Online Literary Journals

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AnimaDictio
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Online Literary Journals

Post by AnimaDictio » August 28th, 2010, 7:46 am

I want to publish some short stories. I intend to submit to print journals and am playing with the idea of submitting to online journals as well but Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literary_magazine) now has me thinking that online journals may be a waste of my time.

I'll probably cross-post this to the Ask Nathan thread, but I want your opinions. Are there any online journals that garner respect? Are the new ones automatically suspect? Is the competition so fierce that I should thank God if any journal of any type deigns to publish my scribbles.

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polymath
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Re: Online Literary Journals

Post by polymath » August 28th, 2010, 11:41 am

The Wikipedia article poses as a balanced account. It's not. It's biased toward high brow paper digests and thumbs down on online digests. Usage of "literary journal" for digest is a misnomer in many instances. At one time, usage of the term was intended to lend prestige to a publication. It got over done.

Publication is publication, as long as there's editorial scrutiny of some respect. Editors vary in skills and styles and sentiments as much as writers. And the quality and quantity of manuscript supply varies widely from house to house. A digest looking to fill space might accept a less than stellar manuscript. Everyone has to start somewhere, and every manuscript too.

The heyday of paper digests fell in the late '50s and has been in decline ever since. The '90s and introduction of PCs and widespread Internet access put a capstone on many struggling digests. Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine enjoyed a peak circulation of 350,000. Nowadays, many paper digests are struggling to stay above 10,000.

Top of the market The New Yorker Magazine enjoys a paper circulation of a million copies, plus innumerable hits on the free online edition. One short fiction piece weekly. Their creative slant favors narratives related by, for, and about denizens of megatropolises.

Reader's Digest enjoys eight million copy global circulation. They're in decline too. They're struggling to reduce subscriber hemorrhage.

Loss of retail outlets and increasing decline for shelf space is the number one blame for loss of paper digest circulation, driven by other factors, other entertainment channel competition mostly.

Highlights for Children also enjoys a million copy circulation. However, many writers balk at their draconian contract stipulations. They require assignment of all rights for all time, including editorial discretion to do with a manuscript whatever they please.

An online digest that enjoys two thousand publishing cycle hits is considered a best selling success. One longstanding university paper literary digest with an excellent reputation I know of enjoys similar circulation numbers. If there's any significant generalization about online digests, it's that the base is broad quality- and quantity-wise and that access is convenient.

Top of the paper university literary digest market is the Boston Review. They accept online submissions and have an online edition. Several dozen are in the second tier. Other university-related publications are in the top tiers. Not many with the best reputations aren't university related. University publications are hampered by funding issues. They're largely funded by in-state taxpayer revenues and therefore many aren't open to general submissions unless writers pay a reading fee. They're also edited and managed by students in training.

Like anything, a submitter has to do his or her homework and suss out the details of a digest, online or paper, in order to find a good home. It's like sending a child away to a private school or for adoption in a fostering home. All the online digests accept online submissions, some only online submissions. Paper digests had a sea change this year. More than half are now accepting online submissions. Many of the genuinely literary ones with better reputations are still not accepting online submissions. The writing is on the wall though.
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Re: Online Literary Journals

Post by steve » August 28th, 2010, 12:10 pm

identitytheory.com and fivechapters.com are both great
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Re: Online Literary Journals

Post by Harper Karcz » August 28th, 2010, 4:19 pm

I subscribe to only one print literary journal (The Georgia Review, published by my alma mater), but I regularly read about 15 online literary journals. I like to be able to pop in to one of my favorites on my lunch break at work and read a short story, or a few pieces of flash fiction, or a handful of poems. I read StorySouth, Monkeybicycle, Failbetter, Boston Literary, Brevity, StoryQuarterly, Word Riot, McSweeney's, and more.

I'd recommend getting an account at Duotrope's Digest (duotrope.com) and just browsing for a while. You'll start to see which markets (online and print) are selective, and which are not. Just as in print, some online markets pay writers, and some do not, and some online markets are incredibly selective and get a lot of high-quality submissions... while others do not.
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Re: Online Literary Journals

Post by AnimaDictio » September 9th, 2010, 7:03 pm

Polymath, you're my hero. Thanks for all that.

I've been away for a while. A medical emergency in the family. Also, I've been spending more time writing. But you're a gem on this site.

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Re: Online Literary Journals

Post by maybegenius » September 21st, 2010, 9:17 pm

Generally, the paying markets tend to be more in demand and more respected. But there are definitely some online journals that don't pay that are still respected.

I think online journals are perfectly acceptable forms of publication. Several well-established authors are published in online journals like Tor.com, and as polymath mentioned, several of the big journals are incorporating a free online edition. You just need to do your research and decide which journal you'd like your name connected to. The suggestion of checking Duotrope's Digest is a great one.
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Truth and Fiction
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Re: Online Literary Journals

Post by Truth and Fiction » October 8th, 2010, 3:33 pm

There are plenty of reasons online lit mags can be wonderful places you can and should feel proud to publish your work (assuming you find the journals publishing the type of writing you admire, of course). There are many well-respected online journals that are just as difficult to get into as some of the top-tier print mags.

But beyond all that, online mags are valuable because if you publish a piece online that you are very proud of, you now have a handy link you can distribute and get many more people to read your work. Let's face it, how many people (and I'm talking about your family and friends here, never mind strangers) are going to order a hard copy of a print journal when your story/poem is published in it? Yet when you have a link, you can put it up on your website, facebook page, etc. I think this debate of "are online journals as prestigious as print?" is going to totally disappear very soon. I love print journals and yes, I strive to see my work in them, but I also have my eye on some very good online journals, too.

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Re: Online Literary Journals

Post by Sommer Leigh » October 8th, 2010, 6:59 pm

Harper Karcz wrote:I subscribe to only one print literary journal (The Georgia Review, published by my alma mater), but I regularly read about 15 online literary journals. I like to be able to pop in to one of my favorites on my lunch break at work and read a short story, or a few pieces of flash fiction, or a handful of poems. I read StorySouth, Monkeybicycle, Failbetter, Boston Literary, Brevity, StoryQuarterly, Word Riot, McSweeney's, and more.

I'd recommend getting an account at Duotrope's Digest (duotrope.com) and just browsing for a while. You'll start to see which markets (online and print) are selective, and which are not. Just as in print, some online markets pay writers, and some do not, and some online markets are incredibly selective and get a lot of high-quality submissions... while others do not.

I love Brevity.
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