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Home: The Toast

Nicole Cliffe (The Toast): We’ve literally been in business two months now, so anything I say in terms of its prescriptive power is ridiculous because it’s like we’re those people in 1992 who are like, “Who wants to buy spatulas online?” Until we’re profitable, I don’t think what I have to say has much relevance to this conversation.

But we pay everybody. We’ve had two people do things for free. We didn’t ask, they offered. When we first started, we wanted to give everybody $100, but of course there’s no money, so that’s a bad idea. As a result, now we’re like “How about $50 or $25?” And people usually say yes, which is great. It’s also depressing because sometimes people say, “Yeah, that’s pretty good.” I’m like, that can’t possibly be good. But people will do it, because [other] people tend not to pay. Like Dan was saying, if it’s something that involved a lot of research, a longer piece, like over 1,500 words, we’re more likely to go $100. Ideally some day when we do have money, we’d like to pay people more than that. But we’ll wait until we’re in the black to make that decision.

Would you like to listen to Nicole Cliffe, Dan Kois, and Alexis Madrigal talk about paying writers with Scratch Mag? Of course you would. You’re a very smart person, and interested in our new economy. There are so many things you can learn from Nicole Cliffe, like how to work from home:

Cliffe: [My kid is] Twenty-one months. I do that work from home thing, right, where I’m hiding from her.

How to create an environment in which poetry flourishes:

Cliffe: I was saying that I love poetry, we have to have poetry on the site, interesting new poets! Great things! Nope, it’s a disaster. Don’t ever do that. Poetry’s a joke. It is. It doesn’t exist.

Does poetry exist? You be the judge.

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