Submission Fees

Look, I get it, literary journals need to make money. This is especially true if they are a paying market. Some choose to charge submission fees instead of cluttering their website with advertisements. I can respect that. However, there seems to be a rather large elephant in the room that isn’t discussed, submission fees, at least in theory incentivizes rejection.

For the sake of clarity, I’m not accusing all literary journals who charge submission fees of having dubious ulterior motives. The industry standard of $3 is perfectly understandable. I also imagine most editors at these publications genuinely look for stories that fit their needs. On the other hand authors don’t know if that’s the case or not.

Three dollars might not be a lot of money, but if you’re someone who submits several stories, you’re likely to go broke quickly because statistically rejection is a higher probability than acceptance. That is something all authors must take into consideration. It’s not financially feasible to submit to dozens of journals who charge fees.

My biggest gripe is with places who charge more than $3. One journal I came across charges $15 to submit and pays $20 for accepted pieces. Uh, am I the only one who see that as greedy? I contend that fees above the industry standard veer into the “incentivizing rejection” zone, but $15 dollars! I could get a modest dinner for that price! Writing’s hard, and to make money doing it is harder, so I get where these places are coming from, but come on, authors shouldn’t be paying that much for the “honor” of having their work (most likely) rejected. I believe if fees are going to be above industry standard then so should the acceptance pay.

As a rule of thumb, I don’t submit to journals who charge fees. In fact, I haven’t yet at all, but I’m open to the possibility. It’s a matter of prudence. I’m trying to make money, not lose it. I want to hear what you think though. Do you submit to journals who charge fees? Let me know!


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