Saturday, August 12, 2006

Welcome to the Future

It's nice to see more and more of the traditional literary magazines allowing online submissions. I recently noticed that Kenyon Review has implemented an online submissions system. And Ploughshares, another long-standing literary magazine, says on its Web site that starting Aug. 15, it will have a beta version of an online submissions system in place.

When I first started this blog I felt a fair amount of frustration that some of the most venerated of literary journals didn't allow online submissions. It seemed that not only is it easier for writers (no need for a postage scale much less postage), it would be easier for the magazines themselves (easier tracking, less paperwork to shuffle or lose). Not to mention, many of us writers have wasted a lot of trees in the spirit of getting our work placed in a respected journal. (Computers have at least made it easier, but it's hard to imagine what it was like when a manuscript returned enough got a little too dog-eared after a while, requiring writers to fire up the computer and type up a new copy. What a labor of love.) I've gotten to the point where I rarely send my work to magazines that don't offer online or email options, just because it's kind of a pain to put together a hard-copy submission package and I get a little irritated on principle.

I'm betting that many such magazines are reluctant to offer electronic submissions because they fear a flood of submissions since there's not as much of a barrier to entry. Think of an old-fashioned mindset where a writer has to show his or her commitment by taking the time to put together the submission and pay the postage (and maybe even the sentiment that such a writer is more likely to be more "professional" in his or her craft). Some elements of that may be true, but there's something small minded in that idea; if you want to discover new, exciting voices, why would you install arbitrary barriers? A journal shouldn't feel put upon that many aspiring writers want to submit their work, but sometimes I wonder if with some of them, that's the case.

In the last year or so it does seem like things are picking up steam in terms of some of the best literary magazines allowing electronic submissions of some kind. I say, welcome to the future, folks.

Thanks for reading and keep on writing,



Post a Comment

<< Home