I like editing short story anthologies and by all appearances people like reading them. If that was all there was to it, I wouldn’t be writing this blog today. Unfortunately, while I may like to edit anthologies, they are an expensive proposition. To give you an example, Second Contacts, the last anthology put out by my publishing house, Bundoran Press, paid 2 cents per word – a very modest rate. But even at that rate, it was more expensive than any novel I’ve published. In fact it was more expensive than any book since the previous anthology.
Printing costs, cover art and design are the same and while the editing takes more time, we do it in-house so – in theory – it’s free. Free, in that we don’t get paid for our work. Which shouldn’t happen to anyone. But never mind that.
The real cost of anthologies is paying the writers who contribute to it. You can do the math yourself but I’ll do it for you. At 2 cents a word, an 84000 word anthology pays $1680 to writers. When we were able to raise funds through crowd sourcing we paid 5.5 cents a word for Strange Bedfellows. Or, if you like, $4620. I don’t pay that size advance for a novel—though novelists may get additional royalty payments farther down the road, which short story writers generally don’t get (though they are able to sell the story again after a year).
These days, a professional rate for short fiction as set by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America is 6 cents a word AMERICAN or roughly 8 cents Canadian. An 85000 word anthology (about 18 stories) costs almost $7000 just to pay the authors. I can’t begin to do that. Even with contributions from others I can only get close.
Which is why we are running our current Indiegogo campaign – not to pay the editors (Mike Rimar and me) or to produce an extra fancy print book but so we can pay writers enough money that they will keep writing or maybe write more.
So, if you like science fiction short stories, maybe you can help out by making a small donation or spreading the word. Remember, when you contribute $10 or more, you get a copy of the e-book; $25 gets you both the print book and the e-book. More gets you other perks. Any donation gives you the warm feeling that you – you personally – will be responsible for helping create art.
And we have the track record to show that the book will be produced. Because that’s what we do at Bundoran Press where ‘Science Fiction is our Conversation with the Future.’
And that’s ten minutes.