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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Reading Fees-ability

Recently The Los Angeles Review announced a new online submissions reading fee of $3. It's only one of many journals to institute such a policy lately. However, in contrast with some others, recognizing that charges could burden some writers, The Los Angeles Review is leaving open the option for postal submissions, free of a reading fee. (And they nicely explain the way fees will be spent, including on a literary outreach program.)

So, does this new trend affect you? Living abroad I pay substantial amounts in postage both for my poetry packets and for return postage when sending by snail mail. Even $3 reading fees are generally cheaper, so I am still ahead of where I was a few years ago, though not doing as well as when journals switched to online submissions free of charge. But I won't complain. I wonder though, how domestic submitters feel about these charges.

I also don't mind supporting literary journals by paying small fees (better the money go to them than the post office, though I think the post office is an amazing institution), but I'd really rather save my money and spend it on a subscription. The fees will definitely add up and the cash will have to come from somewhere; I've got to remember how I was budgeting for it pre-online submissions.

On the other hand, fees may winnow out the less serious competition. Maybe? Of course, it might discourage me from making long-shot submissions as well.

I'm not really complaining, just wondering how others feel. I got an encouraging rejection from the LAR last fall and am planning to submit new work to them, but this time it's going to cost me a bit (though previous contributors and current subscribers can still submit feelessly online--an incentive? However, I can't afford to be so incentivized every time I submit.)



Karen J. Weyant said...

I don't mind small fees, either -- I suppose the money does add up, but postage is getting up there a bit.

However, I often cringe at the high reading/entrance fees for book contests. I know that small presses are struggling, but $25 a pop (and many times, you don't even get a copy of the winning book) does add up....

Jessica Goodfellow said...

Karen, the way I think of contests is as though I am joining a writers' coop, where we all pool our money and then the most deserving book gets published. I know that isn't how it always works, that the best book (and really, how to measure that anyway?) is selected, but I try to believe that, or at least that a very worthy book is published. It helps me swallow the fees a little better.

It really adds up though, doesn't it?

Jessica Goodfellow said...

Yesterday I went to submit to Versal, another journal that had encouraged me to submit again, and they have now instituted a $2 reading fee (new policy). I wonder if I am being encouraged to resubmit by those who have now got submissions fees....or is that just too cynical?