Frequently Asked Questions
What does the name mean?
Ta Voix means ‘your voice’ in French. This initiative is all about letting young writers be heard, and empowering young editors to let their skill be recognised in the industry.
How much time would I have to contribute if I join as an editor or writer?
Generally, the ethic will be ‘volunteer as much/little as you can’, though there will be limitations to this. Generally, the editors will receive no more than 4-6 pages of creative writing, and will have 10 days to make creative/critical changes. Our writers then have the chance to change the works within a further 10 day period, or take the feedback and their pieces away with them to resubmit at a later date. We find that this timeframe allows our editors and writers to fit the work around their daily responsibilities, as the actual editorial process can take as little as 1-2 hours to do. Our editors can request more if they would like, but may also request a lesser load, or to opt out of a stage entirely. It’s completely up to our team, and we are always happy to negotiate compromises.
Part of the beauty of having such a large team is that the onus never falls solely on one editor. Typically, because we have more than one editor on each piece, if someone else drops out, there is always someone else to help out. If you’re swamped at any particular time we can rearrange tasks to lighten your load, or if you don’t think you’ll have time to work on a particular anthology, let us know; there’s no obligation to work on every volume. Our main aim is to stay as flexible as we can be with everyone, and work around any issues that arise.
If you’re against free labour and unpaid work experience, how come you don’t pay your contributors?
This was a very difficult decision to make, and not one we take lightly. We'd love to be able to pay our contributors, but it would mean we would have to be a lot more exclusive, introduce fees somewhere, and become massively less flexible, all of which go against the core mission of the initiative. We also urge people to remember that we are an initiative, not a publisher. Our platform is kind of an amalgamation of a Creative Writing Workshop (except with aspiring or professional editors offering the feedback), a university publication (except not exclusive to university students), and a literary magazine (except with an emphasis on those who are struggling to get their work out there).
While we admit that our stance could normalise the idea of unpaid internships, we hope that this differs in that the voluntary help of our contributors is not being exploited for financial gain. Everyone at Ta Voix has voluntarily signed up, and there are no obligations once you are part of the team. As it stands, we are currently at around 150 contributing writers and editors, with people from all backgrounds, genders, races, and abilities. We could not ever sustain this many contributors if we offered financial compensation, and if we cut our team down, we’d be no different than any other online lit mag.
At the end of the day, this is not so much about the content we put out, but the experiences that our contributors earn in the process. The anthology is the testament to our volunteers’ skills, but it is not at the heart of the project.
How do you differ from other platforms for young publishers or writers?
Other organisations which are aimed at giving people a leg up into the publishing industry often have yearly membership fees, you have to pay to read the works, or there are contracted hours, all of which make the initiative less accessible. Of course, by paying membership, you receive benefits such as free webinars, access to job boards, or the opportunity to volunteer for a more recognised body, and we in no way discredit their importance.
How do you differ from a traditional work experience placement?
Where we take issue with work experience placements or internships is that they give the illusion of inclusivity. They are sometimes paid, they offer us invaluable skills, and there is emphasis on BAME candidates in some instances, for example, Penguin Random House’s ‘The Scheme’. However, this does not take into account that accepting an offer might not be achievable for full-time workers, and socio-economically disadvantaged candidates.
Placements of one to two weeks require taking paid time off, which can quickly gobble up holiday allowances which could be used for actual holidays, childcare, visiting family, etc. Additionally, longer term placements of around 3-6 months do not always guarantee a job in the industry, and leaving the safety and stability of a full-time job is a risky career move, one that only the privileged can afford to take. There is also the added hurdle of most placements being London-based, which incurs additional travel-fees for those who cannot afford London rent. It can even rule it out as an option for those further flung.
At Ta Voix, our entire team is remote, therefore not London-centric. Our timeframes are devised with the volunteer in mind, giving our volunteers lots of wiggle-room to fit around their work or school schedules. Additionally, the volunteers can volunteer as much or as little as they want, and opt in and out of anthologies as it suits them. We hope that this allows those who ordinarily cannot take time off work, travel, or afford to take up placements, to get editorial experience or genuine, constructive feedback in their own time.
Are you a charity?
We believe our initiative falls under the category of an ‘unincorporated association’, as we are a voluntary body that exclusively benefits members (as opposed to a charity, which seeks to benefit a wider population or cause).
Is the anthology free to read?
The anthology will be free to read. Right now, we’re planning to release it them as .pdf downloads, but we may change this to be displayed as a kind of eBook on the website itself. There are currently no plans to introduce any costs, considering the main goal is to offer experience to those who are struggling to find it elsewhere. If we did introduce fees, they would be voluntary contributions rather than compulsory, and the funds would be reinvested into things like domain costs and account fees. However, it’s important to us that the work remains accessible, and introducing fees while not paying our contributors could risk being exploitative.
Are there themes for the anthologies?
Right now, since we are still in the start-up stages, we are accepting any and all themes to maximise our reach, so long as they vaguely align with our submission guidelines. We may begin to thematise the anthologies as the initiative grows, both to introduce a coherence, and potentially to narrow the scope in each submission period to limit the amount of texts we get.
Will there be the chance to network?
Since most of our contributors are aspiring editors with few industry connections, we can understand why this is important. However, this also makes this difficult to achieve. For now, our LinkedIn company page is a good place to meet and connect with other contributors, but we’d also suggest the Facebook page Publishing Hopefuls for networking with other aspiring professionals, the SYP for networking opportunities with industry professionals, and #writerscommunity on Twitter, for great opportunities to network and publicise.
We may, however, look into making a website feature that enables writers and editors to negotiate and work independently, or shift our current method to allow for more independence for our contributors. However, this will be as time allows, and depending on the growth of the initiative.