Supporting Professional Payment Rates in Science Fiction and Fantasy Short Fiction Markets

Current cover art for Beneath Ceaseless Skies

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America sets the minimum payment rates for professional short fiction markets. In September, this rate rises from 6 cents per word to 8 cents per word.

Interesting to me, because I’m submitting stories to these markets…

One of my favorite magazines is Beneath Ceaseless Skies, devoted to “literary adventure fantasy.” It’s available for free online but readers can also purchase an annual ebook subscription. The primary obstacle these free online publications face is how few of their readers actually end up paying for a subscription. That means there’s little money to actually pay the writers, let alone editorial staff.

So paid subscriptions help them out, and so does patronage through websites like Patreon. BCS wants to pay writers 8 cents per word in September, so they are looking for more paid subscribers and supporters on Patreon. They just reached their first Patreon goal of $350 per month to raise rates to 7 cents per word. Now they’re working on their second goal of $700 per month to raise rates to 8 cents per word.

I was already planning on re-subscribing (I dislike reading stories online so much that I will always pay for the ebook option instead), and now I’m also throwing a few extra dollars per month their way in additional support via Patreon.

That’s literary citizenship. Unfortunately, it’s mostly writers themselves subscribing to these publications, and not other readers. What a complex and difficult industry publishing has become.

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