The OF Blog: There's something wrong-feeling about this...

Monday, March 01, 2010

There's something wrong-feeling about this...

I first read about this a few weeks ago, but didn't comment, as I didn't know the particulars of this venture.  But now that I've read the particulars, I'm finding myself puzzled at this proposed e-zine from NextRead.  While I don't believe that Gav, the blogger/presumed editor behind this venture, is meaning to do anything unethical, the submissions page makes me wonder why any "true" writers (yes, this is a potential landmine, but I'm sticking with this phrasing) would want to submit to a magazine that has the following requirements:

  • You need to have pre-bought the magazine in order to submit a short story (the magazine will be sent to submission email on launch).
  • Submissions will be the authors own work. No collaborations.
  • The short story have not appeared elsewhere, even in a modified form.
  • Electronic only in .doc, docx, .rtf or .txt formats
  • Word limit is  5000 or less
  • Short Stories that do not meet the theme will not be considered
  • Unless genuine error no refunds will be made.
  • Multiple submissions are allowed but each submission will require a pre-purchase of NextRead Magazine
  • By submitting you are giving NextSomething via exclusive online use until 1st September 2010. After that date all rights except continual use in issue in which the story appeared revert back to the author.

I know that e-zine markets tend to be low-paying in general, but charging people to submit stories (and I'm guessing every submitted story, within some sort of reason, will be published) makes me wonder if this is little more than an e-zine version of vanity publishing, where the publishers make money at the expense of the erstwhile authors.  Maybe it's just a way for those who dream of being actual, paid writers to be able to say to themselves that they had something of theirs published?

Perhaps I'm not understanding something here, but it does seem a bit odd at best to have such an arrangement...


Joe said...

Oh, no no no no no no no.

I left a comment asking about paying the writer vs paying to submit, and I really hope that it isn't true.

That's just...well, that's nothing I could ever, ever, ever support.

Lsrry said...

While the costs are relatively low (around $3, if I remember the currency rates, maybe slightly less), the principle behind charging people to have their stories published is not good. Perhaps someone will clarify this later.

Joe said...

Yeah, I don't really care if the costs are twenty five cents per sub.

Token payments are one thing (I saw something later that suggested token payments) and perfectly understandable depending what kind of magazine you're trying to build.

Paying for submissions, even a "token" payment...that's something else.

Lsrry said...

If this were anything other than a well-meaning, very small organization, I could see someone like the SFWA going ballistic over this. Won't forget anytime soon the blowup over the e-zine that paid only 1/5 cent/word. This is a different category, to say the least.

Chad Hull said...

What Joe said...

There is nothing positive here.

A lot of writers are 'hungry' for publication. None are 'starving' to this point.

Anonymous said...

Rather naive on Nextread's part, and rather disrespectful of writers. I suspect it's not a question of greed as such, but rather a woeful lack of thought and understanding as to how such a venture might attract any interest from either writers or readers.

Adele said...

The principal is that only people who are readers will be permitted to submit. It is not a fee for submission, it is a fee to receive the zine on completion, being a reader, entitles you to submit.
It's being suggested by someon because he loves reading and reviewing and writing and I hope that some of you will at least check out the details for yourselves before writing it off as a bad idea.

Gabriele Campbell said...

Reminds me a bit too much of those poetry anthologies that will include your little rhimey-dimey if you subscribe to the antho (usually that's in the 50-80 bucks range, and writing sites warn people of those).

In this case I think it's probably more cluelessness than a downright fraud. What all those ezine starters don't consider is that you need to invest money before you will get even, let alone get any money out of it. It sounds so easy to run an ezine, but you need to know about economics, accounting and marketing - love for stories alone doesn't cut it.

He will find desperate authors willing submit under those conditions, I'm afraid. At least the money here is not in the range of vanity presses, or even those poetry anthologies.

gav ( said...

I'm certainly feeling the love in here. Thanks everyone for your support.

Gabriele Campbell said...

Sorry Gav, but the rule every aspiring writer who bothers to visit writing sites learns is: The money flows towards the author!

There may be reasons to submit to an ezine that doesn't pay, or doesn't pay industry standards, like exposure, niche markets and such, but there is never a reason to pay for a submission in any form.

Gabriele Campbell said...

OK, I've thought about this a bit. I think the problem with such endeavours is to mix two distinct groups: your readers and your contributors (aka writers). Sure, some readers are writers as well, but a publisher must treat those as different entities. (Btw, it's not the first such idea I've seen; there was some blogging from a published author about an ezine where the concept mixed up both groups even worse, and she should have known better - so far, she hasn't started the ezine yet.)

So you need to find a) readers/subscribers. Best way to get those is to offer something interesting for an acceptable price. And b) you need to find contributors. Be honest that you start out and can't pay anything, but offer something attractive. The could be a niche market, serialising of medium length stories, or getting a well known author or two to give you a story (= exposure for less well known writers because readers will buy the ezine for the author name).

I'm also pretty sure writers interested in the ezine will buy a magazine or even subscribe to it. But don't ask them to do that as part of the submission process. Just don't.

And good luck.

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