Fun Stuff for the Holidays

We have book bundles.  And toys.  They are glorious.  And if you order them today or tomorrow, they’ll arrive by Christmas.  Or Kwanzaa.  Or the start of Hanukkah.

FUN TOYS

From Ink and Daggers Illustration, BUTTONS.  I’ll be ordering an “Ask Me About My Conversion Therapy” as a stocking stuffer for myself.  “Respect the Stim” and “Vaccines Made Me Gay” also available.

BOOK BUNDLES

For Autistic Activists, friends with new diagnoses in the family, professionals who “work with” autistic people, and anyone else who needs to be In the Know:

  • The ABCs of Autism Acceptance, by Sparrow Rose Jones
  • Typed Words, Loud Voices, edited by Amy Sequenzia and Ibby Grace
  • The Real Experts, edited by Michelle Sutton

Anticipating the release of Spoon Knife 2: Test Chamber?  Want to know what this “Neuroqueer” revolution in literature is all about?  Just want to read some dang good spec fic?  You need the NeuroQueer Horizons bundle:

  • The Spoon Knife Anthology, edited by Michael S. Monje Jr. and N.I. Nicholson.  (I have a piece in this one as well!)
  • Imaginary Friends, by Michael S. Monje Jr.
  • Mirror Project, by Michael S. Monje Jr.

(PS: Mirror Project will be re-released soon with a new title, so if you’re into collectibles, get your “first edition” copy while you can!)

Michael S. Monje Jr.’s Shaping Clay series follows the life and mishaps of Clay Dillon through an epic thirty volumes, the first three of which are in print.  While you can read Shaping Clay: The Elementary Trilogy in any order, I recommend the order listed here:

  • Defiant (nominated for the Lambda Literary Award!)
  • Nothing is Right
  • Imaginary Friends

(Nothing is Right is also slated for re-release with a new cover, which will also make this edition a collectible.  Get yours while you can.)

(Want to find out what happens next in the Shaping Clay series before your friends do?  Subscribe to the author’s Patreon!)

Love poetry?  We have a NeuroQueer Poetry Bundle:

  • Barking Sycamores: Year One, edited by V. Solomon Maday and N.I. Nicholson
  • Teaching Languagings to: Nonverbal Thinkers: The US Book, by Michael Scott Monje Jr. (I wrote the Afterword!)
  • Adrift in a Sea of M&Ms, Marcel Price, aka “Fable the Poet”

And, last but not least….

SOME SPARE CASH FOR YOU

Finally, whether or not you order by December 20th, you can save 20 percent (and learn all the latest news about our cool stuff) by signing up for our newsletter.

Autism, Satire, and More: Join My Patreon

 

In 2009, I started writing marketing copy for a living.  It pays the bills, but it’s not all that exciting to write, and it certainly doesn’t captivate, inspire, or entertain the way my decades of non-paid fiction, satire, and short stories have.

Eight years in, I’ve decided it’s time for a change.  It’s time for me to be able to produce more of the stuff you love to write.

That’s why I’m now on Patreon:

http://www.patreon.com/danialexis

I call it the Practical Joke Universe – a place where I can produce science fiction and other flights of fancy, hone the delicious satire you’ve seen here and at Field Notes on Allistics, and share writing advice and commentary on a wide range of topics.

And you’re invited.

What do you get out of it?  By supporting my Patreon at any level – even $1 per month – you get access to all the members-only content.  Kick in more and you get special content and even some AutPress swag.

What do I get out of it?  Another brick in the wall of my eventual getting to write fiction and blog full-time.  We’ll be moving this blog to the Neurodiversity Matters network in a few months; my first science fiction novel, Nantais, comes out in 2017. The  more support I get, the more time I can spend updating this blog regularly and producing more of the stuff y’all actually want to read, instead of marketing crap y’all would rather avoid.

This blog, as well as my professional blog, will keep rolling ahead as usual – which is to say, they’ll be updated when I feel like I have something to say.  But if you want to see more than just autism commentary, and you want to see it more regularly, head over to Patreon.  I’ll see you there!

Fun With the Search Terms, Part II: More Fun With the Search Terms Than Part I Was

Periodically, I go through this blog’s list of search terms people use to get here, and respond to them as if they are questions searchers asked me personally instead of, y’know, Google.  Here are the newest ones on the list.

gay women with autism

There are a lot of them!  Also a lot of bisexual women with autism!  I am one of them!  But I am also married and monogamous so if this was a dating request I am sorry about that.

gwendolyn kansen cure

Oh no!  Is she sick?

neurodiversity advocates

*waves*

academic list for auisism

I’m not entirely sure what prompted this one.  Does the searcher need a reading list?  A lesson plan for an autistic (excuse me, “auisistic”) kid? A list of autistic professors?

I can probably produce all three, but not on what I’ve got here.

men do not do emotional labor

…Well.  They do some, unless they live alone in a cave (and they might even do some then; Tom Hanks was real kind to that volleyball in Castaway).  Some men do more emotional labor than others.

At the societal/cultural level, however, the bulk of the emotional labor falls to women in most cases, yes.

are there any autism publications that pay for submissions?

You want the “upcoming anthologies” announcements at Autonomous Press.

was lewis carroll autistic

No.  Yes!  Maybe?  IDK, diagnosing people who have been dead for centuries has always been a dicey proposition.  He might have just been really, really addled from all the formaldehyde and calomel in his diet.

Radio Silence: More on the Ethics of Pay and Publication in Disability Writing

A couple times a month, I get unsolicited* correspondence from someone who wants one of two things:

  • for me to guest post on their blog or Web site, or
  • to republish something I’ve already posted here on their blog or Web site.

