When online journals started competing for our attention and our poems, I sort of looked down my nose at them. They seemed tentative, not sufficiently official. I suspected that they were easier to get into. I wondered if anyone actually read them. I wondered if a publication in an online journal was considered a respectable credit.
I stuck with print journals. Then as time went on, I began noticing that a number of poets I considered major poets were publishing in online journals. I noticed that the journals were becoming more attractive, many with lovely designs. I read some articles about online journals. Then somebody somewhere said something to the effect that if you didn't have any work online you were missing the boat.
So with some trepidation I sent out several submissions to online journals. Some of them had the nerve to reject my work! Thereby disproving my suspicion that they let anybody in. But a few accepted my work. Suddenly, I was receiving fan email! I was on the boat.
Now I believe that it's a good idea to have both print and online publications.
So what are the advantages to publishing some of your work online?
1. Widespread availability of the work. You know those relatives of yours in Greece? Now they can read your work online.
2. The ability to get your work to a wider audience. If a print journal has a subscriber base of 500, then your poem is going to 500 people. An online journal could potentially reach thousands of readers.
3. The ability to widen the circle with links. You, your friends, relatives, and fans, can post links to your online publications, drawing even more readers. Have a website and / or a blog? Post the link there. Post the link on Facebook. Twitter. Any number of social networks. Email the link to your pals.
4. An assist in getting bookings. People potentially interested in booking you for a reading, a festival, or a workshop can view your work online. They might google you or ask you for links. If you send out queries for readings, you can embed a handful of links.
5. Long-term availability of the work online. Most online journals retain all previous issues in an Archive.
6. Another source for book reviews when your book comes out. As with print journals, an online journal that has published your work will most likely be receptive to publishing a review of your book.
7. Audio component with your poem. Many journals now ask poets to record their poems. I enjoy listening to poets read their poems online, and I like thinking that someone on the other side of the country or the world might be listening to me read my poems, someone who can't make it to a reading.
8. The monetary savings. It costs nothing to submit to an online journal. No more stamps, paper, envelopes. There are a few online journals that charge a small fee for a submission, but it comes to no more than what you'd spend on the paper products.
9. Faster response time. It seems to me that the turn-around time for online journals is faster than for print ones. Usually.
10. Fan mail. I don't think I've ever received a note from someone who'd seen a poem of mine in print, but I've received quite a few from people who'd seen my work online. It's easy to look up the poet's name via Google, visit the poet's website, then send an email. Some journals provide a link to the poet's website.
What else? If you have any additional thoughts, please leave them in the Comments Section.
Causes Diane Lockward Supports
The Frost Place
The Innocence Project