Home Editorial Fiction Poetry Reviews Submissions Contact Us
Welcome to the Fall issue of GlassFire Magazine (yes, it's finally here! This has been a crazy month). The submissions just keep coming, and we’re thankful that they do (otherwise, we’d be out of a job!). We’ve also been getting a good number of questions from authors regarding online publishing, so we thought we’d talk a little about the myths surrounding online magazines and what Internet publishing means for writers.
Online magazines aren’t real magazines and don’t count as real publication credits
Well, yes and no. No, they aren’t real in the sense that you can’t go to the local Barnes and Noble and pick one up, but they are real publications and provide real publication credits. Sure, the case can be made that anyone with a website and a little luck can create an online publication; however, these publications usually don’t last that long, nor do they get that many submissions. There are some online magazines that are quite popular and have made a name for themselves like Aoife’s Kiss, a horror e-zine. Because of the growing trend in online publishing, a publishing credit from a quality online magazine now carries almost as much weight as a credit in a print magazine.
Anyone can steal my writing when it’s online
Sadly, this is sometimes true. However, there are many different factors in play that protect your writing when it’s online. The first is standard US copyright law. The law states that as soon as you create something, you own it. Essentially, the instant you write a poem, it’s protected by copyright law.
The second level of protection comes from the online journal itself. All legitimate online publications should include a disclaimer on their site that says something like “All writing and photography within is copyright 2006 by GlassFire Magazine, PegLeg Publishing, and the individual authors and photographers.” This gives notice to all site visitors here that the work is not in the public domain and is protected.
The final piece of protection you need is some sort of written communication between you and the publication stating that they are publishing your work. This is especially important if you are being paid. The communication (preferably a signed contract) is what officially gives the publication the right to use your work. This document also provides mutual protection for the author and the publication since it lays out exactly what rights are being purchased and all of the terms of the agreement and proves that you wrote the piece.
Online magazines don’t get quality submissions.
Just take a look at some of the writing we’ve published. We get incredibly good stuff. In fact, we’d pit GlassFire against any print journal as far as quality of writing goes.
Online magazines don’t get many submissions, so I stand a better chance of being accepted
Online publications fair about the same as print magazines do in this respect: some get hundreds of submissions per issue, and some only get a few dozen. The bigger online journals will, naturally, have larger slush piles than the smaller ones. For our first issue, we had a few dozen submissions. As word spread, our submission stack grew. We’ve been taking submissions for our winter issue for a month now, and we already have more submissions than we did for the fall issue thanks to several writing websites adding us to their list of publications.
Serious or previously published authors don’t submit to online magazines
Speaking from experience again, we can say this isn’t true. GlassFire has received submissions from authors with impressive publication lists. While it’s true that major authors may not do a lot of online publishing, this trend is changing a bit. Publishing houses are releasing more and more ebooks, and authors like Stephen King and fantasy writer Diane Duane have released some of their works online or through online publishers instead of through more traditional print methods. Also, more and more writers are blogging or joining sites like MySpace, where they sometimes post bits of short stories, poems, or even upcoming novels. All of this points to an increase in online publishing as print costs rise and major publishing houses begin to rely more and more on the Internet.
We hope that answers most of your online publishing questions. All in all, online magazines are pretty similar to print magazines, although a few key differences do exist. If we haven’t answered all of your questions about online publications, please send us an email. We’re always happy to talk to authors about publishing or to answer questions.
We’ll see you all again in the Winter 2006 issue. Until then, keep writing!
-Matt and Kristina