Forum / informal Fictionaut survey

  • Photo_00020.thumb
    Jan 23, 04:54pm

    Fellow Fictionauts:

    When submitting material for editorial consideration, how many encounter "non-subscriber online submission fees"?

    I found last year when submitting material to journals a depressing number of university journals (ostensibly, state-supported through tax revenues and funded internally through such entrepreneurial marketing schemes) seeking to charge me just for the convenience of submitting material online (even through the Submittable portal) for editorial review.

    (I myself steadfastly refused to send material online in order to avert such odious and onerous penalties.)

    Convenient online submission opportunities were first "free" because the protocols were thought economically efficient: now, widespread impositions of such "nominal processing fees" seem to be helping to discourage submissions in order to help editors "sort" submissions more ably.

    Comments, thoughts, anecdotes?

  • Dscf0571.thumb
    David Ackley
    Jan 23, 10:22pm

    It definitely has become a trend and clearly is becoming viewed as a revenue producer by online journals. I try to avoid magazines that are doing this but as it spreads that becomes harder. It is predictable but lamentable that in a capitalist world everything once free will be snatched up by someone wanting to turn a buck with it.

  • Photo_00020.thumb
    Jan 23, 11:21pm

    David: while I concede the mercenary capitalist import, I wonder whether the fault properly does not lie with university administrators above department levels, or whether indeed the dubious practice stems from earnest department heads themselves desperate to keep university presses running at all.

    If the latter, then university administrators and their ilk would seem responsible for mismanaging their apportionments of departmental budgets (in these cases, I suppose, all English Departments or broader Liberal Arts Schools). University administrators surely can be held to account to whatever extent is legitimate to properly fund university press budgets if indeed their operations are so desperate for funding.

    Universities across this country derive a lot of cash inflow from the lucrative media contracts they negotiate on behalf of their stellar (or less) sports programs, a lot of which no doubt goes to fund sports programs themselves with all the personnel and apparatus (stadia, training facilities). From dire press accounts, no little bit of those funds goes to pay corrupt campus officials with whatever regularity.

    (Parenthetically, I remark here on the actual soundness that assessing online submission fees can legitimately pose in helping besieged editorial staff to filter their submissions, in which case I guess the fees could pose a legitimate penalty for the temporal satisfaction of getting material submitted instantly.)

    In sum, then, unless the journals have forged these policies out of desperation to keep operations afloat, I wouldn't blame the department or liberal arts schools for foisting a mercenary practice: but I might go on to suggest that university publication printing costs (unit costs) might be excessive for other reasons (sadly, their design and other items that go into unit cost considerations of production, like paper weight, typesetting costs, printing costs, page counts, distribution costs [mailing of physical copies]). Mysteries of university administration elude yours truly, but some kind of systemic production problems seem implicit to these concerns.

    I speak as a lifelong bibliophile, as a former editor in book publishing, and as a former commercial text/graphics specialist (and a bit disfortunately as a former television news editor): I desperately want to see physical print editions of published work continue, their physicality is a desperate need in a world dominated by ephemeral online "publication" (which is no slight at all to our well-loved Fictionaut at all)--writers do well to insist on the availability of ANY work appearing anywhere in some print edition of inexpensive production costs and relatively inexpensive retail cost, and all WITHOUT any need to get Amazon involved in product distribution.

  • Photo_00020.thumb
    Jan 24, 07:31pm

    Brief consideration of the history of publishing late yesterday brought to mind "the chapbook".

    The closest contemporary counterpart of print publishing (proper) I can think of is the style found in limited press editions of poetry. (Commonly printed today on relatively compact machines, of which I think a Vandercock press is a common representative.)

    Lose at least some of the paper's rag content and an affordable print format could become possible.

    LOTS of newspapers going out of business today that haven't already gone out of business. Newsprint must still be among the least expensive papers still produced today commercially.

    Why not print contemporary chapbooks of original fiction and verse on newsprint (which can be folded without binding), O American Publishers? (If you want a more costly model, wrap items in a sturdy stock for more substance: but of necessity prices then go up!)

    Keep sales local to immediate press locations to begin with instead of worrying about mass distribution up front.

    I recommend display fonts and display orthography to the complete exclusion of graphic art per se: to my provincial mind writers and their writing need to recover familiarity and close acquaintance with orthography, a lesson brought to me in my service as a book editor.

    Other thoughts out loud:

    American writing today of necessity comes FROM and is still created IN actual localities, not exclusively in tech-manufactured omnipresent hyperspace. American readers of fiction themselves have a lot to learn or remember about the notion "local" wherever they live today, global circumstance seems to be screaming at us.

    For "literary culture" to live even in a state of poor health in the US of 2020 I think means that it needs to creep and crawl for a while--physically--from wherever it's being locally produced and published. America is too diffused just now for anyone to claim credibly that he and she can speak far beyond any single locality.

    Literary work on a page has a slow metabolism compared to any graphic image appearing on a screen. While images have greater velocity to our senses, language itself penetrates and investigates what images only begin to show. Remember Simonides, for whom painting was "silent poetry" and poetry "painting that speaks"--the actions which painters depict as they are being performed words describe after they are performed.

  • You must log in to reply to this thread.