Silly me. I finish a poem or a work of fiction, and I grab my Writer’s Market, find a publication to which I want to submit, write a cover letter, stuff everything into an envelope, and hoof it to the post office.
Never mind that in the last five years we’ve seen major newspapers, magazines, and literary journals stop publication: Rocky Mountain News, Baltimore Sun (founded 1837), San Francisco Examiner, Tucson Citizen, just to name a few. The Christian Science Monitor and Capital Press have drastically reduced their frequency, and the Portland Oregonian, San Francisco Chronicle, and the Sacramento Bee are not much wider than pieces of toilet paper, and are about as thin.
My newspaper—Fair Oaks Guardian—lasted only three years.
But even the big newspaper chains are hurting; some recently filed for bankruptcy: Tribune Company, the Journal Register Company, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Philadelphia Newspapers LLC, Sun-Times Media Group and Freedom Communications. Knight-Ridder has ceased making a profit, and the New York Times may soon go belly up because of pension costs.
And tonight I read that Newsweek will cease publication. Oh man.
Magazines aren’t faring much better than newsprints. Vibe, Hallmark, Teen, Playgirl, Home, YM, Children’s Digest, Pacific Magazine, Mademoiselle, Whole Earth [Review]. (Never mind that I was devastated when National Lampoon published its last edition in 1998, and when Wormwood ceased in 1999.) That list doesn’t even consider the loss of small presses and literary journals.
I had several stories returned to me last month with polite little cards: “We appreciate your interest, but we are no longer in publication.”
Everything is going to the internet. Just this morning I downloaded a file of over a thousand links to the magazines that are in print on the web. I loaded the left side-bar of my blog page with links to e-zines that I want to explore.
So, okay… if that’s how it’s going to work… I’ve got a computer, a ponderous but awesome writing program (and fifteen other word processing applications), and several hard drives that hold several terabytes of information.
But I’m lost. Tuesday I received email from a journal to which I submitted electronically. The editor wanted to know why I said my submission was an unpublished work when my listing on Duotrope clearly stated that the work had just been accepted. Silly me. With more than twenty-five publications that begin with the word “Flash,” I submitted to three of them, and in the process of recording the acceptance of a story, I clicked the wrong checkbox. I had names and titles all mixed up.
The font size in Writer’s Market is much larger than what I have on my computer screen, and the hardbound bible makes it easy to write everything down with a pen, in the margins of the book… or I dog-ear the page. Analog… so much easier to find my way around that way.
So… my lesson this week week is that I need to get up to speed on digital submissions of my work, or I’m going to piss off enough editors to get myself banned from the internet.