Re: RARA-AVIS: Mercenary Questions

From: jacquesdebierue (
Date: 22 Jan 2008

--- In, "Dave Zeltserman" <dz@...> wrote:

> Being a bit of a smart aleck, I'd like to ask some of the nonwriters
> here to guess what the above magazines would pay for a longish story
> (say 6000 words). I think the answer might be a bit shocking,
> especially since there was a time during the early pulps when writers
> could sustain themselves with short stories.

I would guess $500 tops. A guy who writes good advertising or marketing copy can make that in a day. Short stories (a high art form) have not paid diddly for decades. And with 5,000 copies sold being considered a success, I can understand why so many writers consider their writing as a mere supplement to their other activities, not viceversa. And it's not just the US. In Spain, for example, where a huge number of books are published each year, sales tend to be pitiful
(5,000 sold is a success, same benchmark!). It's sad to see great books, highly acclaimed by the critics, and so few people read them... In some cases it is the translations that allow the writer to make some money.



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