« Reopening to subs January 1 | Main | Reminder: Double-check your email address when submitting! »

Raising our pay rate for fiction

By Jed Hartman

The Strange Horizons fiction department is pleased to announce that we're raising our pay rate for original fiction to 7¢(US) per word, effective January 1, 2011.

This is exciting for us; we've always wanted to pay more for fiction, but our budget has been limited enough that that hasn't been feasible in the past.

The tradeoff, unfortunately, is that—at least for the time being—we're going to be publishing fewer original stories per year. One week each month, the magazine will feature an article instead of fiction, and we'll be running classic reprints four times a year.

We know that some writers will find the change disappointing; from one point of view, it reduces the number of “slots” for fiction each year in pro speculative fiction magazines.

But from another point of view, it means that each author who sells us a story will get more money for that story than they otherwise would have, and the average length of stories we buy will go up a little. For a variety of reasons, we've decided it's a tradeoff we're willing to accept.

In the long run, we would love to be able to publish fiction every week while paying even more for it. But that's not likely to be feasible for a while.

So for now, increasing our pay rate to 7¢/word is a step in the right direction.

If anyone's curious about the tradeoffs involved in determining how much fiction to publish and at what rate, you might find my basic budget calculator interesting; it lets you specify how many weeks of original and reprint fiction you want to run, and at what rates, and then tells you what your annual budget is. I put it together in late 2003, when we increased our pay rate in response to SFWA's increase in pro-qualifying rates.