Paying to Submit

Literary magazines are struggling almost as much as writers these days (though exceptions do happen). There seem to be more submissions and even fewer subscribers. But there is a new trend gaining interest and revenue... submission fees.
****The topic is covered in the November/December issue of Poets and Writers so I won't cover it all here. (I just want to state my views.)

I disagree with the decision to charge a fee, however small, unless there is a benefit for the payer and not just because I'm a writer. Paying a mandatory three dollars may not seem like a lot but submit to ten places and... yeah. Who wants to shell out money just to wait six months for a rejection?

Some state it will make people more selective and stop them from spam-sending out just any old work. Serious writers already revise and research, that is what makes them competent at least. I don't see it as a deterrent for lesser writers as much as a barrier for excellent writers in economic chains.

There will, ultimately, be little to no positive side for a struggling writer being forced to pay out just to be read. I strongly believe a voluntary donation system should be implemented if a magazine needs a boost or that an incentive be given if one must pay.

Will the magazine give back somehow after taking or is it just a tug-of-war for money instead of a push toward art and understanding? What if writers are more impatient about an answer because money changed hands? Who wants to hear the snobbery behind "pay us for the esteemed pleasure of glimpsing your writing"?
Contest fees, I think, are different.

What do you guys think? Would you pay to submit somewhere? What impact will all this have?



  1. I long ago made the decision to no longer submit with payment. I've done that a couple of times and been hit by tons of spam proposals from the companies.

  2. I hate the idea of a fee. That's usually one way to spot people to stay away from. Money should flow to the author. Not away from them. In my opinion, anyways.