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The Art of Story Writing : CHAPTER XLVI The Incomes of Magazine and Newspaper Writers

by Nathaniel C. Fowler, JR   

CHAPTER XLVI The Incomes of Magazine and Newspaper Writers

HIGH-CLASS magazines, and other periodicals carrying stories, pay about a hundred dollars for a short story written by a well-known author, and as much as two hundred dollars, or even up to a thousand dollars, if the matter has unusual merit, and is by an author of national reputation, and one who possesses the ability to produce salable composition.

The unknown author will receive from ten to twenty-five dollars for a short story, if it possesses considerable merit.

Serial stories, appearing in magazines, bring from a hundred dollars to as much as three thousand dollars, if the work is of unusual quality, and the author well known to the reading public.

The average magazine receives from one to five hundred manuscripts a month, and as none of these publications carry more than a dozen stories or articles in a single issue, it is obvious that a very large percentage of the manuscripts submitted are rejected.

The author will probably submit his rejected manuscript to other magazines, but even then, it is doubtful if more than five per cent will be published. Some publications pay by the word, seldom less than half a cent a word, and from that up to twenty-five cents a word, five cents a word being considered a fair price for an acceptable manuscript.

I recall one case, which was very exceptional, where the author received a dollar a word for a series of short stories; but the publisher purchasing the manuscript syndicated the stories so that probably no one publisher of them paid more than five to ten cents a word.

The majority of short stories and articles appearing in newspapers are either copied from other periodicals, frequently from those published abroad, or else are contributed without cost by the writers of them.

Many a specialist on lines as various as art or science and philanthropy, as philology and socialism, is glad to write an article for the promotion of his special subject without remuneration.

In another chapter I have spoken of the remuneration received by book writers.