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Would you pay to submit your poetry to a magazine? (Poll)

Here’s a thing. Poetry presses and magazines exist on a shoestring. Sometimes half a shoestring. I’m sure we’d all love to support them by subscribing to them all, but it does get a tad expensive. So what’s the answer?

Charging for submissions seems relatively unusual in this country but it’s not in the US. The New England Review, for example, is very upfront about making a charge for submissions, but they made it sound very reasonable:

“We charge a small fee for online submissions ($3 prose, $2 poetry, $2 NER Digital). This fee, which is waived for current subscribers, helps to support New England Review in its mission to encourage literary innovation and exploration by publishing writers at all stages of their careers. It’s also not much more (and sometimes less) than what you’d pay for postage, paper, and printing. We also think you’ll appreciate the convenience of being able to upload your submission from your own computer.”

So what do you think? Should magazines move to this model, and ditch the vagaries of Royal Mail altogether? Would you agree to paying a pound, say, to submit a handful of poems to a magazine? Is it better to give your money to the poetry magazines rather than the Royal Mail?

If you’re reading this and you run a small press, what are the disadvantages of this system – your having to print out poems? Possible loss of formatting? Too much trouble to set the system up? Would a fee deter people from submitting – and possibly the ones you actually don’t want to deter?

Take the quick poll and please comment – I’m interested to know what you think.

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  1. […] try something with them. They are an outfit who make a nominal charge for submitting – a hotly debated topic but actually one I am sympathetic towards. I’d rather pay a quid to a poetry magazine for taking the time to read my poems and respond, […]

  2. […] Writing/submissions etc – not much to report, I haven’t given much time to writing in recent weeks, sadly, but I’m not stressing about it. In anticipation of one or two rejections which I believe are due in the next month, I sent out a few poems last week – I’m trying Ambit again, although I swore not to – can’t get out of my head the idea that I have stuff that belongs there. As regards lost submissions (one of the issues that plagues me) – for those publications that still require postal submissions I’ve taken to enclosing a stamped addressed postcard which just says ‘poems safely received at XYZ magazine’ for the mag to post back to me – which seemed like a trouble-free way of acknowledging receipt. More publications are now using Submittable, which I really like, and I also don’t mind paying £1 to submit (eg to Iota). I’ve blogged before about this and the subsequent poll was split. […]

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Robin Houghton 2021