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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » How low do you work for?

   
Author Topic: How low do you work for?
GreatNovus
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EVOC was nice enough to tell us about a new paying market on the Markets board that is currently paying 1 cent a word. It made me think about prices. I haven't gave much thought to submitting to places under 5 cents a word, given that that is the widely accepted entry point of "professional" qualifying pay and I would like to do this professionally.

Do any of you submit to the lower paying markets or do you aim for better pay only?

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EVOC
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You should check out my blog on this topic. I say make yourself a target. Mine is 5 cents a word, or Pro rate. That's the bulls eye. I submit all my works to the pro markets, then move to the semi pro (1-4.9) then on to the token (less then 1 cent).

The point is don't limit yourself. I've got HUGE exposure off of a token paying market and a non-paying market. Aim for the bulls eye but it the story sticks someplace else, a sale is a sale.

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History
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Except for my flash pieces, I've only submitted to pro-rate markets. But it is not for the pay rate, but:
-- I don't know many markets [Wink] and
-- I've set myself the goal to write tales worthy to be considered by these markets.

Still have a way to go it seems.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

P.S. There is not much money in writing except for the <1%. Would you not say that most writers write to be worthy of reading --i.e. "the glory" as one published author friend of mine has stated to me?

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EVOC
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But, Dr. Bob. I strive whole hardly to be picked up by a pro market. But, I also try whole hardly to be read. I want someone to hear the stories I tell.

It seems such a shame that you have likely many magnificent pieces that you shelved just because they didn't go pro.

Remember quality of the work has nothing to do with the per word rate it gets. Those pro markets have published some awful stuff on many occasions. There are just so many people submitting to them that they seem to gravitate towards the names they know.

That's just me thoughts though. I can't bare to shelf anything I write. There are 4,175 publications listed on Duotrope. One of them has to have a place for the things I write.

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genevive42
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I submit to pro amd very reputable semi-pro markets almost exclusively. I have a lower one or two out there but that's because the nature of the story doesn't suit higher markets.

I won't go into the really low realm or no pay because I'd rather post a story for free on my website (once I get it cleaned up and running nicely) rather than let it languish in some obscure market. If I give it away free and it leads someone to look at my other work, I'll consider it marketing.

I agree with Dr. Bob that I want to be competing on a pro level. However, I don't believe that just because a story isn't picked up by one of the pro mags means that it's not worthy or of significant quality. You can still have a really good story even if it doesn't suit pro editors' tastes or needs.

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axeminister
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The "lowest" I go is Every Day Fiction. They pay $3 a story and offer you the chance to not take it.

I have a story in to them now. When they reject/accept, I will send them another. Why? Well, because I have a lot of material at that length, they have a decent sized readership, and because they're still tough to get into.

Axe

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Osiris
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I'm with EVOC on this one. Yes, absolutely strive for pro markets, but also remember that this is a long journey, and if you don't sip from the well of publication (even at semi-pro and token markets) you will surely dehydrate.

There is a reason to publish even at token levels over self-publishing, in my opinion. The first is exposure - readers who aren't writers may not know or care what the magazine they are reading pays, they may only care if the stories are good or not. So having your story vetted by any editor marks it a cut above stories that are not.

Second, I don't consider stories one-and-done. Once it is published the first time, there will still be the opportunity for reprints when rights revert to you, and after that, self-publishing the story with the ability to say the story first appeared in "such-and-such magazine", which IMO, lends the story a measure of credibility over something that has gone straight from author to Amazon.

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Robert Nowall
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At this point in my career the money the markets offer doesn't motivate me---even the extreme top markets don't pay enough for the effort I've put into the story and my career. Decent print publication is what I'm seeking for my work. (All theoretical, of course.)
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History
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As I said:

--I don't know many markets. [Smile]
--my story lengths at present preclude most markets anyway.