I have never responded to these requests, but not because I have any policy against responding to cold calls.  Rather, I have never responded to any of them because every single one has left out a vital component: compensation.

Sometimes they fail to mention compensation altogether.  More often, they offer me “exposure” instead.

I’ve written before about the serious ethical problem involved in not paying writers, particularly when those writers are disabled and particularly when the non-paying outlet claims to champion disability-related causes.  At that second link, I specifically addressed problems with The Mighty’s model of soliciting unpaid labor from disabled writers, making money on ad revenues generated from that content and from investors using the site’s presence and reach supported by that content, and offering to donate any writer’s compensation to charity rather than simply paying the writer.

This was enough for me to speak up against The Mighty.  But The Mighty, at least, stops at asking for free labor.  The Mighty does not, as far as I know, go around copying other writers’ work without their knowledge or permission, posting that work to its own site, and making money off it.

Some outlets do.

Late last night, I got a Facebook message from a friend asking whether I had ever given permission to an Australian site called My Disability Matters or its adminstrator, Dale Reardon, to republish any of my work.

The answer is no.  Except for a handful of outlets I personally selected and approached about guest posting or sharing content, including Misandry Angie and The Ed Wiley Autism Acceptance Lending Library, I’ve never authorized anyone to republish my work.  When I do reach out to others about republishing my work, I choose them carefully: either these platforms can afford to pay me, or they understand that I’m offering them something of value, and they’re willing to offer their professional assistance in return.

The name of the site, its admin, and the fact that it was based in Australia caught my attention, though.  It did all sound familiar.  So I went looking in my messages.

Turns out Dale Reardon did contact me about publishing on My Disability Matters, by leaving a comment on my March 2016 post on eye contact.  In it, he states that he “was wondering if it might be okay to republish this article and any other relevant ones on our website, with appropriate credit and a link back of course.”  In exchange, I would get the site’s “help [to] spread your work and gain a wider audience for you.”

In other words, exposure.  In other words, nothing.**

Not only did I not respond to this comment, I never let it out of the moderation queue.  I view all requests for my unpaid labor as demands for unpaid emotional labor, so I treat them exactly the same way I treat all other demands for emotional labor I deem unreasonable: I ignore them.

I never said yes or anything that could have been reasonably understood to be a yes.  To put it in contract-law terms, Mr. Reardon made an offer; I did not accept; there was no meeting of the minds, and thus no deal to put my work on My Disability Matters.

Usually, when I don’t respond to unsolicited demands for my unpaid labor, that’s the end of it.  Most people understand that radio silence is a “no,” not a “yes.”

So imagine my surprise when, after my friend’s query, I searched the My Disability Matters site to find that well over half of my piece on identity-first versus person-first language had been excerpted there [pdf], either the same day or the day after I had posted it here.

My Disability Matters makes money off the work it publishes, as is explained on its About page.  The About page does mention a long-term goal of employing disabled people (other than the site’s founder, one presumes) and of reinvesting some of the profits back into the disability community.

It does not, however, mention paying writers.

In other words, the site was using work I had not given permission to be used, and keeping the money it generated, without ever mentioning to me either that my work was being used or that the site intended to keep the money my work generated.

Oh, and it got the name of this blog wrong.

My search for “autistic academic” on the My Disability Matters site turned up two entries.  One was for the aforementioned post.  The other was for a listing on the site map.

The site map, as it turned out, lists every “source” of the site’s articles, including several dozen I recognized – and several that are written by people whom I know share my (dim) view of exploiting writers in general and disabled writers in particular.  When I asked the ones I know personally about their involvement in or knowledge of My Disability Matters, they were as baffled as I was when my friend first asked me last night.

In other words, it’s not just me.  My Disability Matters is exploiting several of us.

I’ve written before, in my comments on The Mighty***, how traditional excuses like “but startup costs!” or “but business model!” don’t fly as reasons not to pay writers.  I’ve been a freelance writer for nearly a decade now.  I’m currently the Legal Coordinator at Autonomous Press and the editor of the forthcoming anthology Spoon Knife 2: Test Chamber from NeuroQueer Books – an anthology series that pays its writers.

I understand the costs of the writing and publishing professions.  I face those costs every time I try to publish my own work, every time I negotiate with my clients to be paid what my own work is worth, and every time I negotiate with potential AutPress writers to ensure we pay them what their work is worth.  I started blogging for pay back when Merriam-Webster was still debating whether “blog” should be added to their dictionary.  I’m a partner in a company that has compensated every one of its writers to date (with cash, copies of anthologies, or both).  “But startup!” is never an excuse for not compensating writers – at the very least, with a share of the ad revenue generated by their work.

And even if it was, it’s no excuse to copy-paste substantial portions of their writing onto your own site without their knowledge or permission in order to generate that ad revenue.

This is exploitation of disabled writers, and it needs to stop.  We get exploited enough by the rest of the world.  Don’t do it to one another.


*by definition, because I don’t solicit them

 

**The rule of thumb for measuring the value of “exposure” is this:  Any site with a sufficently high profile to offer you worthwhile exposure can afford to pay you.  That kind of high profile is worth money.  If The Huffington Post were to go up for sale tomorrow, its price tag would be in the millions, and a substantial chunk of that price would be based on its name recognition alone.

If the site claims they can’t afford to pay you?  They’re not big enough to give you worthwhile exposure.  You can get the same exposure by hustling your own brand.

That is, if you care about exposure at all.  What every one of these unsolicted requests for my unpaid labor has failed to understand is that I don’t.  I’m a professional writer.  Have been for years.  I’m exposed.  Offering me “exposure” instead of pay just tells me you haven’t bothered to learn who you’re talking to.

 

***published three months before Dale Reardon first contacted me, so it’s not like he didn’t have an opportunity to understand my position