Would a writer of your stature have made more by publishing The Variant in a literary magazine?
I really had no idea what people were getting paid for short stories, so I asked Matt to dig up some numbers based on The Variant’s 7,123-word length.
These are rough and gathered from feedback writers give to duotrope.com and various publication websites. If any short story writers have more firsthand information, please share.
Matt chose a range of literary and genre magazines — but to be honest, I’m not sure The Variant would have found a home in any of them, with or without my name value.
The New Yorker: $7,500 (estimate based on Dan Baum’s tweets)
Kenyon Review: $356 ($.05 per word)
New England Review: $230 ($10 per page)
Ploughshares: $575 ($25 per page)
Asimov’s Science Fiction: $427 ($.06 per word)
Strange Horizons: $356 ($.05 per word)
Carve (Raymond Carver): $20-50
Given these numbers, I doubt I would have been better off trying to get The Variant into a printed magazine. It made less than $1,000 in its first week, but it will be available online — and earning money — for at least the next few years. And if a reader likes the short story, it’s much easier to send a link to a friend than a printed story.