For quite a while now the contributor pay rate for a professional Science Fiction and/or Fantasy Magazine has been 5 cents per word. So if you were to write a 5,000 word story you should be making $250. This rate has been pretty much the market standard and fixed as the sign of a professional sale as the SFWA only recognizes a magazine market as professional if it pays this rate or over.
Now it seems economic factors such as inflation have finally caught up with this figure. Asimov’s and Analog are both increasing their rates. SFScope reports that these two publications are actually increasing their rates from 6-8 cents per word to 7-9 cents per word. The other major market is Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine – their website reports that they are offering 6-9 cents per word.
How long I wonder until the SFWA increases the criteria for the qualifying markets it lists? I would imagine they might look at increasing it to at least 6 cents per word? Although it doesn’t sound like a lot, when you calculate the payment for a 5,000 word story then it does add up: $300 instead of $250. These magazines must be taking quite a hit at the moment to their costs. I hope they can cope, as we definitely need these publications to stay vibrant and profitable for the sake of the SFF writing and reading community.