“A writer is working when he’s staring out the window.”
Burton Rascoe

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This is something I do not look forward to, but I cannot say I’m surprised. Duotrope — the database I, and many others, use to find markets to submit our works to — has just recently released news that it will be charging a subscription fee beginning January 1. You can read the full announcement here.

I say I’m not surprised because, when I was using Duotrope multiple times a month, they would have a gauge which showed how much they required to make their monetary monthly goal in order to keep the site running free for its members. It’s sad to say, but they would not meet their goal a lot of the time. Evidently it’s caught up and they are now requiring a subscription fee. $5 for one month or $50 for a year.

People have mixed feelings about it, saying they shouldn’t charge and how $50 annually is too much. I can see that dishing out $50 in one shot can be hard for some people, but $5 a month is totally doable. Especially since you can subscribe one month and not the next. According to their announcement, all of your information will be saved. I know not everyone will use Duotrope every month — myself included — to justify paying the $50 annual fee. But Duotrope has been a wonderful resource to me. It still is. It’s practically the only market listing I use.

Yes, there are other listings out there that remain free, but — for me — Duotrope is a one-stop shop. I can search through what looks to be an endless market listing and keep track of where my submissions are and how long they’ve been out. Search by pay rate, genre, sub-genre. See how long submissions usually are held. It’s helped me out a lot and saved me loads of time.

I am not saying that it’s for everyone, because some people can make their own spreadsheets and search listings on their own, and some will probably begin to do that now. But it would be nice if everyone understood Duotrope’s position. For years they’ve let their resources be free, welcoming donations. Many people have donated, but apparently not enough. Am I ecstatic they’re going to start charging? No, but if they think it best they should begin a paid subscription, what am I going to do? They are still an excellent site that is worth giving money to (and I have in the past). But I’ve seen how many times they’ve come up short on donations, and that never made me happy. Could the annual fee be cheaper? Absolutely. But I’m thankful they kept it free for this long.

I’m thankful they also put a monthly subscription option because recently I’ve used it in seasons as opposed to monthly. I’m well aware that you can get an annual subscription to a writing magazine cheaper than Duotrope’s annual cost, but I don’t think $50 is outlandish. But especially if you use it a lot, $50 a year translates to a little over $4 a month. And that translates to a little over $1 a week.

People will either pay or they won’t pay. Some people will have no problem paying the annual fee. Some will find it easier to spend $5 a month; or maybe every other month. Some will require their money to go elsewhere altogether. Some people may not feel inclined to pay for a resource at all. It’s all okay! But it would be nice to hear people (and there are some!) just appreciate the good season that they had with Duotrope and the benefits it offered. If their time with Duotrope is done, bid farewell, but do it respectfully. And when you come to a place where you can give funds towards it for the annual subscription (if you so choose to), it’ll be an awesome reunion.

Let’s just remember we are all part of the same community — the writing community.

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