Congratulations on Your Raise!

Discussion in 'General Writing Discussion' started by J-Sun, Nov 27, 2013.

  1.  
    J-Sun

    J-Sun Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2008
    Messages:
    2,884
    Break out the champagne and go buy that yacht! SFWA Raises Qualification Standard Payment Rates for Short Fiction

    Um. I think Asimov's paid 5.75 cents a word in the mid-80s (and, thus, I'm sure Analog did, too). And Analog and Asimov's had already just raised their rates from "6-8 cents per word to 7-9" (way to keep up with inflation/the cost of living). So who exactly does this compel to raise their rates and by how much? Do FSF and Interzone and other major markets not already meet 6 cents? Either way, minimum wage in the US rises like molasses being blown up through a straw and the rate of the rise of payment for SF stories is lagging a few light years behind that.

    But I suppose it's better than not doing it at all. And given how the magazines are barely surviving, you could hardly raise it to a quarter a word or anything. But it doesn't take much to figure out why the focus in the market is on novels.

    What do folks think?

    (Note to mods: this should most strictly go in the magazine subforum but I thought it was also relevant here and might get more eyeballs. But feel free to move (not that you wouldn't anyway ;)).)
  2.  
    BetaWolf

    BetaWolf Keith A. Manuel

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Messages:
    528
    I was looking into publishing some short stories before committing to writing novels, but it seems that many of the online SF writing communities are focused on e-book publishing longer form fiction.

    The old mainstays like Asimov's are joined by newer online-only markets like Daily Science Fiction. But how much is the short story off to the wayside?

    I know this isn't precisely the point of the thread, so I'm sorry if I'm derailing things. :)
  3.  
    Mr Orange

    Mr Orange New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Messages:
    392
    at the threat of derailing the thread even more (but betawolf started it, honest!), is there a market / is there any point in trying to write short stories and get them published?

    also, for us not in the states, are there difficuulties in submitting to the US mag's?
  4.  
    Mouse

    Mouse roar

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2006
    Messages:
    8,584
    I guess it's about time rates for short stories were raised, really. Makes sense. Maybe I should ask the mags I write for to up my pay...

    Yes. There's a pretty big market - it gets your name out there and for myself, I've earned more money from short stories than anything else.

    But, I've been quite lucky in that I've managed to get myself commissioned by a couple of mags. It means I have to write what they want, and not what I want, but I get paid so can't complain!

    I've currently got 9 stories to write for one publisher, and 11 to write for someone else. These are thousand word stories only, and I get 3 cents a word. (There is leeway - I'm allowed to be over/under word count).

    No.
  5.  
    BetaWolf

    BetaWolf Keith A. Manuel

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Messages:
    528
    That's great, Mouse. It's good to have a steady gig. :)
  6.  
    Mouse

    Mouse roar

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2006
    Messages:
    8,584
    Ta. I'm very lucky really.
  7.  
    Nerds_feather

    Nerds_feather Purveyor of Nerdliness

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2012
    Messages:
    1,720
    The whole "professional rate" thing is a bit of a mirage, as no one can live on $0.06/word. Say the average story is 4,000 words, that translates to $240/story. So you'd have to sell 64 stories/year to get the equivalent of yearly income working full time at minimum wage ($.7.70/hour in the US).

    If you publish short stories, you do it primarily: a) out of love; b) to get your name out there; c) to join SFWA.
  8.  
    J-Sun

    J-Sun Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2008
    Messages:
    2,884
    Yeah, the "professional rate" is not so much to establish that an author can live on it (because, after all, nobody's guaranteed to sell any specific number of stories whatever the rate) but to separate the amateur fly-by-night payment on lawsuit kinds of places from "respectable" professional markets.

    Re: the whys and markets of it, as mouse hints, Asimov's and Analog (and presumably most everybody else) accept digital submissions so there's not even a postage/time barrier and the short fiction markets get your name in print, get you Nebula and Hugo awards in three categories (not to mention Sturgeon awards and others), and get you into the various "Year's Best" anthologies and others and, in either the mags or anthologies, I'll read you and, if impressed, will buy your books. If not, word of mouth might happen to get me to take a chance on you but it's much less likely. Besides which, short fiction is a great art form and you can craft something that quickly and fully exploits an idea without having to devote months of time padding out a thousand page doorstop. ;)

    Seriously - short fiction isn't as big a theater as novel writing these days but it's still a living and important form and certainly opens all kinds of doors even if you don't take it as an end in itself. And, regarding writing only stories, payment per story won't get you rich but they can turn into royalties on anthologies and turn into collections and can keep earning money for decades. A really prolific and successful author can make a go of it after awhile and, even as a novelist, a flow of short fiction sales will help make you a less desperate novelist.

