1. ck1221
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    ck1221 Member

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    Online magazines, credible?

    Discussion in 'Electronic Publishing' started by ck1221, Oct 30, 2012.

    I don't wish to sound like a snob or ignorant for that matter, but is getting published in a online magazine considered credible? I wrote a short story in the hopes of not only building some credibility but maybe getting some feedback or critique from someone other than friends or family. After submitting to three publishers, I was accepted by one(liked by 2) who will publish it on line and in print. The second part is not really a question, but, I find it funny how one accepted it as it is, but another suggested some editing before submission. I welcome the criticism so I can learn from it. But is this a question of preference or and I hate to put it like this because I don't want to offend anyone or sound like an ass, or they just not a good publisher? I don't wish to look a gift horse in the mouth, because I am besides myself that it will be published in any format, just curious. Because it was a short story of less than 1500 words, it was non-paying if that makes a difference. Any thoughts?
     
  2. JamesOliv
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    JamesOliv Senior Member

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    Just being published in print doesn't mean the publication has a strong reputation, editorial review or editors who know their butts from a plug socket. That is how poetry.com got away with their scam for as long as they did. People figured they must be legitimate, after all, their poem was being published in print! In reality, it was a thinly veiled vanity press that preyed on the ignorance of its poets.

    Likewise, being online only doesn't necessarily mean that the publication isn't legitimate (though it can be a red flag).

    For starters, how well known is the publication? If you do a google search, can you find people talking about it on forums or in their blogs?

    Does the publication publish everything (or almost everything) that is submitted? This can be trickier to figure out. But see if you can find other authors who have submitted and see if they got in on their first try or if it took a few goes.

    What kind of experience does the editor have? If they used to be an editor for The New Yorker or put in a decade editing at Penguin, that is something very positive. If the editor's bio talks about his/her love of their pet ferret but seems strangely absent of prior editing work (or admits that they woke up one day, started the website and declared themselves an editor) maybe reconsider.

    There are other considerations I'm sure my fellow board dwellers will cover. But saying a publication is "credible" because they put you in print is a bit like saying a bank is reputable because they have a building on Wall Street.
     
  3. marktx
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    marktx Contributing Member

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    I will not pretend to have any idea what publishers are thinking.

    As to to building credibility with an audience...mmmmmmmaybe. But with lots and lots of caveats.

    The first caveat is: Does the magazine actually have an audience? Ways to check this: Do a free web traffic analysis on Alexa to see if the magazine gets any significant level of traffic. Use other search tools to see if anybody (other than the magazine itself) is talking about the magazine online.

    Caveat 1.1 (Corollary to the previous) -- Is the audience made up of actual readers?

    The second caveat is: Does the magazine have sound editorial standards? You reservations about:

    I find it funny how one accepted it as it is

    ...is a huge red flag because it suggests that that particular site is really more interested in attracting would-be-writers than actual readers. And generally speaking such sites* are likely to be fairly useless in building an audience because everybody's talking and nobody's listening.

    (* The site we are on, of course, is intentionally not designed for building an audience--it's for becoming a better writer--so it's obviously exempt from this criticism, because that's not the point of the site, and it has never presented itself as such.)

    None of the above relates to the publishing industry, only to finding an audience that likes what you're doing.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Even among print periodicals, not all are created equal. How much it means to be published there depends on how much respect the periodical has industry-wide.
     
  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Like marktx mentioned, I find it strange that your piece was accepted as is and didn't need any editing. It could be that the editor really liked what you've written, or it could be that the editor is not much of an editor at all. I second what JamesOliv said about doing a search to see what other people are saying about the magazine.

    Generally, online magazines that offer no payment aren't something I'd list as relevant credentials in cover letters or bios. Next time, I would aim for paying markets.
     
  6. Prophetsnake
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    Prophetsnake Contributing Member

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    Mark, Thank you for posting about Alexa. I'm in a similar situation to the O.P. and was wondering how to check the traffic of an e-zine I was published in a while back.
    I found some stats for the magazine, but I have no idea what the figures are telling me. here is a total result of 233,000,000, which I presume means the number of web sites with the keywords I entered, and mine ranks number 19! Do i understand that properly?
    It has a "Pagerank" of 2 and alexagrade the site at about 18 million out of 30 million domains ( It's a startup) There is a graph as well which shows the traffic, but the numbers mean nothing to me and I can't find any reference to what they mean.
     
  7. JamesOliv
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    JamesOliv Senior Member

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    Just a word of caution about using Alexa, remember what sites are being compared to to determine their ranking. Penguin Group is ranked in the hundreds of thousands (in terms of Alexa rank) and The New Yorker is around #2,600. Does that mean that penguin group is bad or TNY is better? No. You're comparing apples to oranges (besides, cracked.com is #935 while Maya Angelou's official website is #1,180,000) and sites like YouTube, google, The New York Times, Yahoo and CNN are being ranked right along with everything else.

    Since detailed data isn't available for sites over rank 100k, you may be limited in what useful information you can gather from Alexa.

    But, if a website seems geared more towards writers than readers, that is a big red flag. If it is geared towards readers, you should read some prior publications. If the first story you read contains numerous glaring spelling errors, that tells you something.

    Quality small presses also send our their work to be reviewed by reputable critics (not someone on associated content). If they have published anthologies, look to see if they have reviews. If they do, check to see if any of those reviews are coming from reputable critics or if they are just fluff pieces.

    A publisher being new doesn't mean it is bad. A publisher being old doesn't mean they are reputable. Web ranking alone doesn't tell you about the reputation of the site. This can be a helpful tool, but I would be more interested in what readers of that genre think and if any well known authors have/currently publish there.

    There is no magic bullet. You have to evaluate a lot of factors if you want an accurate picture of the publication as a whole.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    first, check it out at preditors & editors...

    check out the standing of the magazine... does it have a good rep?

    check out the quality of material it publishes... are there missed goofs, typos?... is the quality equal to yours?

    what do they pay?... avoid total freebies, if you want to establish yourself as a professional writer...
     
  9. ck1221
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    ck1221 Member

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    I found them through Duotrope and this site is listed under their community links.
     

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