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Posted By Peter Bentley

There's a strange irony in the world of publishing. Science sells. (I know, because I write a fair amount of nonfiction - please check out my books!) Whether it's nonfiction science books like mine or magazines such as New Scientist or Wired, science and technology is massively popular. That means it attracts big audiences, and generally those of us who write science and tech articles and books do reasonably well. Certainly well enough to make a living.

Science fiction is also massively popular. Some of the most successful movies of all time have been science fiction; many hugely popular TV shows are science fiction. There are more science fiction authors and books on amazon then ever before. (I've also published a few science fiction short stories, in case you're interested!)

But here's the weird fact: today a successful writer of science nonfiction will get 20 to 50 times the money per word compared to a successful writer of science fiction. That means that very very few science fiction writers can make a living from their craft.

The ironies continue. Despite its name, science fiction publishing is not embracing the latest technologies well. Most methods of publishing (markets) seem stuck in the past. Most publishers are resistant to change, while being terrified of the threat from giants such as amazon who now enable authors to self-publish en mass. Many authors are now either self-publishing or feeling frustrated that their work is becoming lost amongst the tidal wave of - sometime mediocre - writing that is now available to readers. Many amazing science fiction stories remain undiscovered by readers - and by the movie producers as is evident by the sometimes embarrassingly poor or recycled storylines of recent movies.

I happen to be an avid science fiction reader. I may write nonfiction, but my bookshelves are largely filled with science fiction books. So it greatly frustrates me that the genre of science fiction is seemingly losing its way in the modern world. But I don't have the answers. I wish I did! In fact I mainly have a lot of questions. So from today we are launching a survey for science fiction writers to find out more. It's not clear if we can do anything to help, but what we can do is find out what everyone thinks. If you are a science fiction writer or you know someone who is, then please check out our survey below!

science fiction survey