I opened my mailbox this evening and inside was the first check I have ever received for my writing. Let’s just say I won’t be retiring anytime soon. It was a cool $75 for a series of four articles I wrote for a forthcoming woman’s history encyclopedia. That would be $75 combined for the set, not $75 multiplied by four. I dare not compute what it comes out to by word count. In all seriousness, we don’t do these things for the money, which is a gesture more than anything else. A few weeks I turned down even the token sum offered by a different publisher because it was a state library organization that I figured could better use the funds they offered for the two articles I wrote for them. (You can read them here and here.) It is all part of my effort to establish myself in the profession. Writing these six encyclopedia articles (average length=1,000 words) has taught me a great deal about not just the subjects, but about the publishing industry and process as well. I feel I am getting there.
Also in the mail was the Summer 2011 issue of New York History, the mouthpiece of the New York State Historical Association, which I joined last month. I have always been fascinated with the history of New York City, even before moving here in 1997. Now I am finding myself increasingly interested in the state as a whole. I am trying to become more active statewide. Joining NYSHA, and the National Council on Public History, which I did at the same time, seemed like good ways to do that.