Submission fee or no fee that was the question we agonized over. Why, when we are just an online journal? Well, because there are costs involved in producing an online journal. There are costs involved in becoming a non-profit corporation. There is a cost if a journal wants to pay its contributors.
What kind of costs when the journal is online? Web domain fees. Web hosting fees. The Submittable subscription yearly fee. Plus when you charge a submission fee, Submittable keeps over 1/3 rd of what you charge. They keep 99 cents plus 5% of the fee. That’s the gritty truth. It is $400.00 just to apply for 501(3)(c) status. Plus, you must file and pay fees in the State you operate out of. There are banking fees because we don’t have enough money in our checking account for it to be free. There are office supply costs: stamps for thank you’s to donors, ink for the printer (the printer? Yes! We still have to print certain things), paper, etc. Don’t forget design software to produce the layout for a PDF version of the journal. Don’t forget to pay the accountant to file the tax papers. Oh, and if we hadn’t gotten a wonderful amazing contribution of Web Design Development, I cannot imagine what that would’ve cost. After all, we want the journal to look professional in honor of the work we are grateful to publish. We are, after all, editors and writers, not web site builders and graphic designers.
So, we had to weigh between not charging a submission fee and covering the costs with donation funds OR charging a small submission fee and covering our costs so that we can pay our contributors with the donation funds. We’re writers too. We hardly ever get paid for the work we publish and we pay submission fees. We pay submission fees to journals that don’t pay their contributors. Some of those produce a print magazine and some are online. One reason to start your own literary journal is to do things differently, to try and see if submitting can’t be more of a win for the writer.
We have to have revenue. All enterprises have to generate revenue in some manner. We don’t have a University backing us or a Corporate Sponsor. But if you are one of those and want to jump on board, the first thing we’d eliminate are submission fees.
Our online digital issues will be free. Why free? Because what we hear from writers all of the time is that they want their work to be READ. When their work is published for free on the Internet, everyone reads it – their friends, Dad, Grandma. When their work is produced in a print journal that costs somewhere between 9$ and 20$, considerably fewer people purchase the issue to read their work. We decided not to derive revenue from a PDF digital version of the magazine, so that an author’s fan base can easily and readily access that piece.
And the big elephant in every literary journal is staff salaries. Writers want to be paid. Editors want to be paid. Why? Well, because a bag of groceries costs about $30. Unless you are independently wealthy, you have to somehow pay your bills. We want to pay our staff. We want to pay them at least something for the countless hours they are devoting to our literary journal. We are all just trying to get along in a strained and difficult economy, where the middle class is going extinct as fast as the ice is melting in the Arctic. We want The Tishman Review to be a win-win situation for everyone involved.
We also have the option of an expedited response that provides the author with feedback. Yes, this is to generate revenue. Private editors charge between 50 and 70$ an hour and it seems to take them about two hours to evaluate a manuscript. We will look at the writer’s manuscript and provide feedback for only 6$. Remember the first 3$ goes toward costs (plus $1.29 to Submittable). The extra $1.71 we get helps our journal generate revenue. It is our way of contributing additionally to our own cause.
We organized The Tishman Review to reflect our concerns and our priorities. Pay our writers and artists (cover art!) first. Pay our bills. Pay our staff. Reduce or eliminate submission fees as soon as possible. Pay our writers and artists even more. Operate the venture so that it can survive, grow, and enhance more and more lives.
That’s why we charge submission fees.
But once a month for a day or two, we will offer the option to submit to us for no charge.
Why? Because we want everyone to be able to submit, even those writers struggling to pay submission fees.