Could you be a bit too hasty to blacklist small publishers over fees?
That most recent one was being overwhelmed by online submissions. The only work an ‘author’ had to do was hit send. The receiver had a lot of work to do to separate out the sewerage and sludge to even reach the slush. Couldn’t the authors still send it in by snail mail the old fashioned way and NOT pay a fee?
Additionally, university presses traditionally charge fees due to the low demand academic oriented work they publish.
This cooperative/subsidy publishing is a long established norm in the university world and the only way such work would get published.
It is not the traditional vanity press as the work is vetted. But you recently blacklisted a university publication for the fee issue.
Now you are certainly free to blacklist anyone you want, I wonder if you are really doing it to help people more than you enjoy doing it.
I certainly don’t like blacklisting firms but publications shouldn’t be charging reading fees to writers, no matter what their excuses (and those are lame excuses). It takes more time (and costs more money) to rip open an envelope, read a submission on paper, and respond on paper with letterhead and a stamp (or even writing by hand directly on the submission) than it does to open, read, and respond to an email. If a publication claims they don’t have the man-power to open all their email, they need to hire more people rather than hurting writers financially. If they can’t afford to hire more people, they shouldn’t be in business in the first place.
It is indeed a form of vanity publishing but even vanity book publishers don’t charge authors to submit a manuscript for consideration.
If a publication can’t sustain itself on advertising or subscriptions, they shouldn’t expect writers to support them with submission fees. They don’t get to charge anyone else fees – the electric company, their Internet service, their office supply provider.
Charging reading fees is just another slap in the face for writers who are already starving as it is.
At WritersWeekly.com (which is much smaller than those literary journals), I, alone, have reviewed and responded to tens of thousands of queries and articles over the years and I’ve never charged a reading fee, nor ever considered doing so. Writers who approach us, who are willing to contribute to our fine publication, are highly valuable to us. We would never insult them by charging them a few dollars just to be considered.
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