Posted By Sandra Alland

I have some beefs about the treatment of artists by editors, organisers, and ahem, other artists. No one's perfect, but if you're still doing this shite after years at the job, it's time to rethink your tactics.

1. Advice for Event Organisers

Planning an event is no easy feat. We can't always afford to pay the big bucks, especially after renting a venue, printing posters and facing the uncertainty of an audience. But here's a few ideas for next time you host something...

a/We don't ask the kitchen staff to volunteer, why do we ask artists? If you're charging money at the door, you damn well better pay your artists something. At the very least pay them a split of the door (if you think you can't afford it then find a free venue so you can). If a split of the door is less than 10 quid, don't pay yourself.

b/Don't guilt poor artists into performing for free for the "love" of it.

c/If you're charging not only the audience but also the poets competing in your poetry slam, there damn well better be hefty cash prizes. Shit from the Pound Shop and a cheaply engraved plaque do not count.

d/If you're going to pay your artists in drinks, don't. Pay them whatever drinks would cost. Many people don't drink, or at least not when they're onstage. And as the wonderful Naila Keleta Mae says, "Try paying your landlord with a bottle of Colt 40."

e/Don't say you're going to pay a "fee", then pay 10 quid between 3 artists who have travelled from another city. £50 is the lowest amount that can qualify as a real fee. £3.33 is not a fee.

f/Don't ask people to perform for free and then tell them their friends cannot take their photo or video but that you will take their photo and video to use as you want to promote further shows of your own.

g/Don't discuss the order of events in front of an artist in terms of when is a crap time to "go" (i.e. 2nd in a line-up of 6) then tell that person a few minutes later that they'll be reading 2nd "because it's great to follow the first act with a high-energy performer".

h/Don't tell an artist they have 30 minutes, then cut them to 15 a day before the show, then 8 right before they go on. Also, don't tell artists they have 8 minutes, then read your own work for 30.

2. Advice for Publishers

If you publish a magazine or journal, you'll have to reject people. Writers and visual artists are generally quite used to it, so don't panic. However, certain behaviours annoy even the thickest-skinned among us...

a/Don't advertise your editorial services when rejecting someone.

b/Don't ask the person you rejected to become a subscriber and don't automatically add them to your mailing lists.

c/Don't send form letters to people you know, or at the very least add a personal yet professional touch. Especially don't ask someone you know to send more work then send them the same form letter again.

d/Inform people directly if you're rejecting them. Don't send them a link to a page that has the names of the people who've been accepted; it's kinda like having to go to the list on the wall in high school to see if you made the team or got the part. It encourages nasty feelings... You know who you are.


 
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