WHAT THE HELL

Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Writing is like busking … or can be

This article about a San Francisco busker reminds me of my long-ago days of busking in the London Underground when I was a student. This guy says he averages about a hundred dollars a day, but I never came anywhere near that. On my best day I probably brought home five pounds in change, thanks to one bloke who tossed me a fifty pence piece to put me over the top. I bought some fish and chips with the cash on my way back to my garret.

One thing that makes the modern experience of busking different from what it was when I tried my hand at it is tipping by PayPal and Venmo. I don’t quite know how it’s done. I guess the buskers have a gizmo to attach to their phones, and the tippers wave their phones in front of it or something. I’m a luddite on that front.

But I do know that you can also tip writers by PayPal.

How do I know? Because I edit The Disappointed Housewife and I’ve set things up that way there.

In a way, writers for small lit mags are a lot like buskers. They’re putting themselves out there to share their talents, hoping that you’ll like what they do. They do it for free because small mags can’t pay anything, but they have other wares you might want to buy—ebooks, chapbooks, novels—and their bios will often have links to places where readers can buy those works.

At The Disappointed Housewife, most of the bios also have a PayPal address where you can kick the writers a couple of bucks if you really liked the piece.

I don’t know how many writers have received tips this way. It’s impossible to keep stats on it. But I do hope that, as the new year gets going and people start it with at least the intention to do things a little differently in 2020, more writers at The Housewife will be getting emails that say “You’ve just received money in your PayPal account!”

No amount is too small. It’s the gesture that counts.

Have a look at The Disappointed Housewife today and see if something tickles your fancy enough to toss fifty pence into a writer’s metaphorical guitar case.

2 comments on “Writing is like busking … or can be

  1. kingmidget
    December 26, 2019

    I’ve thought of developing a website where I would post my efforts and have a “pay what you want” type of link at the end of each piece. But then I’d have to attract an audience. That was actually willing to pay something. 😉

    • Kevin Brennan
      December 26, 2019

      Right. The hard part. All I know is that prying a dollar out of people’s hands for a perfectly nice work of art is almost impossible.

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This entry was posted on December 26, 2019 by in Writing and tagged , , , , , , , .
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