1. Alex R. Encomienda

    Alex R. Encomienda Contributor Contributor

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    Is having a story published online just as good as having it published in print?

    Discussion in 'Traditional Publishing' started by Alex R. Encomienda, Oct 30, 2017.

    I checked my email today and saw that my short story has been accepted for publication in Kingdoms in the Wild. It is an online literary journal that publishes poetry and short fiction. I'm happy to have been accepted. The story was well polished and ready to be read.

    I was just curious, do you think it is just as much of an accomplishment to be published online as being published in print?

    This year, I have been getting acceptances every two months or so with two of my short stories being published online.

    What are your thoughts on this?
     
  2. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I don't think there's really an online/print distinction, but there's definitely a hierarchy of journals/magazines that people submit to.

    Some writers use the "pro rates" rule as a guideline... they'll only submit to places that pay pro rates for their particular category of writing. (eg. SFWA says pro rates are 6 cents a word or higher).

    There are print journals that pay much less than pro rates - hell, there are print journals that authors have to pay to be in. So being in print is not automatically more prestigious or more "valuable".

    I'm not aware of any high-end online journals, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. If there's an online journal paying pro rates, I think it would absolutely be worth submitting to.


    (Note: I think this is true even if the writer's goal is exposure rather than profit, because journals can't generally afford to pay pro rates unless they're fairly well established and have a pretty good readership. So it can be an indicator of more than just financial benefits for the author.)
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2017
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  3. Dr. Mambo

    Dr. Mambo Contributor Contributor

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    Echoing what Bayview said, I've always differentiated the prestige of various mags/journals/online publications by the size of their readership, how much they pay for stories, and the quality of the stories mine will hypothetically appear alongside. You can get a crude idea for readership size by checking how many Facebook likes a mag has. The best horror and scifi mags (which are the genres I know) have thousands; good ones have maybe a couple thousand; unknown, new, and lower quality publications are lucky to get a few hundred.

    Of the publications I know well, all the best ones have some sort of physical monthly or quarterly product, but they also post older stuff online for free. I do know a few low quality ones that do a print run too. Those tend to pay an embarrassingly low flat rate ($5 and a contributor copy, for example), whereas the better ones, even the new or struggling ones, are going to pay at least 1 cent/word or offer royalties or some other perk until they can pay a professional rate.

    I personally don't submit to any mags or journals that can't pay by the word.
     
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  4. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    There is a major difference between being in print and being online, and that is true most of the time. There are always exceptions. I think the most prestigious online only publication is one called Blackbird. I've seen some of the same writers in there as in The Paris Review so don't expect that one to be any easier to get into just because it's an online publication. In recent years, quite a few publications have really vamped up their online presence. The Kenyon Review has an online edition with web exclusive content. It is still going to be super hard to get into the Kenyon Review Online, but maybe slightly less impossible than the print addition. Then if you look at McSweeney's. The website is a whole different animal than their quarterly. It would still be great to be in there, but the print addition is far more impressive and people in the industry know that.

    There are other online publications that can be impressive and/or other editors will be familiar with and there are many that nominate their writers for awards like Pushcarts and Best of the Net and things like that. When I am considering submitting to an online publication, I look at what they've published but also who wrote it. I read the author bios and ask myself if this is the kind of company I want to be in. I also think it's a pretty safe bet to publish with an online publication if it's affiliated with a university. That adds another level of credibility for me.

    It's not that any print publication beats out any online publication. It doesn't quite work that way since there are many factors that go into determining how prestigious, influential, and important a publication is. In the literary world, I think it's really hard to just rank things based on how much they pay or how they publish alone. But if you are comparing something like the Kenyon Review (print addition) to the Kenyon Review Online, the print addition is more desirable and going to pay more.

    There are a lot of online-only lit journals popping up and closing down all the time. I'm wondering how you choose where to submit because I never heard of the place you mentioned. But congratulations all the same. Still, a lot of these publications no one has really heard of. I'm not saying that's the case with where you're publishing. I haven't looked at all at their website. Writing credits no one has heard of are not the best thing to include in a cover letter, so I've been told. It's my understanding that a string of these publications can kind of pigeonhole you.

    I sold a story last year to an online publication. They gave me $100 for it. Not the best, but okay. I'm happy with the story, but I don't mention this publication in my cover letter because I'm pretty sure the editors I'm writing to never heard of this place. So, why would it help me? I don't think it would.

    Then there are some other online publications I would mention in a second. I think you just have to really do your research. If you're not impressed by a publication, chances are other people aren't either. You also seem to have a high acceptance rate with these places. Maybe try places the next level up.
     
  5. izzybot

    izzybot (unspecified) Contributor

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    IMO it's good if they give you money for it, regardless of how it's being published.
     
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  6. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    But how it's published can often determine how much you will be paid. If you get $100 for a story online and $1,000 for a story in print, then it does matter even if your focus is on getting paid.
     
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  7. Mr. Write

    Mr. Write Member

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    You submitted a story and they accepted it for publication. Celebrate the win.
     
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  8. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    That's fine to say, but not all wins are created equal and knowing this can help a writer make smart decisions when it comes to where to submit.
     
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  9. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

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    It really depends on your goals.

    If readership is your goal (wanting people to read your stories), then go with the magazine/ezine which has the largest potential readership.

    If income is your goal, then go with the magazines/ezines that pay the best. Often the better paying magazines/ezines coincide with larger readerships.

    If you want something to give as gifts or to have something tangible, then go for print.

    Some magazines/ezines have different literary merit or prestige, and some are more likely to garner awards for the works they publish.

    How much editing is done by the magazine? Do they commission artwork to accompany a story? What is the likelihood your name will be listed on the front cover as one of the contributors (print and/or electronic).

    Something also to consider would be the contracts the magazine/ezines offer. What rights do they require? What is their payment schedule and how long do they retain rights, or exclusive rights? Do they accept reprints (if so, maybe they could be approached once rights revert to you from another market).

    Those are just a few initial thoughts.
     
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  10. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Or you can seek out publications that will check off more than one thing on your list. And there are plenty of them that exist.
     
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  11. Spacer

    Spacer Active Member

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    Yes, my essays that appeared in the Cutter IT Journal did not earn any stipend, but that’s more prestigious than the articles in magazines that paid. And which is still around to be searched, and still relevant, 20 years later? Nobody cares about working around the clock problems in MS-DOS anymore, but fundamentals of methodology are still good to study — there are just more/different specific methods of interest.
     
  12. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

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    No.
     
  13. Mason C.

    Mason C. New Member

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    I also recently got a short story accepted to an online literary journal, Storgy, and I was just happy to have my first story accepted. I think since we live in such a digital era and so much literature is being published online, it's kind of a good thing to start developing a presence online through digital publication. I know, it's not the groundbreaking reply, but as someone who spends most of their time as an internet denizen (when I'm not writing), I think it's just a good place to start as any print lit journal.
     
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