August 30, 2001 8:39 AM   Subscribe

Fictionline sounds like a scam but isn't: pay a small reading fee and win a thousand bucks if they publish your story. The plain design seems aimed more at writers than readers, but it's an exciting new concept in the glut of online lit mags.
posted by muckster (11 comments total)
Which other magazines are worth submitting to?
posted by muckster at 9:14 AM on August 30, 2001

There may be a glut of online lit mags, but--at least in my experience--it's a glut of poorly written scrible. I've yet to find a literary site that presents quality work one has learned to expect from traditional mags, like Harpers or Atlantic Monthly. Unfortunately, this is likely to remain so in the future, as Internet publishing doesn't get the same respect that a traditional publication does.

Then again, I haven't searched much for lit mags on the net, so if you do know of any that produce quality work that could've been published on paper, post your links.
posted by Witold at 9:22 AM on August 30, 2001

The only high quality online lit mag I know of is Coppola's zoetrope, but it's a good dead tree lit mag too.
posted by mathowie at 9:35 AM on August 30, 2001

While I am not sure you can qualify The Hold as an online literary mag... well, what else could you call it? It has some tripe and some drivel but it also has some well-written, thought-out ideas and articles on ideas and ideals of ideas (and vice versa) and well, you get my point....
posted by gloege at 9:42 AM on August 30, 2001

Sorry folks, but as a writer, anything with a "reader's fee" is a scam. Writers make llittle enough money as it is without piddling it away on "readers fees."

Too many of these operations have little to do with finding quality material and much more to do with making money for the owners.
posted by dewelch at 9:42 AM on August 30, 2001

dewelch: that was my first reaction too, but I don't think it's justified in this case. The fee is minimal ($2.38) and equals what you would spend on postage sending a story to a print mag. They collect the fees and pay them out to the winner once they get a grand together. Sounds fair to me.
posted by muckster at 9:51 AM on August 30, 2001

Here are some I like: Barcelona Review, Pif, Mississippi Review, Paumanok, Exquisite Corpse, Pig Iron Malt, The Blue Moon, Born, Drunken Boat and Eclectica.

Like I said, glut. My sneaking suspicion is that mainly writers read these -- but the same is true for literary print journals.
posted by muckster at 9:59 AM on August 30, 2001

Sounds a bit masturbatory to me. I know that a very small minority of the US population reads and an even smaller portion writes but don't you want to write a book that non-writers would read in order for the chance of increased sales?

The only real difference between this and bloggers cross-referencing each others is this seems to be a bit of a co-op. True, it's a bit of a non-zero sum game for writers but a friend of mine who was in ads once commented that some agencies shun from hiring too many people with ad degree because, the logic (if it is indeed that) goes that non-ad degree people might understand how to sell to the public, who don't think like admen/women.

In any event, seems to meta for me.
posted by Dagobert at 10:19 AM on August 30, 2001

posted by Zettai at 10:37 AM on August 30, 2001

I've been writing on and off since 96, and I never could bring myself to sit down and actually read a web-zine, they bore me too quickly, I don't think there's anything better than a good old printed book. so I guess I'll just have to pass on that 1,000$ offer =)
posted by martz at 11:30 AM on August 30, 2001

Besides the dubious quality of the online writing, another thing that bothers me is that they publish infrequently, yet, most of the publications make it extremely difficult to determine what the new content is, or when it was posted. Even if they put something like "Spring 2001" (and many don't even do that, they give you "Vol. 1, Issue 2" without a date), it is still not sufficient: This is the Internet. I want "April 14, 2001." I've tried using the subscriptions feature of Internet Explorer, but it doesn't work with many of them, as they have dates or ads that change, while the content does not. I also tried signing up for the bazillions of "recent changes" email newsletters, but then I got tired of getting hundreds of email messages a week, most of which never came to the point: "We have posted the following new pieces..." would have been enough, but usually I received tortured prose, bad poetry, long and loud statements of editorial policy, and commentary by thick-headed individuals that were under the impression that a "recent changes" newsletter was an appropriate place for it.

Finally, the biggest problem in general with most journals is poor presentation. They include a title and an author name for a work, often, but no summary or precis, or even an indication of the genre. How can I commit my time to a work if I don't know what it's about, or what to expect? They also have a tendency to be graphics-heavy, yet they are about text. Give me just the text! Or at least give me a plain text option. Or even alt-text tags, please.
posted by Mo Nickels at 12:18 PM on August 30, 2001

« Older What a fantastic conspiracy theory.   |   It's a Sad Day in the Neighborhood. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments