Literary Journals – Non-Paying Markets?

Hi Angela,

I’ve been a subscriber for (I’m guessing) about two years or more. I’m a writer and editor myself. I’m interested in the most recent discussion — one that comes up often — about writers working for free.

What’s your take on the literary journal market? In my research, most legitimate literary magazines and journals — may of them nationally and internationally acclaimed — are strapped for cash. Many of them only pay in contributor copies. But a lot of fiction writers — even novelists who have managed to get published with a traditional publisher — have contributed to them as a way to get their fiction out and to build a writing resume. When you say that editors should always pay, do you consider free contributor copies to be payment?

Interested in your take on the subject.

Take care,

Hiya Eric,

No, I don’t consider contributor’s copies payment. And, we never feature non-paying pubs, even literary journals, in

A lot of really shoddy publications put the word “literary” in their name to try to fool writers and the public. Sure, there are several that are good and even respected. But, my opinion of them in the same as all other non-paying publications. They charge readers for a subscription and they earn ad revenue. If they can’t pay writers with their revenues, they have no business being in business. The ones that have been around forever ARE making money or are funded in some way by some organization with deep pockets. Why continue to allow artists (writers) to starve while paying everyone else involved in the production of the product?

The entire scenario makes no sense to me, which is why we don’t support them or give them any publicity.