It's a crushing realization to face. Most folk who write the cheques for creative talent projects are blind to quality. Whether unable due to genetic damage or because they're wearing heavy blindfolds of dollar bills, they cannot differentiate between schlock and skill.
Today, I can only cite the example of self-publishers who are as pleased as puppies with the book cover they've created, using the tools provided in their word processing software and images scrounged/stolen off the web. An actual artist could create a more pleasing image by accidentally mashing a dog turd flat under his shoe…but artists cost MONEY.
And then…I spin once around in my chair and I’m wearing just such a blindfold.
I’ve spoken to professional editors. One in particular is a friend and gave me his most cut-rate chum discount. He’s charging the industry-guild standard and I can’t afford it, even discounted. I can’t afford the lowest level of service, a thorough proofing for typos, grammar and general structure. The next level involving plot and coherency and tone…might as well ask me for a kidney.
Luckily, for that “typo level”, I have a squad of amateur folk who are skilled enough in such matters that they could go Pro, if so inclined. For the higher, foggier, realm of structure, it is pretty much down to me trying to be objective. I get enough positive feedback from fellow writers and layfolk to be confident I’m offering something well above a mashed dog turd, but I can’t help but gnaw my lip a bit.
How about you? Have you snarled in frustration at being under-appreciated and underfunded for your creative talent? Have you saved a buck by trying to be creative all on your own?