- Dec 27, 2014
- Reaction score
How much do you guys spend on your submissions if anything? It seems like so many of the literary journals are charging fees. A way around this some places is to mail hard copies, but that costs about the same as a fee. I want to submit my work to these places and have before (with no real luck). Last year I submitted everywhere I wanted. I didn't keep track of what it was costing me, but it did add up, I'm sure. I want to be smarter about this, but I also want to give myself and my stories a real opportunity to be published. I know a lot of you write genre and don't have this problem, but what do you think is a reasonable amount to spend on submissions (including contests) for a year? Or since I am having such a hard time placing my fiction am I just wasting money? I would love to hear from some of you about this. I feel like if I just ignore all the markets I would have to spend money to submit to, then I'm not really trying and pursuing all my options. It's just that money is real tight right now. Am I too poor to be a short story writer?
I submit to a lot of literary journals. In five years of submitting, I think I've paid a submission fee four times (twice to Crazyhorse, once to PRISM and SUBTTERAIN). I don't believe I'll ever pay a submission fee again. There are many cool journals I would love to appear in, but I can't justify paying a submission fee, not when there are so many places that do not charge a fee.
I'm not sure where you are, but in Canada, most of the top-tier (in my opinion) literary journals do not charge fees (The Fiddlehead, The New Quarterly, Grain, Event, Malahat Review). FH and TNQ accept hard-copy submissions only, but the other three I listed accept on-line submissions.
I've read all the reasons literary journals have for charging fees and accept that, but a couple things rub me the wrong way. The best way to support a journal is by subscribing. When I have a subscription, it is galling to still be expected to pay to submit a story. The other thing that bothers me is knowing how little of the submission fee goes to the journal. Last time I read the guidelines, Submittable charges 99 cents per transaction, plus 5% of the total. So on a $3 submission fee the magazine gets less than a third.
I'm in the same boat as you in that I don't have the money to spend on submissions, but I don't consider ignoring places that charge fees to be "not really trying and pursuing all my options". I feel very lucky to be sending stories out at this time because of the overwhelming number of markets that accept electronic submissions. If I had to pay to print out and mail every story, there is no way I would be able to submit to all the places I do, and I know for a fact some of my best sales never would have happened because I wouldn't have felt justified paying to send in "a long shot".