Brevity Now Open to Submissions

Hey, all! It’s submission season again! I just wanted to let you know that one of my favorite web journals, Brevity, edited by the fabulous Dinty W. Moore, is now open to submissions of creative nonfiction pieces of 750 words or less. Brevity tends to favor narrative nonfiction but does publish some experimental stuff. Check out their back issues for an idea of what they like.

Another reason to choose carefully what to send off this year: Brevity now charges a small reading fee for every submission. Their rationale for doing this is laid out here. To my mind, this seems like a solid explanation. Time was when reading fees were anathema to publishing and were associated with vanity presses and other ugly operations that preyed on naive writers. However, times are changing, and a two- or three-dollar tip or donation toward a journal’s operating costs–especially a free online journal–isn’t that unreasonable. Twenty years ago, you would have had to pay about as much for paper, ink, envelopes, and postage, anyway.

Also, according to Moore, some community colleges have been requiring freshman English students to submit to Brevity as part of their coursework, without adequately preparing students for how to put together a submission package and, indeed, what the editors actually want. Honestly, I’ve never heard of anything like this happening. I’ve required graduate students to submit to journals in the past, but we as a class always discussed the proper way to, say, write a cover letter and look around for appropriate markets. A word to all you fickle readers who are also freshman English instructors: NEVER do this! Ever! Never even be tempted! It stresses out editorial staff and generally craps up things for everyone.

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