Thursday, January 17, 2019

Confingo magazine, and online versus print publication.

I'm delighted to say that another of my stories has been accepted by the excellent Confingo Magazine. It's yet another of the stories I've been writing recently that touch on particularly contemporary issues - though, as I say, the real heart of these stories for me is the particular personal dilemmas for their protagonists. Publication won't be until October, as the forthcoming Spring issue is now more or less decided. In the days before online magazines this was the norm with story submissions - a good wait between acceptance and publication, but recently I've been experiencing the more quick-fire publishing schedules of online magazines. My story 'Kiss' was published in MIR Online in December within two or three weeks of acceptance and, 'Bitter, Horned', accepted only last week, will appear on Litro on 10th February. It would be easy, in view of this, to get impatient with the slow process of print publication, but there are pros and cons. For one thing, there's really nothing like having a print copy of something you've written, and online magazines can disappear and along with them their stories. Salt's Online Magazine, Horizon Review, on which I had had three stories published, 'The Choice Chamber', 'What Do You Do If' and 'Possibility', was deleted from their site. Luckily they had been captured by the WayBack Machine web archive, so I was able to provide links to that, but when I discovered recently that the defunct online magazine The View From Here had disappeared altogether I was quite unable to retrieve the story of mine they'd published, 'Tides: How Stories Do or Don't Get Told': not a single one of the snapshots the WayBack Machine had taken of the magazine included its page. It's just fortunate that that story (along with the three others) is included in my Salt collection, Used to Be (and, before that, in Best British Short Stories 2014). Print publications, after all, last forever, and Confingo is indeed a classy publication (with beautiful artwork) that you'd want to keep.


Tim Love said...

Speak to academics and librarians and you find out it's a big issue more generally. Why publish anyway?
* To announce that you've written (or discovered) something - the web's good for this.
* So people can read your work - online publications are read far more than paper ones, especially amongst the young.
* So your work can be preserved - but do copyright libraries take many paper magazines nowadays?
* To gain status - the gain depends on the status of the publication, which in turn depends on longevity and the quality of the contents. Paper publications from a university used to be reliable, but they're disappearing fast. Academic journals often have an "impact factor" indicating how worthwhile publication in them is. Some online academics journals are gaining on the established ones.
BBSS pieces come from online and paper sources. Some paper sources (Stand?) seem rather neglected. By the way, is a literary start at building an impact league table. Someone should do a UK/Eire one.

All in all it's not clear to me that paper publication is much more reliable than web publication either in terms of impact or archiving. And the situation for paper journals can only get worse. One option for achiving is to store your work in the cloud. It's free, and you can use it as a backup. You can keep it private, putting alongside your will some instructions on how to make it visible to all. If that's what you want.

Elizabeth Baines said...

Vey interesting points, Tim. I guess there's a difference between things lasting on one's own shelf and lasting in the public domain. I suppose what I'm thinking of is the retrievability of work, ie its lasting ability to move back into the public domain if its public platform ceases to exist.