The case of the Amazing Shrinking Fee

Discussion in 'Book, Magazine, Gallery Reviews, Shows & Contests' started by David H. Bebbington, Jun 21, 2007.

  1. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    For some time, I have found the UK magazine "Amateur Photographer" to be more entertaining than most and have from time to time written articles and submitted portofolios. These have been published at a rate of £50 an A4 page, which while not earth-shattering was acceptable to me and a way of getting a published by-line, as opposed to my "day job" where, for various reasons, my writing work goes out (every day) under other people's names.

    Recently I noted that AP had changed to paying £50 a PORTFOLIO (no matter how large), which I regarded as a definite turn for the worse. I now open this week's issue and find a feature entitled "gallery - five pages of genuine reader pictures". This features 11 pictures by six photographers - one picture is the "Editor's Choice" and the photographer concerned receives a payment of £50, the others get a tea mug with the logo "Amateur Photographer Love My Pictures". AP is obviously proud of this section, since it is the first major picture feature in the book and starts on page 11, and is no doubt extremely pleased at its cleverness in reducing the cost of 5 pages of readers' pictures from £250 a year or so ago to £52.50 (assuming 50 pence per tea mug) now.

    I regard this as a spectacularly brazen rip-off and will never send the mag anything ever again. Any views, any similar experiences with other publications?

    Regards,

    David
     
  2. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I agree. This occurred at the same time as Roger's weekly article on the back page was reduced to once every four weeks.

    I used to buy AP regularly every Tuesday morning on my way to work. Now I only buy it occasionally.


    Steve.
     
  3. SeamusARyan

    SeamusARyan Member

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    another UK based mag was even worse, no payment for images used plus I had to pay cover price for additional copies direct from them, not even wholesale price let alone free, nice mag with good reproduction hence not mentioning title just in case I ever want to have anything else in there

    I like the Lenswork model, you get paid along with a one year subscription

    enjoy and be well

    Seamus
    www.seamusryan.com
     
  4. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    I didn't notice that, but I did notice Roger's article not there every week. Well, that's what happens when you get a new person in the editorial seat. Changes will inevitably be made.
     
  5. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    An 80% cut in contributors' fees as "inevitable change"? I'm getting out of here!
     
  6. ben-s

    ben-s Member

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    I must admit I'm not so keen on the "new" AP.
    It's a pity Roger's been reduced, and also that Ivor Matanle's section has been somewhat decimated.
    I was rather looking forward to his article a couple of weeks ago on the Bronica SQ series - and when I got it, it was barely half the length of his previous articles.
    I always used to enjoy reading the "Maloney Live" features too. I think they were the last regular film-only articles in the magazine.

    I'm rather disgusted at the new contributor's fee model you point out.
    And "AP love my pictures"?????? then surely they should pay for them!?

    Not to mention that they have put the price up significantly in the last couple of years. They must be raking it in!
     
  7. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    I might not re-subscribe this year.
     
  8. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    I came to the conclusion sometime ago that there is insufficient financial reward in writing magazine articles; especially since I then find such income taxed at 41%.
     
  9. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Dave,

    I'd agree about the financial rewards being miserable, but how are you paying 41%?

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
  10. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    Because that's the rate here. 40% income tax and 1% extra national insurance.:sad:
     
  11. dsullivan

    dsullivan Member

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    That's on income over £34,000 though before people's heads start spinning, below that it's taxed at basic rate (22%) but anything on top of that would be taxed at the higher rate. It's certainly been a disincentive for my boss to do overtime.
     
  12. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    Please explain the concept of "overtime".:confused:

    By the way to the 22% you quote must be added 11% N.I. since it's also a compulsory tax.:sad:
     
  13. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    All this talk of taxation has made me feel quite ill. I shall go and bathe my face in fresh Rodinal to recover my composure.
     
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  15. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    Don't burn the bridge but do require 10 pounds more the next time around. If they complain, tell them how their saving so much money on the 5 page spread and your cost of living is going up. If they don't take you up on it, oh well. In the world of business things can change to your benefit later, especially if they hear to many complaints.
     
  16. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    Sounds like the free market at work, so I'm not sure "ripoff" is the right term. The editors have bet that they can pay this paltry--by your standards--amount to content providers, and still attract a quality of content sufficient to keep advertisers and subscribers happy and the magazine financially viable. The marketplace will pass judgment on this decision soon enough; if enough readers and advertisers agree with you, goodbye magazine.

    I expect that they'll be able to get all the portfolios they want at just about any price they're willing to pay. Those submitting portfolios obviously perceive some value to the exercise beyond the strictly monetary. Again, the free market at work.

    What's the trouble?
     
  17. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    By a bizarre coincidence, I find any income from photography is far exceeded by my level of expenditure on ABSOLUTELY VITAL AND ESSENTIAL pieces of equipment, thus pushing this side of my business into a tax loss. Am I doing something wrong? (Tax inspectors: Please do not bother to reply:wink: ).
     
  18. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    Oh blansky...

    What a golden opportunity missed :sad:

    Murray
     
  19. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Michael is off doing other things these days .... I heard from him a couple of weeks ago. I sure miss the guy.
     
  20. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    I miss his razor humour too. I contacted him a few months ago to make sure he was OK, and was happy to hear he was just too busy to drop in here and it wasn't health related.

    Murray
     
  21. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I met him in Toronto, he really is a very nice guy - much different than he came across on APUG sometimes.
     
  22. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    That can be probably be said for most of us!!!!!!!!!!

    Murray
     
  23. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Dave,

    I assume that by 'here' you mean the UK.

    First, you offset the expenses of writing (and shooting, and travel) against the article, so you're being paid (not much, it's true) to do the things that most people do as a hobby.

    Second, the tax rate doesn't start at 40%. There's a personal allowance (zero band) followed by at least two lower tax rates, if I recall aright. Many journalists never reach the 40% band (I should know...)

    So unless you have other income, or are doing very well indeed from your journalism, you don't pay 41%. When I left the UK I was paying between a thousand and two thousand a year in tax, which was not 41% of even my income.

    Or am I missing something?

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
  24. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    regarding AP reckonging they can still attract the right quality of contribution.....I think the standard has been falling for an awfully long time and only once in a blue moon do I buy it now. I also enjoyed Rogers Articles and once in a while as I pass thru UK airoports I have a look. Think the last one I bought was about a year ago....
     
  25. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I think that is a large part of the problem. It is now in a vicious circle rather than a virtuous one. Falling sales = cost cutting = poorer standard = falling sales etc.

    I cannot re-call AP trying to ask readers what they liked. So they are making changes "blind" or by the new editor's instinct which I suspect may not turn out to be sound.

    It must be difficult filling a mag every week and in fact they don't when you look at the amount of space taken up by more or less the same adverts, some of which you need a magnifying glass to read. I do wonder why they don't consider a slightly "meatier" fortnightly magazine instead.

    Readers then have something to look forward to and it is difficult to believe that if you are looking for gear then it is more frequently than once a fortnight or that if you had previously spotted a good source that you wouldn't then use the internet if the magazine wasn't published that week.

    pentaxuser
     
  26. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    I think that what I used to like about it was that although it was thinner, it had a 'maturity' about it compared to certain other mags, which hammered away at the same over filtered cliche stuff over and over again.

    It is not a case of forgetting ones own progression and growing out of a particular mag, as I have old copied (about 60-70) and they are fantastic, so I have kept them.

    Would be nice if AP could bring back some of the old magic....but it contains quite a bit of digital these days which may be essential to keep it going I suppose but cuts in half the amount of material I am interested in.

    The ads can be handy though as ebay does not cover everything!