Quite a few short fiction markets charge you a fee in order to permit you to submit something to them. In some cases, the fee applies only to online submissions but not print ones, and the market explicitly states that the fee goes to cover server and hosting fees, and the fee is a nominal $3 per submission or some such amount. Other markets, however, charge a fee for all submissions, and the fees can reach $17 per submission. Contests are especially terrible about this, as there is always a relatively substantial contest entry fee even though, usually, only the top three of 10,000 submissions actually win a prize, so the odds of getting something back for your money are ridiculous. I have to admit that I'm uncomfortable about submission and reading fees. They smack of vanity publishing, although they are not the same thing. They definitely violate the principle that markets should pay authors and not the other way around. Although I understand that making online submission available costs the market money, I don't know how much I like the idea of hopeful, unpublished writers subsidizing a market's bottom line for the privilege of submitting. In the case of a few markets, it is receiving a submission that should be seen as a privilege on the part of the market, not the other way around. On the other hand, if what stands between me and publication is a payment of $3 that would likely be reimbursed when the publication accepted the submission and paid me for the work, the financial risk is minimal. The real issue is how to distinguish genuine markets from scams that see submissions as their primary profit center and are not really in the publishing business but rather in the writer hope farming business. I don't have a good feel for what the honest markets and what the scammers are. All comments on this issue are welcome.