Short fiction, small market controversy

Written by M.E. Ray on December 11th, 2009

- Successful sci-fi novelist and blogger John Scalzi ripped an e-zine publisher Black Matrix for paying 1/5 of 1 cent per word for science fiction short stories. Scalzi argued that it is an insult to offer writers such a low rate and that writers are selling themselves short.
- Black Matrix responded, saying they were essentially a for-the-love market paying for the site out of their pocket, but wanted to pay something. (There are dozens of sci-fi markets that pay very little or don’t pay anything at all). Scalzi responded.
- The argument that many proponents of low-paying markets is that the authors can’t get published at top markets because they don’t have any writing credits. The editors of Podcastle (who are also specfic writers) stepped in an dismissed this (Rachel Swirsky and Ann Leckie).
- There is one popular impassioned defense of the lower paying markets – at SFSignal.
- Scalzi has a last word up today, with several thoughtful links.
- I have spent substantial effort trolling through Duotrope trying to find the right markets for my few stories. I have essentially been working down the pay lists, because that is one of the only objective measures of market quality. Probably rejection rate is another, somewhat evil and counter-intuitive, measure of quality. I have been roundly rejected thus far. Clearly I need to write better stories, but also I would like to see the ones I have written published.


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