Since our launch in 2008, BCS has always paid our authors the pay rate that Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) sets as their qualifying “pro” pay rate for short fiction (currently 6 cents/word).
We believe that all writers deserve a professional rate for their work. We publish many new and emerging writers, and we are proud that their stories sold to BCS enable them to join SFWA.
SFWA’s pro pay rate for short stories is increasing by 33% this September, to 8 cents/word. All writers deserve this higher pay, but our budget can’t absorb a 33% increase.
We don’t want to cut the number of stories we publish by 33% (4 per month down to 3) or lower the word length (15,000-word limit on submissions down to 10,000 words). So we need a 33% increase in support from our readers and donors by Sept. 1 in order to pay this new higher pro pay rate.
To reach that goal of paying the new SFWA rate, we’re making some changes, including new ways you can support BCS and help us pay authors this new higher pro rate:
- BCS is now on Patreon. Patreon.com is a simple way for you to support BCS and many other magazines, writers, and creators. The BCS Patreon has pledge tiers from $2 to $25 per month. Our parent company, Firkin Press, is a 501(c)3 non-profit approved by the IRS, so your donations through Patreon are tax deductible.
- (Update: we’re already 30% of the way to our goal on Patreon! Thank you! When we reach 50% we will raise our pay rate to 7c/word. You can help us the rest of the way.)
- New donation tiers through Paypal, including for recurring donations. We’ve always offered donation by Paypal, with tiers of recognition for our donors (become a Knight of BCS!). Some of our Paypal donors have been donating monthly for seven and eight years (we love you!).
One-time donations are great, but recurring subscription-style donations are better for us because they let us budget on that steady small stream of revenue rather than waiting for occasional larger ones. Our parent company is a 501(c)3 non-profit, so your donations through Paypal are tax deductible.
- Raising the price on BCS ebook subscriptions. The BCS Ebook Subscription, through our exclusive partner Weightless Books, will be going up on June 1 to $19.99 per year, for 26 issues/55 stories. That’s still only 37 cents per story, far lower than most magazines, and you can get issues delivered directly to your reader device.
- Raising the price on BCS ebook single issues. We’ve always sold our single issues for the lowest price that Kindle Store allows, but on June 1 we will be raising that to $1.49; $2.99 for double issues. Our single-issue ebook sales don’t bring in much revenue, but in order to pay this new higher SFWA rate, we need every bit of help.
We are excited about these new ways readers and donors can support BCS and help us pay authors this new higher pro rate, and at the success these new ways have shown so far.
We hope this explanation of our situation will spark discussion in the F/SF short fiction field: that free fiction is not actually free if writers get the pro pay they deserve, and that the financial viability of indie magazines and of writers receiving pro pay depends on the combined efforts of magazines and the readership. We can’t do it without your help, but we will offer as many ways for you to help us as we can, and with your help we will reach the goal that we believe is best for us and our authors and the field.
Scott H. Andrews