Great News for Authors: Get Published (Again)!

Over the last few months, the whole staff at Metamorphose has been beating themselves in the head trying to find ways to pay our authors. It was a stressful event I don’t wish to repeat.

To top it off, we had contest entries to review and select, edits to do, and a new website to build. We sent out several surveys, and our authors gave us honest feedback. (Which I can sincerely say I appreciate completely.) And what our authors told us was surprising.

During our struggle to find ways to generate income (outside of just our print issue), we tossed around a laundry list of ideas.

 

  1. Make the website accessible only to those who pay for a subscription. But that didn’t help authors without exposure gain anything.
  2. Offer extras only available to those who paid for a subscription. But that pulled too much attention away from where we think the focus should be (the authors).
  3. Create courses for authors to help coach them through the different aspects of social media. This wasn’t rejected outright by the staff or the authors, but it still felt like it pulled the focus off the authors who want exposure.

The list goes on and on.

Some ideas were rejected outright by us. Others were rejected outright by our authors. What they really preferred was paying a submission fee.

It left me feeling personally stunned. A submission fee was the one thing I wanted to avoid. The one thing I was trying to keep off the table. But the authors spoke, and the rest of the staff forced me to accept that the authors knew best.

So depending on your perspective, that’s the bad news. But it gets better.

We wanted to keep the fee as small as possible, so we settled on $5. But I still wasn’t satisfied. I don’t like the idea of charging the authors anything. But funding is always a concern, and I want to pay our authors.

And that’s when inspiration struck me. That’s when the authorship levels were born.

Here’s the thing. I have read so many submissions over the last two years. A few I had to regretfully reject, and that always breaks my heart. But authors who already published with us were coming back, requesting permission to submit again. According to our submission guidelines, some of them weren’t eligible.

But their writing careers were still only just starting!

It felt so wrong to tell them no. So the staff came together once again to discuss how to solve the problem. And that’s when I proposed my idea.

Authors are now paid on a scale. The idea is simple.

Authorship

The more authors publish with us, the more experience they gain. The more experience they gain, the more they can get paid for their writing.

There are 3 levels of authorship:

 

  1. Novice: This author can be brand new or have published up to 2 stories with Metamorphose previously. Their word count is a little smaller because the editors need to work closer with them. Our goal is to get up to 2-4 new Novice stories online per week. Right now we are happy with one, as long as the stories stand out. Novice authors don’t get paid (yet). They gain the skills of writing and editing first.
  2. Initiate: An author become an Initiate as soon as they have filled out an agreement for their 3rd story with Metamorphose. The word count is slightly higher, because Initiates have a little more experience working with the editors and understanding their own writing. Our goal is to get 1-2 new Initiate stories online per week, but it will take a little time to build up a base of these authors. Initiates make a flat rate of $50 per story, and stay at this level for stories 3 and 4.
  3. Fabler: An author becomes a Fabler as soon as they have filed out the agreement for their 5th story with Metamorphose. Their stories are published in the print issue, and their word count is a little higher, again because they have the skills to present fairly clean work right from the start. Fablers get paid a flat rate of $150, plus a contributor copy and potential for royalties. We expect this will take a couple of years to build up a base of Fablers to publish. Meanwhile, we will continue our print issues as we have: with contests.

Now, remember when I said I wasn’t satisfied with charging authors $5 to submit? I wanted to do better for them. This new authorship scale makes that possible.

Those who are dedicated to writing SFF, and who want to build up that relationship with us, can pay a flat rate each year. Instead of charging $5 for every submission, authors can choose to pay $25 for unlimited submissions for one year.

That means you could submit as many stories as you have (one at a time, of course) for us to review. And if we choose at least 5 of your stories during that year, you become a Fabler. In just one year. That $25 could make you $250 or more!

But here’s the real kicker.

I didn’t think it was fair that authors we already published missed the boat. So we are grandfathering them all in. That’s right! If you have already published with Metamorphose, you already have one story under your belt! You’re one step closer to that $50.

We are excited about these changes. I am excited about these changes. I love the work I see our authors put out there for us. I love working with our authors and helping them perfect their writing craft.

But more than anything, I love seeing their names in print and online. That’s no joke. I often come back to the website just to skim through the names of our authors. And I think, this job is so awesome!

But I wasn’t done yet.

 

SFFA Alliance

We wanted to have a website that focused on featuring authors, but we knew that our authors had needs that needed fulfilled. The popularity of our craft articles was proof enough of that.

But if there wasn’t space on Metamorphose for those articles, what would we do with them?

And what did we do about those authors who expressed interest in courses on writing, publishing, building a platform, and more?

There was still a cup that needed filled.

Then I had another epiphany.

Who said it all had to be in one place?

Instead of trying to hold everything in one house, we branched out to build another website. One dedicated strictly to serving the authors we publish.

Thus MSFFAA (or SFFA Alliance) was born.

The site isn’t fully ready to go live yet, but our previous articles (now called Missives) are up and running. We are adding new content every week. The rest of the site will get built in the background and (hopefully) launch in early 2017. SFFA Alliance will have resources for authors, a downloadable SFF market guide, courses and ebooks for authors, and more. We’re excited about it.

I’m excited about it. And I hope our authors will be, too.

Tammy Davies

Tammy Davies

Tammy is a fantasy addict with a passion for helping others. She holds a BA in Creative Writing and Publishing from the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater. Her passion for the speculative genres inspired her to start Metamorphose to help new authors find a home. In addition to this, Tammy also works as an editor for Metamorphose Press, specializing in speculative fiction and book design.
Tammy Davies

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