Saturday, August 05, 2006

Publishing in (online v. print) journals

For me, the line for "ancient history" is 1990. In my family ancient history is last week, and we are always in at least a minor feud over it. To them, it is ancient history that I went for a job interview to scrub floors in the suburbs last week; my earned degrees, especially the one from '94, are part of ancient history, etc. In publishing, submissions went from single- to multi- some time in the early 90s or late 80s; '92 seems another useful line for measuring time in internet art space. I still try to practice single submissions, which is a throwback to pre-1990 ancient history, and I expect a return if I send an SASE, which is to have ancient expectations. In 1996, I went online. I saw that many very talented E people had been there before me, laying tracks, designing sites, building roads. I saw that some of the literary sites had the capacity to archive their back issues. All of this had great appeal, even though I'm not particularly electronic -- I am more text-based and not otherwise very graphic. Like some of the people have mentioned here, I like holding a beautifully designed bound book and reading it from my purse or in bed. My computer is an "ancient" (though post-1990) model, and it sits frumpily on my desk and is immovable and personal. It has limited remaining capacities. I go to the internet to read quickly for information, and I like it for reading short poems and short stories and essays. Anything longer, I would like to have it in book form, unless it is in fact art belonging to the internet. But, often, I don't like to read longer things, anyway.

My first published short story was in The Quarterly in 1988. That was a pulp paperback with a shiny cover that had a wider circulation than was usual for literary journals, and it was also literary. I used the usual method for getting in: one story to one editor at one time via US mail with SASE. Gordon Lish responded a week later with an acceptance. The stories (eventually I had three there) came out about a year after acceptance. He was considered to be very efficient by the standards of that business.

Now I wait to be solicited. It happens, but rarely. If anyone writes or calls with a request for something I wrote, I am sure to get something to them. With this post-ancient-history method my "waiting" feels more patient -- I am not waiting to hear back. Using the old method, I currently have submissions out to five publications -- and it's taking forever. I have written queries and reminders. They are holding these publications sometimes for five years! The old method has become lugubrious.


Ann_Bogle said...
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Robin said...