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  • Sione Aeschliman

Why we pay professional rates to contributors

Updated: May 24

It is not unusual these days for literary magazines to charge submission fees and/or to offer publication without payment. There are myriad reasons for this, many outlined in this great opinion piece by Joy Lanzendorfer, but one of the most basic and prevalent being that it takes money to run a lit mag, even a very small one. (Example: it costs us about $250 a year just to maintain our ad-free website.) Many lit mag editors are already volunteering their time and energy to the project and literally can't afford to fund it.

Being writers ourselves, we recognize that it is a privilege to be published - a privilege often denied to those of us who are from marginalized and underrepresented communities.

But as editors, we recognize that it is an even greater privilege to publish work we love and want to see out in the world. Especially when we are soliciting work specifically from marginalized and underrepresented voices. Especially when people from these marginalized and underrepresented communities are often under physical threat and psychological duress simply for being who they are. Especially when people from marginalized and underrepresented communities often face employment discrimination, including reduced job opportunities and lower wages.

And especially when our contributors are undertaking the important - we believe, necessary - emotional and intellectual labor of developing a collective vision for a sustainable and socially just future. Labor that benefits not just marginalized and underrepresented communities, but all of us who want to live in an inclusive future that recognizes, validates, and celebrates the vast diversity of human experiences.

Therefore, one of the earliest and easiest decisions we made about this anthology project was to pay professional rates for contributors' work and to charge no submission fees.

As a speculative fiction publication, we're using the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) guidelines. As a professional organization, SFWA requires its voting members to have professional credentials, and one of those requirements is that a member needs to have been paid professional rates for a certain amount of their published work. Every so often, SFWA reviews and may change what counts as professional payment; currently (August 2023), that rate is 8¢ USD per word for prose.

Paying a SFWA professional rate allows our prose contributors to count work published by Inclusive Future Magazine toward their SFWA membership requirements. More importantly, however, paying our contributors professional rates is the right thing to do.


Submissions for Issue 1 are still open until October 6th, 2023! We're still looking for prose pieces inspired by our cover art and by Al Hess's illustration, a movie poster for Unbreakable Butch, political cartoons or comics, and fake advertisements. Click here for submission guidelines and instructions.

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