We have read your remarks and find them interesting, and we're sorry that you dislike our submission process. We do of course realize that it’s impossible to please everyone all of the time.
It's interesting that you stress your 30 years of experience in dealing with “paying to submit.” The Internet as we know it has only been around for about 20 years, and has only become the common medium for content distribution that it is now in the past 5-10. Even now, many literary magazines still only take paper submissions. In the brave new world of the Internet, we are your paper, your printer, your ink and your post office. Ifthat’s not worth $3 to you, then fine. Don’t submit. But you cannot possibly think that the classic method of submission, the printed, double-spaced, mailed submission with a SASE included, costs less than $3 for the writer. You are comparing apples to oranges. It’s not a “reading fee”, it’s a processing fee. We could take mailed submissions, it would support other goals we have as far as limiting submissions is concerned,but it benefits no one, limits the flexibility of our author payments, and creates massive waste. One thing the $3 fee doesn’t do is personally enrich us, the publishers: that is simple math.
As a writer, I have always actually appreciated places that offer online submissions for a small fee. I certainly preferred to support a lit mag rather than the post office and Epson. It’s a matter of trade-offs either way, and it’s not something to get offended about if you prefer one method to another. If you submit to a magazine that requires mailed submissions, then you deal with the printing, the trip to the post office, etc, and you pay quite a bit of money, certainly more than $3. Or, alternatively, you can submit to a magazine that takes free electronic submissions: in which case, you are dealing with the slow response times and un-thoroughness that’s inherent when a magazine receives 20,000+ submissions/year that they undoubtedly will receive--if they’re doing their promotional job. Or, you can submit to a magazine like us that’s a middle ground: you pay a little less and than when you mail a submission, and more than you would for a free electronic submission, but it’smore convenient than mailing and offers advantages to free submissions, e.g.faster response time, a deeper reading of your work by the actual editors rather than an army of “readers”, and you’re getting paid more than “contributorscopies.” Or, you have an agent and you’re submitting to the New Yorker and the like, butthat’s another matter altogether, isn’t it?
You are making quite a few other assumptions here, and you may be familiar with the problem with assuming. You assume that our content,and ability as editors, stinks, though obviously you have not even read the issue that we have already published. That’s offensive to us and to the writers we publish; if you read our work and it isn’t your cup of tea, fine, but to summarily dismiss something that you have zero knowledge of reeks of ignorance and intolerance.
As for guaranteeing that “few reputable writers” will submit to us, well, the whole point of starting our magazine is that we feel particular kinds of good writing get dismissed by the literary establishment, such as it is, and that there’sa bias towards those who’ve been previously published that has nothing to do with quality. We could care less whether a writer who submits to us is “reputable”,a “pro,” or not; all we care about is their actual work they’re submitting. A list of previously published work is absolutely meaningless to us: as it should be. And here you are vastly underestimating the size of your competition. You express concern about our ability to produce a quality magazine, assuming that we won’t get quality submissions, again, without ever having read anythingwe’ve published, and with us having existed for all of 3 weeks. However, fear not, 3 weeks into our existence, we are on pace to receive roughly 4000submissions in a year. Contrary to your opinion, most submissions we, or I’m sure any literary magazine receive, are of pretty decent quality. We see no reason at all to fear that we won’t be able to publish a magazine of the quality we desire due to a lack of quality work. On the contrary, there’s much deserving work we won’t be able to publish, since even if we’re unable to cast a wider net over the next 11.3 months from what we have in the first 0.3, we’ll still publish less than 1% of what’s submitted to us. 100%of the submission fees from those 4000+ submissions will go into the pockets of our contributors, or into the cost of running the post office/printing shop that is our online submission process.
Again, if this is not for you, fine. However, please don’tmake assumptions, or denigrate us and the authors we publish because of a simple disagreement over our business model. If there are others that have found a way to operate as a completely independent, built-from-the-ground-up publisher that pays its contributors from the start, takes free online submissions, and has the time and energy left over to actually edit the work they receive, respond in a timely manner to all submitters, and not operate Ianthe red or depend on independent wealth or benefactors, then more power to them. We are not them; we are our own magazine, not just another rag but The Rag,and this is our method.