Tuesday, January 27, 2009

RIP John Updike

Irish Times Obituary


Pay to Play

Just a little anti-shout-out to Narrative Magazine.

Publishing resource after resource instructs authors to avoid magazine where you have to submit a reading fee, and yet Narrative Magazine is still heralded as a beacon of online literary journal legitimacy. From their own submissions page:

"The reading fee is $20 for prose manuscripts, $10 for up to five poems, and $10 for audio submissions."

They try to justify this by pointing out that this is less than the subscription fee for many literary journals. However, I'm not aware of any online publications that require a subscription. You just go to the website and read as much as you want. That's as opposed to the Narrative website, for which you must create a log-in profile before you can access full pieces. Leaving aside that argument I can't think of another reputable literary journal that charges writers to submit. The closest I can find is The Missouri Review, which has a $3 fee for online submissions, but they still offer the option of submitting in hard-copy with no fee. Narrative's $10 fee for audio submissions is especially ridiculous, given that you're not supposed to send in audio of more than five minutes. Five minutes of audio is roughly equivalent to 500 words, or two double spaced pages.

Narrative further tries to justify its fee by referencing their non-profit status and the fact that they pay contributors, however the numbers just don't add up. Part of the appeal of starting an online literary journal is that it only costs at most a few hundred dollars every year, with maybe a one time cost web-designer cost if you want your journal to be extra snazzy. On Narrative, if your story is selected as a "story of the week" they'll pay you $150 (after your $20 fee). While this is more than any other online publication, it's not more than many print publications. When I had a poem accepted in Subtropics they paid me $200 (Narrative pays a max of $50 for poems), and no one ever has to pay a submission fee.

Furthermore, Narrative features a page listing the Narrative Circle, Friends, Patrons, Donors, and support from readers . If we assume the minimum contributions for each level than before we even get to Donors the total contribution is at or over $241,000. That's a pretty large chunk of change to still be charging a submission fee.

And while there is proof positive that they publish new and emerging authors, they also regularly feature work by best-selling authors. This issue includes T.C. Boyle and Anne Beattie. There's nothing wrong with publishing well established writers. In fact it's great to have the balance, and provides a special thrill to the emerging writers who appear in their company. But I wonder... Does T.C. Boyle have to pay $20 when he submits a short story? And then does he only get the standard $150-200, or does he get a little more...

For further discussion check out the articles on these blogs:

Wet Asphalt


Arts and Palaver

Forcing already under-paid writers to pay a submission fee when your journal has hundreds of thousands of dollars of donor support? Not what O.J. would do, if he did it.


BigOmaha '09

I found out about this conference through the ads section on facebook. As they're probably aware "supernova of creativity" is not generally my first association with Nebraska. BigOmaha '09 doesn't seem to be much more than an entrepreneurial conference. However I'm posting it because of the beautiful, silk-screen styled illustration. I wish I could get it on a poster. Though then I'd have to go to the conference in order to truly own it.

The illustration and rest of the website is done by Oxide Design Co. and their website features an extensive and stylish portfolio.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Self Promotion

And why not? These are a few links to pieces of writing I have in internet literary (or baseball) magazines. I'm sort of hoping if I posts these links enough maybe they'll rise to the top when people google my name and maybe push the link to my sub-par performance in a 5K race I ran 5 years ago out of the top hits...

And leaving aside self-promotion, these are some pretty good journals, if you're just looking for random things to read on the internet, as you clearly are if you're here, then you should give 'em a read.

Slurve Magazine
Slurve: The literature and arts review that masquerades as a baseball publication

2 River View
Distinguishes itself by including audio of the authors reading their work. Sadly I had a cold when it was due, but I think it's a great concept. Hearing a work read can add a lot to the literary experience. Though I'm not sure how well these mp3s will mix into your gym work out.

Diagram has a nice clean-quirky aesthetic. Diagram is one of the few literary journals, whether print or web, that consistently excites me with their content. Every issue has a few pieces that are just a little different, a sort of special surprise. Plus they have great merchandising, including the "POE TRY" booty shorts (poe on the left cheek, try on the right).

Opium Magazine
Famed creator of the "Literary Deathmatch." While the authors featured don't fight to the death, they do one of the more exciting reading series around. All pieces on Opium Online feature an estimated reading time. Good for when you have a very specific amount of time to want to spend reading.

More links to publications next month. Hopefully.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The return of the laptop

HP had my laptop for about a month and a half before returning it. I got it back a week ago and already the screen is having streaking issues. But the rest seems to be functioning, so I'll try to get another few posts in before I see how long it would take them to fix the screen.

Worst/Best case scenario toward the end of the year I'll be able to afford a new computer. Apple has just updated their Macbooks with the aluminum enclosure and while they're very slick, and while the construction, LED LCD, and better integrated graphics care are nice, you're paying the usual Apple premium for style. For less you can get a more RAM, a larger and faster HDD, and . There are some rumors that Apple may come out with an entry into the netbook market, though that may take away from the market share of ipod touch, which is also a mobile e-mail device.

The picture is from Engadget and shows the Adamo, Dell's mysterious, heavily hyped, ultra-lightweight. While many were predicting that it would be thinner than the Macbook Air, from this image it appears a little less knife like, though pictures posted on Engadget today show that it's pretty darn thin, just not tapered at the edges. No word on specs, except that it has a 13.3 inch screen, but Gizmodo and other tech guides are predicting that it will it least have the option of a blu-ray drive. Any optical drive would be more than the Macbook Air has, and it would also account for the extra thickness. What I really wonder is if they'll be able to further one-up Apple by including a dedicated graphics card. At a cheaper price point it would be a real Macbook Air killer, not that the Macbook Air has really taken off. It seemed more like an experimental lifestyle laptop, and while it was updated recently, it wasn't much of a revamp.

Regardless, I'll probably be on the market for something considerably cheaper, or if I'm lucky HP will just replace my lemon of a laptop...

Stay tuned for the next post, where I'll sing praises for three-ply toilet paper!