|Earl the Squirrel's Rule #19|
Ms. Longhorn writes:
"Aside, when a friend from another academic field read my FB post about this she was stunned. 'You have to pay someone to read your manuscript on the off chance that they might publish it?' she asked."
I, too, was surprised by the use of reading fees, but not because of unfamiliarity with the practice. My shock was in discovering that they haven't been obsoleted yet. Magazines have long since abandoned reading fees for subscription entries, where contestants get a subscription to the periodical.¹
|Earl the Squirrel's Rule #34|
In addition to the advantages for the publisher, the author gets a guaranteed audience and the entrants all get a consolation prize that might, itself, inspire them to re-enter. It's a win-win-win situation for everyone.
Meanwhile, the distinction between reading and entry fees goes from being almost moot--no, the venue using reading fees doesn't have to produce a "winner" but how long will it be in business if it doesn't produce anything?--to being completely so. Depending on the quality of submissions, an outlet using subscription entries can publish any number of volumes a year. Essentially, subscription entries do everything that reading fees do...and much more.
Let me conclude with two points:
1. Do not pay reading fees.
2. If you see anyone considering reading fees please send them here.
¹ - Or, if you prefer, you could view it as subscribers getting a free entry into the contest. Same thing.
² - An innovative publisher might even give out a prize for the best review (even if it isn't entirely positive).
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