Monday, July 13, 2015

Abstract Thoughts: Let's Light Fires Together!

Brilliance from
the Idea Salesman

Hey folks! I don't often use this blog for selling things. Renee really isn't into that kind of thing. She won't even let me put one of those Google ad boxes over on the side bar. But Fireside holds the special honor of being the first place to ever publish her work, so she's making an exception for me this one time.

Remember a while back when I sold Renee's creepy little flash fiction "Time Out" to Fireside Magazine? Of course you do. I'm sure you all read it and loved it and purchased the hell out of it so you could carry the ebook around on your device of choice and go back and read it again and again and again. I know that's what I would have done in your shoes.

While you were reading it, did you happen to read the rest of the magazine? Or maybe some of the other issues? Because if you did, you would have noticed that Fireside is one awesome magazine. And not just because they published Renee's story. They publish an incredible mix of stories every month. We here at Cabeza Renee never miss it.

Did you like my little nod to the Hispanic readers out there, making Renee's head sound like a Mexican restaurant or something? I hear that's the politically savvy thing to do these days.

And now I want nachos. Anyone else thinking nachos for lunch?

Idea, please stop trying to politick. You're bad at it. Though nachos for lunch isn't a bad idea... Anyway, you're supposed to be talking about Fireside, not getting my blog blacklisted.

Sheesh, some people are so sensitive.

Anyway, back to my point. Fireside. It's awesome. You love it. I love it. We all love it. And they're having a subscription drive right now to keep the (digital) presses running for a fourth year. Subscribe. Or Patronize. Read. Win!

Hint. Hint.

For purely selfish reasons, I'd really like Fireside to keep publishing. We already sold them one story and wouldn't be sad to sell them another. Because not only is Fireside great for readers, it's also great for writers.

And not just because they're professional and courteous and Renee had a lovely experience working with them on "Time Out". All that is true, but I'm the sales guy, so let's talk about money for a minute.

Thanks to the Project Manager and all his spiffy tracking charts and data collection efforts, we now know just how long it takes Renee to complete a short fiction project. From the first inkling of an idea to getting it out the door, it takes Renee approximately 45 hours of work per 1000 words.

(Note that this is for the whole process, not just the writing. Renee and the Muse can blast out 1000 raw words in about an hour. Sometimes less. But those words would not necessarily be ones I could convince an editor to part with money over.)

That's an entire week, assuming Renee was working at this full time (which she's not) and that there weren't rest periods needed in the middle for things like critique partners to read over it and such. An entire week, just to produce one piece of flash fiction like "Time Out".

Now that's not bad really, a week. What's a week? And there are folks out there who could do it much faster. Renee would love to be one of them. There are also folks who would take much longer. But that's how long it currently takes Renee.

How much do you make in a week?

If you're trying to publish your flash fiction in 90% of the short fiction markets out there these days, you'd make zip.

Zero. Zilch. Nothing. Not one penny.

Well, maybe if you're lucky, the publisher will send you a contributor copy of the magazine or whatever.

Assuming they don't charge you a fee instead.

Yeah, seriously, that's how it works at a lot of places these days.

But not at Fireside. Fireside pays 12.5 cents a word. That's $125 for a piece of flash fiction like "Time Out".

(Renee may or may not have the check framed on her wall. The beauty of this mobile banking thing all the cool kids are doing these days is that you get to cash the check and then keep it for decorative purposes.)

12.5 cents a word is wonderfully high for the industry. Even setting aside all the speshul snowflakes who think "exposure" is a payment plan and not the cause of death when someone gets trapped alone of the side of a mountain for several months, SFWA, for example, qualifies a market as professional if they pay 6 cents a word, and a number of magazines use that as their standard. That's $60, which would be just barely minimum wage if Renee could crank out 1000 saleable words in a day rather than a week. Fireside doubles that.

Writing can be a rich and fulfilling career, sure, but that doesn't mean it can't also put food on the table. 12.5 cents a word is important. 12.5 cents a word can pay a water bill, or buy groceries, or send the kids to swim lessons. 12.5 cents a word makes writing something we can afford to do.

If you have any interest in the idea that the people behind the stories you love to read should be able to keep the lights on in exchange for their work, encourage publications like Fireside, who are dedicated to making sure artists get paid well for their art. A lot of places don't care about that and the ones that do are awesome. You could do worse things than supporting a publication that genuinely cares about supporting it's artists.

Plus, again, the magazine is just plain great to read and a year is well worth $20. So go forth and subscribe. You won't regret it.

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