I cover the topic of submission fees every so often. By now, you all know my stance. I just can't afford it and would even hesitate if I could.
More people are coming out in favor of fees, citing mostly beaten ground. I heard a new one yesterday, though, that writers are paying for the "privilege of having our voices heard". This sentiment bothered me.
Because the arts aren't manual labor, because we may actually find joy in it... we shouldn't be paid? Real writers work hard at their craft. We strive to improve. Yes, we want to be read! If we're any good, we're (hopefully) blessed with an audience, eventually. But to bow down and shell out money for the chance?
I'm grateful whenever anyone bothers to read my words. I owe more than I can articulate to those few souls who have written me e-mails just to say they enjoyed my poems. It is a privilege, in a way, to have a receptive audience. But, it is NOT a privilege to work my tail off to send a submission to an editor who believes wholeheartedly gazing at my work, deigning me with momentary attention, is the thing I should be grateful for. (Good editors are worth their weight in gold and add so much, I'm not addressing those.)
You wouldn't tell a novelist exposure will do wonders or he/she should just bask in the sun of a gatekeeper's eyes. Why is it okay to say that to us short-form types? We work our butts off, too!
Sometimes, the world of poetry and literary short fiction is so snobby, I wish self-publishing poetry was still a viable option to reach readers.
I'm happy most of you are novelists and other book-length writers!