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How Science Fiction Magazines (And Their Payment Rates) Shaped The Genre

forbes.com – Friday October 26, 2018

Today, prolific writers can earn six-figure incomes entirely through stories self-published on Amazon. If they'd lived in the mid-twentieth century, those same writers might have instead turned to science fiction magazines, a source of income that has all but dried up today.

"Payment rates haven’t kept up with inflation," says Alec Nevala-Lee, the writer and biographer whose latest book, Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction, is out this week and covers the era that saw the rise of our modern conception of science fiction, the years roughly between 1939 and 1950. The book follows John Campbell, one of the genre's most influential figures and, not coincidentally, editor of the magazine that offered the highest rates on acceptance. Campbell's Astounding Science Fiction paid writers after accepting their work, rather than paying them only after publishing the story, as many other magazines did. It gave him outsized influence in the field. But that payment rate — and influence — has plummeted in the decades since.

To read the full article on forbes.com, click here

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