a given. Your income can drop by say, $800 to $0 in the space of a month. Commissioning is not a regular gig any more.
So, after spending ages working on various projects for others (which I’ll tell you about how one fell through and that there are nasty people in this industry – the magazines I write for AREN’T evil, though, mind you), I decided it was time to do some PR of my own for myself. So here you are and here we are together. So my aim is get more work in the writing or music field with the photos and the release of articles. The best way is to have a gimmick and have fun, and do something you love. The photos are fun. With the release of the articles, I want you to be as excited as I am everyday about my work and about the people I am fortunate enough to interview.
So, we’re all in this together. Let me know your experiences, thoughts, feelings, anything really.