Why aren’t CG anthologies paying SFWA-level rates?

Sep 17th, 2012 | By | Category: CG Blog

“Why is Crossed Genres paying SFWA-level rates for the resurrected magazine, but not for any of their other projects?”

It’s a question that’s come up, and it’s fair to wonder. The short answer is: The Kickstarter didn’t raise enough funds to pay pro rates for everything we publish.

“But you raised over $15,600!” Yes, we did. And it’s a lot of money, far more than we expected to raise when we started. (Though after Amazon & Kickstarter got their cuts, and a few people didn’t come through with their pledge $, we ended up with $14,160.) But even so.

In a typical year for CGP – something like 2011, or how we expect 2013 to be – we publish the magazine, and 4 independent titles. Those 4 titles are usually 3 anthologies and 1 novel, but we have no novels in the works after Sabrina Vourvoulias’ Ink (October 2012), so most likely 2013 will have the zine and 4 anthologies.

Here’s a basic word breakdown of how 2013 will look (estimates):

  • Magazine – 12 issues x 3 stories per issue x ~4000 words per story = 144,000 words
  • Anthology #1 (Menial) – 65,000 words
  • Anthology #2 (Winter Well) – 75,000 words
  • Anthology #3 (Oomph) – 70,000 words
  • Anthology #4 (?) – 70,000 words
  • TOTAL – 424,000 words

These are reasonable estimates for the wordcount we expect to publish in 2013. If we paid $0.05 per word for all of it (the lowest SFWA-level rate), it would cost us $21,200. That’s $7,000 more than we got from the Kickstarter.

NOT included in that $21,200 cost:

  • Pay for artists/cover art
  • Production costs for turning the content into actual print books & ebooks
  • Contributor copies (& postage)
  • Review copies (& postage)
  • Kickstarter rewards: Purchasing, packaging & shipping
  • Website hosting & registration
  • Other small miscellaneous things

During the Kickstarter, after we’d hit the first stretch goal of resurrecting the magazine and were debating what the next stretch goal should be, we crunched a LOT of numbers. Based on what we learned, we discovered that we would need to reach a total of $30,000 – TWICE what we actually managed – in order to pay pro rates for everything and still cover all the other expenses. Since we thought even reaching pro rates for just the zine was a long shot, we decided not to pursue that larger total. (7.5x our initial goal!)

There it is – simple math confounds us. If we tried to pay pro rates for everything we publish, we’d go bankrupt faster than we were going to before the Kickstarter.

Now, if people want us to do another Kickstarter to raise the funds to pay pro rates for our anthologies and novels, we will! 😉 But people have already been incredibly generous, and we feel extremely fortunate as it is! However, as should hopefully be clear from the above numbers, all of the Kickstarter funds were already spoken for by the time it ended – even without the anthologies paying pro rates.

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