    Oh, and as far as the on/off-topicness, I don't much care - I was curious about folks' reactions to the specific news but a conversation on short fiction generally, and making a living and so on, is all good, too.
  9.  
    ZombieWife

    ZombieWife all hail zombiecat!

    Joined:
    May 6, 2013
    Messages:
    210
    I find it discouraging simply because print journals are going more the way of the dodo here in the US and paying markets seem to be dwindling. But maybe I'm wrong? I haven't done much with the short pieces in genre (though had a few published in literary magazines).

    I guess if I qualify someday for membership, so be it, but if not, it certainly won't deter me from pursuing my dream.
  10.  
    Nerds_feather

    Nerds_feather Purveyor of Nerdliness

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2012
    Messages:
    1,720
    Agree. I actually read a lot of short fiction, though this year it's been less than in 2012 or 2011. I'll probably have to catch up via the Strahan and Horton Best of books.
  11.  
    J-Sun

    J-Sun Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2008
    Messages:
    2,884
    Now I'm definitely going off topic - but no Dozois?
  12.  
    jastius

    jastius fairies come at dawn

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2013
    Messages:
    1,019
    flat iron is paying three cents a word for 1500 to 3000 words.. thats forty five dollars to ninety dollars a story.
    in fact here is a whole list of submission places for stories.. if you submit to all of them and get paid you might be able to afford a monthly transit pass with all the paychecks.. maybe. most of them pay around twenty bucks for a story.

    http://www.newpages.com/classifieds/calls/

    (springs could probably pay the electric bill)
  13.  
    Nerds_feather

    Nerds_feather Purveyor of Nerdliness

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2012
    Messages:
    1,720
    I don't have time to do all three anymore, and I've found that I consistently read more of the other two. Part of that is how they curate their volumes--Jonathan is my favorite overall, and the most consistent, but Horton sometimes picks stories with a literary bent that the other two neglect. And part of it is that Dozois uses a small font so he can pack more content in, which is cool, but the small font hurts my eyes.

    Dozois is also, I think, still very "big 3" oriented. That's fine, but these days I tilt towards the bigger ezines, like Clarkesworld, Lightspeed and BCS.
  14.  
    J-Sun

    J-Sun Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2008
    Messages:
    2,884
    There's the Hartwell, too, so four (or two and two halves would make three). As far as the big three (I guess you mean Asimov's/Analog/F&SF), in Dozois' latest he actually only picked five from Asimov's and just one each from Analog and F&SF, while he got three from Eclipse Online, two from Lightspeed and one from Clarkesworld. I'm guessing BCS is "Beneath Ceaseless Skies" and he didn't take any from there but I gather they're not SF. And that leaves about 17 from various other sources. I wish he was a little more big three oriented, myself. :)

    Anyway - makes sense - not being immortal (and generally not rich), we all have to pick some things for some reason.

    This got me to thinking about annuals but that would take this even further off-topic so I made a new thread. One of the questions I was going to ask was how much fantasy vs. SF there was in the Horton and Strahan since they have SF & F in both their titles and - not that I don't like some fantasy, but I have to make choices, too - I avoid them because when I want an SF annual, I want an SF annual.
  15.  
    Nerds_feather

    Nerds_feather Purveyor of Nerdliness

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2012
    Messages:
    1,720
    There's a good deal of fantasy in both Strahan and Horton, probably only 40%. But it tends to be very good fantasy, and about half of that is fantasy of the Ken Liu rather than George R. R. Martin variety.
  16.  
    J-Sun

    J-Sun Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2008
    Messages:
    2,884
    Yeah, that's about what I figured. Thanks for the information/confirmation.
  17.  
    Nerds_feather

    Nerds_feather Purveyor of Nerdliness

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2012
    Messages:
    1,720
    If you decided to read one of them, knowing your tastes, I suspect you'd prefer Strahan over Horton--in both SF and F, Horton tends towards the less easily categorized. Consequently, he doesn't pick a lot of hard SF.
  18.  
    J-Sun

    J-Sun Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2008
    Messages:
    2,884
    Thanks for that. :) Now that you mention it, I suspect you're right but it hadn't occurred to me. When it comes to the non-SF "fantastic" I do sort of like the hard-to-categorize off-beat stuff so maybe either would suit but I think Strahan would be the better for me overall.
Similar Threads: Congratulations Raise
Forum Title Date
World affairs Congratulations on the success of your rebellion! Jul 4, 2013
Sport Congratulations Scotland Apr 13, 2009
Sport Congratulations Lewis Hamilton Nov 2, 2008
Stargate Conventions Congratulations to Michael and Lexa! Sep 15, 2004
Stargate General Discussions Congratulations, Michael and Lexa! Sep 15, 2004

Share This Page