Is It Time for Literary Magazines to Rethink the Slush? — Electric Literature
over 1 year ago
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"Overall, I agree with Mamatas that there’s an ethical issue in charging submission fees. We never instituted them at Electric Literature for Recommended Reading, Gigantic, or any other magazine I’ve worked on. Plenty of journals barely take any work from the slush, but even a magazine that only publishes slush is likely only taking 1–2% of submissions. So the majority of unpublished writers are funding the minority of published, which isn’t a great foundation. Imagine if every worker had to pay to get a job interview? (Or, since most magazines don’t pay, maybe the analogy is paying to get an unpaid internship.) The defense of submission fees is that the fee is pretty small, perhaps only as costly as snail mail postage. But $3 adds up quickly. I’ve often heard the average story gets rejected twenty times before an acceptance. 21 x 3 = $63. The Offing pays $20–50, meaning you’d expect to lose between 13 and 43 bucks per story. Literary writers can’t expect to make much money from quiet short stories about cancer and obscure poems about birds, but surely we don’t need to actively lose money to get published!"
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