online literary magazines.

| Friday, February 12, 2010
Today's Tune: I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked (so how 'bout it, eh?)

I've been in short story mode (I know I'm supposed to be working on my novel, but OMG it is being such a pain, you guys), so I've been getting more and more in the mindset of looking out for literary magazines. This brings up two questions for me:

1.) WHY IS IT SO HARD TO FIND MAGAZINES THAT WILL TAKE YA SHORT STORIES FROM PEOPLE WHO AREN'T STILL TEENAGERS? GRUMBLE.

and

2.) Are print magazines still the cream of the crop, or are online magazines worth consideration if you want to be taken seriously?

I am a big proponent of the oncoming digital age. Which, don't get me wrong! I adore printed books. I always want to have printed books. I hope someday when if I get published, my book will be available in print. I love the look, the layout, the smell, the feel. All the things that really don't translate well to the digital medium.

That said, I can't deny that the digital medium has its own appeal. It's green, it's compact, it has huge capacity for storage, it has potential for really cool design techniques. It gives more opportunity for people who would have just missed the cut of a printed journal to get their chance in the spotlight, since there aren't page limits and printing cost constraints.

Of course, I know many people worry this will bring down the quality of writing that is available. Admittedly, being kind of a writing snob myself, this worries me as well. But it's more or less a moot point. This IS going to happen, so we should look toward how we're going to deal with it when it gets here, rather than waxing on about THE DEATH OF ART ETC.

Ahem. Anyway. Literary journals, right?

Online literary journals have been roundly scoffed at since their conception, and many still are, but they are gaining more and more ground. Universities are beginning to publish their journals online (see Blackbird and Hunger Mountain), sometimes in conjunction with a printed version. Several of the online-only magazines on this top 20 list feature works from published writers and poets, and some have had selections chosen for Best Of anthologies.

Clearly, online magazines are getting some clout. They're no longer being viewed as on the same level as MySpace poetry and fan fiction. This is quality, print 'zine level material being published in an online format. But is that enough?

I'm not sure how agents and publishers view online-only literary magazines. I imagine it varies based on who you talk to. Is publication in an upper-tier online 'zine good enough to count as a respectable publishing credit, or is it still viewed as not worth mentioning? If so, why? When will we be able to break down the wall between online publishing = crap, print publishing = quality? These aren't anyone-can-publish websites; they're magazines with an editorial staff.

Thoughts? Would you be willing to publish in an online 'zine, or do you feel like it would tar you with the "amateur" brush? Do you respect online lit mags, or is your heart set on print?

2 comments:

{ fairyhedgehog } at: February 13, 2010 at 12:32 AM said...

I think online magazines are great. I'd happily settle for being published in one.

I have a feeling I'm never going to get a novel out there but I may have a short story or two in me!

{ KarenG } at: February 13, 2010 at 1:17 AM said...

As for publishing credits, agents and editors respect some more than others, but anything like that is worth mentioning, even winning contests, anything that shows your writing had to compete against others to win or to get published, whether print or online. It's all worth a go.

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