Why Lit Mags Don’t Pay – guest blog post by M.R. Thomas

Before reading this I was curious and skeptical as to what I’d find in this post, but after I finished reading, reasons —
1)To build up their writing credentials
2) To reach a maximum number of readers
4) The editor who can’t pay you today may be able to pay you tomorrow — really resonated with me.

Trish Hopkinson

LAST WEEK, THE SPALDING MFA Alumni Twitter account tweeted about my small online lit mag: 

“@slushpilemag is accepting #fiction, #poetry, and #cnf submissions through @submittable & will provide feedback!” it cheerfully announced.

The post got a handful of likes and retweets. Then came this: “Do you pay your contributors?”

I grimaced as I typed my response: “Only in mugs and tote bags, I’m afraid.”

A few minutes later came the inevitable reply: “Yeah…that’s not payment.”

Exchanges like this happen from time to time—sometimes over email, sometimes over Twitter. Often they seem undergirded by an assumption that lit mag editors will reap some monetary reward for publishing an author’s work while denying them the compensation they deserve. So I thought an explanation was in order.

Following is an overview of the sad but true economic reality of literary magazines, and what writers should know as they stake out the terrain.

View original post 2,437 more words

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