Scam Of The Spindle

I just got home from AWP. It was a great and fun time, and I plan to do a more in-depth post later in the week, but first I needed to share something. Actually, before I do, I should mention my love for Narrative Magazine. You know just how close Narrative and I are, right (see here, and here, and here)? So being the smart-ass that I am, as I wandered around the book fair I tweeted:

As it turns out, they were not in attendance at the conference. Why? Who the hell knows. My theory is a) they've come to realize most people dislike them or b) they had no extra money for a table because fewer and fewer authors are submitting or c) they knew I was going to be there. Not sure about anybody else, but I'm leaning toward the third theory ... or the first ... or hell, all of them sound good.

So anyway, Narrative wasn't in attendance, which was just as well, because over the weekend I learned of another publishing faux pas, one that, I think, even outdoes Narrative's ridiculous bullshit. You see, I heard that the web journal Prick of the Spindle had opened submissions for a new print edition. So what do I do, the web-savvy writer that I am? I go online and check out the guidelines of course! And saw this:

Prick of the Spindle is a literary journal that is open to forms in both traditional and experimental modes, with a special bent toward fresh and innovative voices using language in unique ways. We read for issues year-round. If you are interested in being considered for publication in Prick of the Spindle, please take care to read the guidelines for submitting your previously unpublished work.

The online edition of Prick of the Spindle is published quarterly. Online content is also made available for the Kindle magazine incarnation of the journal. The print edition of Prick of the Spindle is published biannually.

There is no reading fee for the online edition, and submissions are accepted year-round (for reading fees for the print edition, please see the end of this page or the submission manager guidelines). We do send a courtesy e-mail notifying authors that we have received their submission; if you do not hear from us with a decision within three months of submitting, please feel free to send a query.

See what they did there? If not, read those three paragraphs again. Go ahead, I'll wait. Back already? Yes, you read that right. There are reading fees for the print edition. And those fees are ...

If you are submitting by mail, please indicate whether you wish to submit to the online or print edition of the journal. Keep in mind that it is free to submit to the online journal (a quarterly publication) but that if you wish to submit to the (biannual) print edition, you must include the appropriate fees. Fees for the print edition are as follows:

Poetry: $15, up to 5 poems Fiction: $15, one story Nonfiction: $10, one story Essays & Articles: $15, one essay or article Reviews: $10, one review Drama: $10 one dramatic work Art: $10, up to 5 pieces

Checks or money orders should be made payable to Prick of the Spindle.

So it's almost as bad as Narrative, right? Actually, I would say no. Because while Narrative charges $20 reading fees, they actually pay their contributors (most of which, I believe, are solicited, and who, I believe, do not pay any reading fees). But this new print edition of Prick of the Spindle? As far as I can tell based on the guidelines, there is no payment. Not even a mention of a contributor's copy or even a free PDF of the finished work.

Yesterday I e-mailed Cynthia Reeser, the journal's editor-in-chief and founder, asking if there would be any payment for accepted pieces for the print edition, but have not heard back yet. And quite honestly, even if it turns out they do pay something, I would say it is in every writer's best interest to stay far away from Prick of the Spindle. Which is sad, because I know a lot of talented people associated with this journal, and a stupid and greedy decision forever tarnishes the entire thing.

EDIT: Reeser says "We are not greedy." Check out how "Ignorance Breeds Contempt" here.