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  1. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    On Submission Fees

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Steerpike, Aug 12, 2020.

    A pretty good post from John P. Murphy.

    "The market that charges a submissions fee is attempting to outsource the costs of their purchasing department (or their whole operation!) to the vendors. Does that sound like a healthy business to you? Put another way: Would you eat at a restaurant that made its money from farmers and not from diners?"

    Read the whole thing HERE.

    I realize many view literary fiction markets as an exception. They shouldn't be--the same principles apply. However, it is true that writers who submit to literary markets with submissions fees are adept at rationalizing the practice due to tradition or what have you.
     
  2. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I tried telling my builder he had to pay me to have his work featured in my house... he wasn't down with that approach
     
  3. Lazaares

    Lazaares Active Member

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    A line I tend to mention; what a restaurant owner would react if I proposed to him payment terms/methods similar to what we have in corporate accounting...

    There's always the strange. Don't forget that everything in business is about power. As long as there submission market is so saturated with manuscripts there will be authors who will try and "get ahead" the others by paying a submission fee.

    It's just another word for a bribe isn't it? Up-front and all legal.
     
  4. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    Legitimate SF/F markets don’t charge a submission fee, even though those genres are highly saturated with submissions. Probably because it is well understood in the genres to be a predatory practice.

    The largest group of writers in SF, the SFWA, is against them. They’re also against fees charged by agent (they’re right about that, too. The reasons are here; https://www.sfwa.org/fees/)
     
  5. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    No one likes submission fees and there are plenty of places that don't charge them. Personally, I hate the whole submission-fees trend. But I will pay them for select publications. A lot of places are free to submit to if you want to snail mail them. And that ends up being around the same cost. And there are some places that are free for subscribers to submit. I think that makes sense because it means you are familiar with the publication and less likely to be wasting their time. Again, I don't think anyone likes submission fees, but just to run a submission manager costs money. I think the fees are usually to offset that. I don't think these places are getting rich off the submission fees.

    Like it or not, submission fees have become part of doing business. I do think harder about what I'm submitting and where when I have to pay for it. I'm more careful and more selective (like I said). I don't pay submission fees to places that don't pay. And funny enough the places that have bought my short stories do not charge submission fees. Still, there are places I always try. I see it as part of investing in myself. I believe in my work enough to pay the $3. I know it adds up, but in the end I am still making more than I spend.

    A lot of people complain about fees, but no one is making you pay them. You don't have to send your work to those places. Also, I've emailed places about financial hardship and they've lifted the fees for me. I'm not saying that will always work and sometimes I just pay the small amount, but publications do make exceptions. I think it just comes down to budgeting this in if submitting is something you do regularly.

    Fall is the big submission season for literary journals. I know how much I am willing to spend and where I want to submit my work. Yes, I will be paying some submission fees, but I also feel good about the work I'm sending out. I plan to make about 50 submissions this fall. Not all the places charge a fee but many of them do. There are worse things you could spend $3 on.

    As for the other services, I've only come across this at one place I regularly submit to so I don't think it's very common. I would never pay for a faster response or feedback. I've learned that the longer a story stays out, the better my chances are that it will be accepted. I don't want to rush the process because I think that could backfire. If a story gets close, there might be some feedback in your rejection. And a form rejection says something, too, that they had nothing to say about your story or didn't even make it through reading your whole story.
     
  6. Not the Territory

    Not the Territory Active Member

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    Could be a crutch for dwindling customer base.
     
  7. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Contributor Contributor

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    That is precisely what big supermarkets do though. They demand their suppliers bear the cost of promotions so the supermarkets make more profit. There was one supermarket here that hit the news for demanding that all their suppliers contribute payments, which basically went straight into their profits, but they're far from the only ones who do it.
     
  8. Medazza

    Medazza Active Member

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    If I could like this twice I would
     
  9. Mana_Kawena

    Mana_Kawena New Member

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    One way to look at it in terms of the publisher is that the upfront fee is the first line of defense keeping them from being completely overwhelmed by submissions. Some consider it pay-to-play, but it's also a filter to ensure that writers truly submit their best work to be reviewed, and don't just revise and resubmit the same thing dozens of times in the hopes that it gets through (yes, as someone involved in this process of reading manuscripts at times, I have seen people submit the same draft a dozen times digitally perhaps thinking it will increase their chances of winning some sort of lottery?)

    It's all in how you look at it; yes it generates revenues for publishers with lots of submissions but lower-price books and potentially lower overall sales, but it also can provide revenue and a filter for larger publishers who get lots of submissions to ensure that writers truly submit their best even as we move away from mail-ins.

    Overall just do what you are comfortable with; your chances are, in my opinion, no better or worse whether you pay a submission fee or no :)
     

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