My partner reminded me of a time when writers got paid by the line or the word. Maybe that was a better time. Maybe it sucked even worse than today. But in any event, it made me think of a short story by the great Ring Lardner called "The Mayville Minstrel."
In this story a small town sap is convinced by a wiseguy traveling salesman that his poetry is Whitman-esq. And that there are magazines in New York that will pay $2 for a line of poetry.
So the small town sap writes these lines:
"The Erie-Lackawanna, where does it go?
From Jersey City to Buffalo."
Brilliant, says the salesman and good for a quick $4.
But write it differently and you can make even more money. A la:
Where does it go?
From Jersey City
That's good for $8.
No real advertising point today.
Though it is nice fantasizing about getting paid per line.
Or even being valued for what you do.