Thursday, July 21, 2011

I Will Not Pay $$$ to be Considered for Publication in your Journal

I see this time and again, and I don’t know what the answer is. It’s a little disheartening if you ask me. To have to pay a submission fee to be considered for publication in some journal. To pay a group of editors a reading fee. To be part of that Ponzi scheme, that you might consider putting my work in print. I just won’t do it.

I don’t have the money, there’s a recession going on, I am not one of the top 2%-ers that gets to skip out on paying taxes, and I’ve got children to feed, my wife is going to school, we are a 1-income family, and it’s getting time to start thinking about new school clothes for the kids next fall, plus with the price of gas nowadays, I just refuse to pay to have you consider if my work is suitable for publication.

I’m not even tithing at my church right now, and you want me to pay to have you read my stuff.

I see it all the time, a Call for Submissions, please include SASE plus $12 reading fee. Or in lieu of paying the fee you can purchase a half dozen of our issues on back order. Please make checks payable to Scheme, Ponzi – C/O: your work is not good enough to read without being paid to do it.

But there’s still no guarantee we will publish your last short story. Please remember, we always take extra consideration for alumni submissions. The Legacy Author is one we hold in high esteem. Or if you’ve ever been on the New York Times Sunday Book Review, or had a reality show on FOX, or been fired by Donald Trump, or slept with John Edwards, or had any sort of brush with fame which might increase our annual subscription rate – have you ever danced with any stars? – we just might be able to improve your chances of seeing your work in print.

But I make it a point, that I will not pay to have you consider my work for publication in your journal.

I know we all have to make a living and that money does not grow on trees and that just because you are a non-profit organization, it does not mean your CEO should not have a take-home pay of something in the 6 figures. Everybody’s got to eat! And my baby needs new shoes. But I just won’t pay your reading fees to have you consider my work for publication.

Call it chutzpah, or pride, if you will. Maybe it’s my false sense if integrity. Maybe its my strong moral fiber reinforced by years in the Boy Scouts, the Small Catechism, confirmation at 15, years at Private School, and my Judeo-Christian upbringing. Or perhaps its just pure arrogance, but I refuse to pay you anything to have you judge whether my work is suitable for publication in your journal. Plus I just haven’t got the $$$.

And so that’s why I continue to write here on this blog.


  1. Yeah, don't do it. Any lit mag asking you to pay a reading fee isn't one you want to be published in.

  2. Yeah, its a big scam. I found this awesome Yahoo! group, CRWROPPS-B · Creative Writers Opportunities List, which has calls for submissions from all sorts of publications, on-line and print. I'm having fun going through which journals are the genuine article and which are just web-based publications ... which I want to move past. Have you ever heard of The Destroyer --> it looks really neat and fun, but I'm not sure if its just an on-line publication or if its a print job too. I didn't find them on so I'm thinking they're just an on-line deal. What can you tell me about them?

    Thanks for reading my stuff, Jeff ... I value your opinion!


  3. I've encountered similar scams with agents requesting money to read my manuscript. Don't fall for it! There are plenty of legitimate agents who will happily read what you've written for FREE, and give you their honest feedback, to boot.