A notice for some of you small anthology publishers out there. (And I stress some, since many of you are not guilty of this–and rest assured, you’re appreciated.)
I find it funny that you never seem to ask your layout people, or your printers, or your cover artists, to do the work for free up-front, in exchange for a tiny percentage on the back end and "professional exposure." You don’t, because none of them would do it, and because it’s damn insulting.
So why do you think it’s okay to ask the writers–who are, arguably, the only ones without whom a book cannot exist–to do it? Why do you think it’s okay to ask us to contribute our hard work in exchange for nothing up-front (or literally a fraction of a cent per word, which is no better), and expect us to be grateful for the "opportunity"?
You don’t have to pay a lot. You don’t even have to pay professional rates. But you have to pay something. If you can’t afford to pay your authors, you can’t afford to publish an anthology.