The description on the Amazon page...
Back in the first half of the twentieth century, and even well into
the 1950s, a prolific writer could make a respectable living writing
short fiction for magazines. There was a great profusion of markets; the
better ones paid generously, and even the markets of last resort would
put food on a writer's table.
TV and paperback books changed everything. Magazines folded left and
right, not to mention right and left. The ones that survived were
hardly thriving. They had to hold the line, and they did so by making
their payment to writers the world's sole hedge against inflation.
Everything else went up in price; a writer's words stayed where they
were, or drifted gently downward. Some writers crossed the street to
write paperback novels, or crossed the country to write television
shows. But there were others who were born to write short stories, and
that left them high and dry, and even dry and high.
Thus this story. It was, as you might imagine, hugely popular among
writers; Whenever our paths crossed, one colleague simply intoned, "One.
Thousand. Dollars. A. Word," sighed, and walked off shaking his head.
It's been anthologized from time to time over the years, and I included
it in Sometimes They Bite as well as my omnibus collection, Enough Rope.
Its first appearance, ironically enough, was in Alfred Hitchcock's
Mystery Magazine in 1978, where it earned its creator the munificent sum
of 5¢ a word.
As part of his "Orange Wednesday" program the short story is free and availble here at One Thousand Dollars a Word
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