Someday when I'm more productive in story production, I may have more shorter works to share around.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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NoTimeToThink
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Depends on what your objective is. I write because I need the creative release. I'd like my stories to actually be read by other people, but I'd also like to get paid for my efforts when I'm done. Somewhere in there I'd like the opportunity to decide whether I want to be a member of SFWA.
My pattern used to be to start with Pro-rate markets and work my way down. I've sold nothing (to a publication) yet.
At the beginning of this year I rethought my approach, due to the possibilities of self-ePublishing. Now I only submit to appropriate Pro markets, and once I've gotten through those (or through a year of rejections), I'll ePublish. It's slow-going, but I have one story I posted 2 weeks ago that's sold to 3 individuals so far, resulting in $1.78 in my pocket (so I'm already halfway to the $3 that axeminister mentioned :-)

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GreatNovus
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Well I'm not making enough to get by without borrowing money, so I figure shooting for being in microscopic minority of people actually making their living as a writer would be worth it. I'm aware the chances of making good money in it are a lot slimmer than most other industries, but I cant get into most other industries anyways.

Plus I always wanted to be a writer as a kid, thats gotta be laying around in the subconcious somewhere.

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extrinsic
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If publishing my work puts money in someone else's pocket, I want my ten percent share. If publishing my work doesn't make someone else a dime, I'm gracious. If someone showcases my work for my benefit, I'm beholden. If someone showcases my work for our mutual benefit, I'm alert for opportunities to grow down the track. If audiences laud my work, Huzzah!

The lowest I'll go isn't about the money; it's about the exposure: a small niche will do, so long as it's not an ignoble or dead end.

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EVOC
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You, the more I read everyone's responses I find that it is really about your own goals. But think about this. If order to make a livable wage on writing short stories (so you don't have to work again), you'd have to write a lot. Out here $50,000 a year barely makes it and I'd have to write, edit and sell (to a pro market) one million words in a year. Almost 3,000 a day.

Money can never really be the motivation to write or you're in the business for the wrong reasons. But there are other reasons to strive for pro besides the money. The exposure is huge. But like I said, I've got a lot of exposure from my token publication and non-paying publication. That started the traffic rolling to my blog, and not my blog maintains steady traffic.

All this will hopefully translate to potential readers for my self published novel to be released later this year. Readers who would never know who I was if I hadn't got the exposure I got from Liquid Imagination and Cygnus Journal.

But please don't sell yourself short. Submit to the pro markets. After all the worse they can do is say "no".

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Osiris
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Yes, I guess my point is that in my opinion the pro-or-no approach, which I stuck to for the first year of my attempts to publish, prevented me from having any sense of success (broadly defined as exposure, confidence-building, and least importantly, money).

In fact, in both my only semi-pro sale and my other, non-paying market publication, the driving factor was how well the story fit the market, not money. I think a strategy of subbing first to pro, then semi-pro, then token is reasonable at first, but then once you get a feel for what markets would most likely publish a specific story, it is more effective to target them with only secondary consideration to their pay rates.

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EVOC
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quote:
Originally posted by Osiris:

In fact, in both my only semi-pro sale and my other, non-paying market publication, the driving factor was how well the story fit the market, not money. I think a strategy of subbing first to pro, then semi-pro, then token is reasonable at first, but then once you get a feel for what markets would most likely publish a specific story, it is more effective to target them with only secondary consideration to their pay rates.

Good point.
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rcmann
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So far, I have been writing for free. Nobody has demanded their money back yet.
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Robert Nowall
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Strictly speaking, my foray into Internet Fan Fiction provided me with everything I ever wanted from writing---except print publication and money.

Sending original manuscripts out to paying markets never gave me people who actually read my stuff and could commment with intelligence on it (as opposed to critiquing it). In fact, for the last, oh, twenty years sending stuff out to the magazines was like I dropped my stuff into a void, without response beyond form rejection slips.

Doing non-paying semi-plagiarizing fanfic gave me validation as a writer and made me rethink the notion of selling something...

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LDWriter2
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I can only repeat some of what has been said but it's up to you and what you think your writing is worth. As well as time and other expenses:internet time, stamps etc .


I usually do not go lower than 3 cents a word and that's more out of habit. Sometimes it might be less that that if the market pays one price for every story. Right now I have a 1,000 word story at a market the pays $50 a story, If they did buy that one it would be pro pay but if they bought a three thousand word story I might send it would be less.

That is not to say that those who talk about exposure and getting people to their web site are doing anything bad. It's what you want or feel like.

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