For at least the past 20 years or so magazine publishers have tried to get away with paying authors by-the-word at a dime per word and without any future rights reverting back to the author.
Not only is ten-cents-a-word an outrageously bad sum of non-money — it denigrates the idea of “the whole of the writing” by breaking down the craft into its tiniest bits and not even its architectural pieces.
A decade ago, the going price for a regularly published author was
— on the low end — a dollar a word and, even then, a 3,000 word
article was still work-for-hire and no rights whatsoever were
transferred to the author’s side.
Many authors were willing to make that loss of ownership deal with
the publisher Devil in exchange for a promised turn of a quick $3,000
profit on a topic that was usually only “of-the-moment” and without an
The crushing return to a dime-a-word for any sort of periodical or
online writing is the pinnacle of an insult — and must never be cotton
to or tolerated by — any author anywhere at any time.
It is far better in the long run for an author to turn down a measly
publication opportunity in the short term in order to remain rich in
self-worth in the now and triumph over the con as a preservationist of
the lifeblood of inspiration in the marketplace of ideals stretching
far along the horizon.