Friday, May 2, 2008

Dude Sums it All Up

L.A. Poet, commenting on this blog, sums up the recent raging debate at LROD pretty nicely. Dude is sharp, no?  Dude-Einstein. Dude-Vinci.  Anyway, here's what it adds up to:

"Read over these posts, to my mind there are a few different issues being raised here:

* Academic journals sponsored and run by universities are not playing fair (or smart): if they have low circulation, there's no reason why they can't publish everything on the web, make the print copies an extra souvenir or sentimental type bonus or even stop print altogether; certainly pay their writers just as they pay the printers and make it a point that they do so or do not publish. Paying pro rates of $1/word or more is a drop in the bucket for them. If you can't pay, then stop publishing until you can! Make it a moral issue - fairness to the working writer. That the university can't stand exploiting writers. Combine with other struggling journals at other schools then if you can't get funding; but whatever you do, pay the writers. So pressure on universities to pay writers and improve distribution (or place it all on the web).

* Commercial magazines are lost on gimmicks and making the lowest common denominator even lower than it is. They largely ignore fiction or assign "cute" sound bite stories. So, pressure on the commercial editors to print more work of substance, especially fiction.

* Demands of exclusive submission are wrong and exploitative when they take months, even years, tying up work and coming with no response but form letters. Exclusivity should only be honored for paying journals that reply in a timely manner, so list out those journals that demand exclusive and don't pay or take unreasonable amounts of time, and state that no writer should follow the rule of exclusivity for them. Even The New Yorker is amiss here, what with waits of a year or more.

* Non-academic non-commercial magazines like Smokelong Quarterly can't pay, but they can have useful toehold for the struggling writer. So if they recognize the issues addressed here, maybe some kind of solidarity with all of these complaints?

* There is some kind of spoken or unspoken divide between academics and non-academics. Do some journals really prefer writers with MFAs, or even teachers as some posts contend? Maybe list out some contents of these journals and see. If true, call them on it. If false, take it back and shut up already.

* Agents today are mostly shallow and without taste, certainly without Amanda Urban level ambition. So why do we even need them? Pressure on publishers to look at unagented manuscripts?

* This blog is getting quite popular. Not an issue but how much longer can they keep ignoring what's being publicly stated here? The silence is deafening.

What I would do is list some names, maybe invite some to comment. I would amplify this. The Esquire examples were great. So is the example of AGNI. I'd love to see some response to this stuff. Call them to task, name some names. Let them defend their position (or consider changing it). Wonder if they would care to comment? After all, they're committed to literature. This is a big issue, raised in a high profile blog. How could they possibly refuse?"


Anonymous said...

Dude playing with matches. Awful lot of kindling all about. Dude striking match. Big flash. Big fire. Fire storm.

Anonymous said...

What's going to come of all this?

Anonymous said...

I think LROD's manifesto is catching on. But the establishment is covering it up with their own "mini-manifesto" on what they want from literature. At least that's what's happening at VQR.
Did you see?