Fantasy & Beyond

A Book Forum for Speculative Fiction

Writers of speculative fiction can share can share experiences and advice here.
#921
It's a jungle out there for writers, and finding the right place to submit is one of the many tough tasks we're faced with. I can't tell you what the best place for you is, but I can offer you a few links. This list is by no means complete, so suggestions are very welcome (I had a much bigger list but I made it years ago and most of my research is outdated).

A FEW WORDS ON GETTING PAID


Writing is hard work, and it should rightfully pay more than it generally does. One of the things aspiring writers can do to help change that is to not accept sub-par payment. I know I'm spitting in a storm here, but if we all just accept the status quo things will never change. So I urge all writers to do this one thing: before submitting, spend a few minutes considering whether or not the payment or potential rewards are even remotely worth the time and effort you spent on the piece. And when possible, ask for more.


THE SUBMISSIONS LIST


SHORT FICTION

LOW PAYMENT

  • Savage Realms — Small Kindle publication for Sword & Sorcery short stories. Payment: $25 per story. This is very low.

WRITING CONTESTS


SELF-PUBLISHING, CROWDFUNDING, & OTHER

  • Patreon — Crowdfunding platform for monthly subscriptions.
  • Medium — Huge site for self-publishing articles, essays, and short stories, with options of joining a paid-by-reads program once you have 100 followers.
  • Substack — Similar to Medium but offers subscriptions and a built-in Twitter-like social media function.
  • HITRECORD — This place defies definition. You can post any kind of media here and collaborate with others to create, well, anything. HITRECORD does publish stuff (for example, they have two TV series on Netflix), but there's no guarantee for the individual creators. But the site keeps track of 'remixes' (people using your work), and if it gets used in anything they publish, you get paid proportionally.
xiagan, BrandonPilcher liked this
#965
Of course the payment is not worth the time and effort put in. Although, who knows whether that will be true in the future?

There are very few pro magazines, and even they pay very little (8-10c per word). I agree that writers should insist on payment from magazines, even if it's only $10 or $20. But even for these semi pro magazines, the competition is massive: thousands of stories compete for seven, eight, nine places in a magazine.

Also agree that https://thegrinder.diabolicalplots.com is the best place to find a market to sell to.
#977
Ned Marcus wrote:Of course the payment is not worth the time and effort put in.
This is true enough, sadly. I suppose I should write "is the reward even remotely worth the time and effort?"

Added the link to the grinder.

:amused:
#986
The direct payment isn't worth the time and effort, but there are indirect payments that may potentially be worth much more.

One is the practice you get writing, and the testing you get from submitting short stories to magazines. Another may come from getting your stories in front of people who would never normally see them. It's a form of marketing that may pay back in the future.

Recently, I've had a sudden increase in people visiting my website from a short story I wrote years ago for the old Fantasy Faction competition that's now been republished as a reprint (and audio). I don't expect anything to come from it except perhaps an extra sale or two, but it's an example of the possible marketing value of submitting stories to magazines.
ScarletBea liked this
#1319
Ned Marcus wrote:The direct payment isn't worth the time and effort, but there are indirect payments that may potentially be worth much more.

One is the practice you get writing, and the testing you get from submitting short stories to magazines. Another may come from getting your stories in front of people who would never normally see them. It's a form of marketing that may pay back in the future.

Recently, I've had a sudden increase in people visiting my website from a short story I wrote years ago for the old Fantasy Faction competition that's now been republished as a reprint (and audio). I don't expect anything to come from it except perhaps an extra sale or two, but it's an example of the possible marketing value of submitting stories to magazines.
As much as I understand this idea and that it is sometimes valid, there is a point when I feel it becomes counterproductive and even toxic. I can understand that fledgling writers who are unproven and unestablished can benefit from this. The experience is valuable and you will always hone your skills better when the situation is "sharp", i.e. you know someone will be reading and judging what you write.

But if someone thinks your writing is good enough to publish in a paid medium, then they obviously think it's worth paying for. If you hire a painter, you don't go "hey I can't pay you but I'll tell my friends about you". I don't see how this is any different. Sure, if you're submitting to a site or publication that doesn't charge money (or who are non-profit) and you know that you're writing in the hopes of PR rewards instead, then that's fine! But in my opinion: if the publishers make money, so should you.

BrandonPilcher wrote:There is The Savage Realms, if you're interested in sword & sorcery like I am. They publish their stories in weekly three-story anthologies on the Amazon Kindle Store.
I will add this shortly, thank you!
#1320
I updated the list with information about payment where possible. Low paying publications get their own topic.

I'd love to hear about more places that are open to SFF submissions and that pay decently! :)
#1387
Magnus wrote: April 28th, 2024, 07:34
As much as I understand this idea and that it is sometimes valid, there is a point when I feel it becomes counterproductive and even toxic. I can understand that fledgling writers who are unproven and unestablished can benefit from this. The experience is valuable and you will always hone your skills better when the situation is "sharp", i.e. you know someone will be reading and judging what you write.

But if someone thinks your writing is good enough to publish in a paid medium, then they obviously think it's worth paying for. If you hire a painter, you don't go "hey I can't pay you but I'll tell my friends about you". I don't see how this is any different. Sure, if you're submitting to a site or publication that doesn't charge money (or who are non-profit) and you know that you're writing in the hopes of PR rewards instead, then that's fine! But in my opinion: if the publishers make money, so should you.
I support magazines paying good rates, but none really do. Even the "good rates" are not very good compared to other areas of freelance writing.

But I don't think it's toxic. After all, the writer has a choice of whether to submit or not. Is it fair? No. But I don't think most magazines have a choice on the amount they pay. Most SFF magazines don't make money. This is the problem. They don't have enough readers.

Some magazines proudly state that all their stories are free to read, and that their websites are ad free.

Very good.

But the result of this is no money to pay the writers. This means that—at best—writers earn around $10 or $20, and this sometimes comes from the magazine owner's pocket. Many magazines are run in this way. Others do charge money, but their readerships are usually very low.

While I enjoy reading short stories, and I buy magazines, I think I'm in a minority. I've asked this question in polls before. Relatively few readers buy fantasy magazines. I doubt if many members of this forum regularly read short fantasy stories, and even less short fantasy stories by unknown writers.

Personally, I'd rather have low paying markets than no markets.

Would it really be counterproductive to gain exposure by submitting to SFF magazines? I suppose it might if that was all you did, but for most writers I know, submitting to magazines is something they do on the side.

Some indie writers make money by selling short stories, but this route is tough, too.