- How do we pay writers more?
- How can we do an anthology that shines a spotlight on women horror writers without leaving men writers behind?
These were the two big questions we asked ourselves when we were planning our anthology.
Oh, by the way, we're doing an anthology of short horror stories. It's called Deep Cuts, and we're having a blast with it. (See very unprofessional mock-up of the cover, at right; amazing art by German artist Anja Millen). We've put out the call for submissions (see link below), and we've kicked off our Kickstarter (link also below).
This whole Kickstarter thing is seductive. The more I pledge to projects, the more hooked I become.
Kickstarter is the answer to Question #1 above. If our Kickstarter is successful, we will increase how much we pay the writers we select for the anthology. Writers are notoriously underpaid, especially short fiction writers. The anthology will fly even if the Kickstarter tanks. Ah, but if it doesn't, then we'll do the anthology in style and set a new trend!
True Anecdotal Evidence
20 years ago, when I first started writing professionally, a pro rate was US$0.05 per word. For a 5k-word short story, that is $250. If you estimate that it takes about 24 total hours to do right by a story and produce something good, then you're getting a little over $10/hour. That was in 1992, when maybe some of you weren't even out of high school yet. Back then, that wasn't too shabby.
Now, it's 2012, and the pro rate is STILL THE SAME! It's the rare short fiction market that can afford to pay more than that, and if they can, they don't, because pro rates "are good enough."
Writers need to get paid for the amazing creativity and time spent creating fiction that curls your hair and makes your heart beat faster! If you'd like to help make that happen (it only takes $5 to be a superstar!), then visit our Kickstarter page. If nothing else, go see the silly video I made. LOL. I'm a book editor, Jim, not a film editor.
The book will come out during Women in Horror Month, so we're asking all submitters to include a recommendation for a short horror story by a woman writer that knocked their socks off.
This is the answer to Question #2. Any gendered or non-gendered person can submit to the anthology and get in (if the story is good enough and fits). But, each and every one of them must recommend a short story by a woman horror writer that floored them. In this way, we're not only giving readers a book full of terrific horror, but we're giving them a map to find the awesome stories they may have missed along the path (the deep cuts of the horror world).
I'll stop talking now, but come check out what we're doing! I welcome any comments and suggestions. If you feel like spreading this project around your social networks, I'll be ever grateful, and if you find it in your heart to help out these poor starving writers (of which I am not one, btw -- the editors will not have a story in the book), then I know they and I will be ever so grateful!