Duotrope to Begin Charging Fee

Starting Jan. 1, 2013, Duotrope will make most of its information available to paid subscribers only. I understand why they need to do this, but I’m bummed. I’ve found the site to be a valuable source of practical market information – the average response time feature, especially. The search filters have been pretty awesome for me, too. I’ve sent a donation or two to help keep them running, but not much, to be honest.

It’s the age-old quandary for the spare-time writer who would like to get somewhere with the art, but is inching along. How do you justify to yourself and your family the time you devote to this activity, if you’re spending a lot more money than you’re bringing in? Duotrope’s fees look reasonable. $5/month. But honestly, I’ve never made more than $120 in a single year with my writing. I want to support them, but can I afford to?

I can’t remember the number of times I’ve read articles telling me I have to attend conferences if I want to get my writing noticed. Or enroll in an expensive writing program. Or…do something that costs a lot of money. Who can afford that? I also see a lot of people for whom writing is an expensive hobby. If they’re happy, that’s fine. If my writing time turns out not to be much more than a hobby, that’s fine, too. I have a day job. But an expensive hobby is out of the question. I’m not poor, by any means. I have everything I need and more. But I’m also not in that small percentage of the population who don’t have to budget so much. And I’m frugal by nature.

I completely support this move by Duotrope. I believe it’s a good value. It still doesn’t mean I can pull the money from my budget at this time. Ah well, I will thank them for the years they’ve given me and be grateful for that. And maybe, if things change slightly for me, maybe I’ll be able to subscribe eventually.