When I began submitting to magazines, the idea of paying to do so felt like it went against the “artistic spirit.” When my company, the Southern Collective Experience LLC, created a journal of culture, the Blue Mountain Review, I quickly discovered my original assessment was bollocks. Reading submissions is time-consuming work. Providing tactfully-worded rejections letters, dealing with those who lash out due to them, and the ongoing work of getting those accepted into print is time-consuming work. The important word to focus on here is “work.”
Creating art is work. It is a labor of love, but that doesn’t mean that labor shouldn’t come with a price tag. At the start of one’s career the fact you are published by a reputable source is payment enough. However, as one’s career evolves, the product improves, and prestige is built, getting paid for your creation is not unreasonable. As an entrepreneur, author, and editor I understand this on an intrinsic level. I am on a mission to give back to the art community, as well as those on my team good enough to be editors. To turn good intentions into productive reality, I’ve decided to use Submittable in our submission and contest infrastructure. Here are 5 reasons to use Submittable.
- Organization: It is the cornerstone of any operation. Submittable allows you to keep all submissions in one place. Over the last three years of trial-and-error, the biggest stumbling block from submission-to-publication is keeping track of the deluge of material. Each editor often has to create another email account to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. The magazine designer has quadruple-duty to keep track of accepted materials in line for transfer. Submittable allows an entity to streamline the process and, most importantly, eliminate undo stress.
- Accountability: Trust is tantamount to success. Submittable allows the administrators to keep up with each editor’s progress, when submissions are read, and when they are transferred to the que for publication. This holds all those involved accountable, including the editor-in-chief.
- An Option for Good Karma: I think that a category for free submissions is an excellent idea for the artist and good karma. However, this also gives editors a breather as those that are free understand that they won’t hear back for a longer period of time. This is by no means a punishment, but a necessary understanding between writer and magazine that we understand that money can be tight, but our time is often limited.
- Submission Feedback: In my time spent researching the benefits of Submittable, one that I didn’t consider is an option for feedback on submissions. We always want to know why our work wasn’t chosen, or tips on how the piece could be improved when it is. This takes an enormous amount of time to accommodate. Since time is money, many magazines have an option (for a set fee) to allow this piece of the pie to be served.
- A Just Reward: It has been a joy to create and produce the Blue Mountain Review. My drive has been to build a journal of culture that delivers high-quality content as well as reward those who helped bring it to the public. One of the reasons to use Submittable is to use a portion of the submission fees to pay the editors. Once the ball gets rolling, those who are published will also be paid for the honor of their hard work.
There are other reasons to use Submittable. I will write another post concerning those as I work out the kinks on my end. A goal I have set for the Southern Collective Experience LLC is to hold regular contests. Contests can be added to your account for easy upkeep from submission, submission fees, to the judge, and his or her top picks. I believe that the monetization of one’s company is essential to its existence. I am an avid proponent to giving some of those hard-earned dollars to charity in thanks to the Powers that Be for ground gained in the art world.
It is important to me that you understand why this change is taking place, and how it can benefit you. I am always open to feedback and questions. I write this as further proof I live and work with complete transparency. Just as your work deserves reward, so does your trust.