I have gotten paid for exactly 10 articles that I’ve ever written. With the rise of the blogger and the decline of print media, a lot of writers are not able to make a living like they used to. I’ve been willing to write for just about anyone who holds a decent command of an audience. After writing for In Cold Blog, GodSwill and my personal site, I have plenty of experience and can work with a variety of people. However, sometimes hard work, agreeability and the ability to produce high-quality content is not enough to warrant an email response.
I first came across the Drag Official website when I was doing a Google search for something related to drag queens. I got the information that I needed, then saw there was a tab at the top of the screen calling for writers. I immediately clicked on it as I’m willing to write for anyone and anything in order to get my name out there. I filled out their little application and waited with excitement to see who would email me back.
A person signing their emails “Phil” got back to me in a few days. I told him of my ideas and how I would like to contribute and he sounded very receptive to all of my plans. I told him that I was going to be seeing Sharon Needles performing live and could do a review of her show. Also, that I wanted to write an article about life lessons that I learned from Drag Queens, as well as plenty other topics for content. He said that they all sounded great, so I got to work.
I started on my life lessons I learned from Drag Queens article first. I emailed Phil back and forth with edits. He wanted it a certain length, he didn’t want two quotes from the same queen, he wanted gifs, so on, so forth. I made all of the changes that he suggested. As for the live show, he wanted videos in addition to pictures. I had never been a big fan of videos, due to the fact that you can’t put them in scrapbooks, but he wanted videos, so that’s what I did.
I attended the show, got photos, videos, and more. I wrote the show review the next day and sent it in. The morning after Phil said that he got all of my materials and was delighted with them. He couldn’t want to publish them on the site. By that evening I received another email from him saying that they (not entirely sure who “they” were since I only dealt with Phil) decided not to publish the article since that is not the direction that they wanted to take the site in. Phil offered to post a link to the show review on my personal blog instead.
Originally, I had been annoyed that “they” had make this decision AFTER I did all of that work and made sure to do things that I usually don’t even do. But I moved on quickly. I put the show review up on my site and sent him a link to the page so he could promote it. Then I never heard back from anyone at Drag Official.
The link to my Sharon Needles show review was never posted on any Drag Oficial media. My Life Lessons article was never posted either. I emailed several times more and still never got any response from anyone. I even filled out their little writer application again. It’s been over 7 months now since I last had contact with them and I can only assume that they’re not interested in working with me anymore.
What really pisses me off about this situation is the total lack of respect for my time and effort. I wrote two articles, just for this website, edited them according to their wishes, and did things for an article that I don’t usually do, all for free. Then I was deemed unworthy to even get an email response back. Being a volunteer can be a thankless job, but when someone is offering to write content and promote your website, you’d think that someone just starting out would be more considerate of whatever a volunteer did. I offered my time for free, but I sure as hell thought that someone would recognize that I actually wanted to get something published.
I’m not sure how many other writers have been jerked around by Drag Official, but I’m going to guess that I was neither the first nor the last. Being a volunteer doesn’t mean that you’re disposable. Being willing to work on something for no money just shows your passion and interest in the subject matter. But when someone does something for you, without complaint and without expectation of repayment, it’s time to show them a little courtesy and appreciation. In the very least, if you decide to no longer work with someone on a project, you need to at least have the decency to be honest and direct with them.