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Chinese or French cuisine? Purple or green dress? A perplexed author’s dilemma about print or online publication….

Print or online publication?

Until a few years ago, there was no question in my mind that my literary efforts in short stories and personal essays must appear in print. The more known or prestigious the publication, the more I will enjoy the golden stardust of recognition and literary glory.

Last year, however, I found myself in an interesting new spot: When my story was accepted for publication by a respectable literary print magazine, I asked the editor whether he would also post the digital version on their website. I surprised myself that I was disappointed when he replied that they only featured one piece per issue online; they still wanted readers to BUY the publication. (What an fresh notion!)

The print publication came and went, reaching a few hundred very select, discerning literary intellectuals. Or so I hoped. I was even paid handsomely for the piece—a rare occurrence, which my accountant insists upon in order to justify my writing-related expenses.

A few months later, an international event made me want to see this particular story up online. I obtained permission from the first publisher and gave the story to a website that featured it prominently. This version has been circulating around the globe. Literally. It is there for posterity. I have a link to it from my website.

Since then I have been debating with myself whether to strive to get published in prestigious print publications or to see my short pieces appear in eZines. I cannot even get information whether these are high-traffic websites. They say they are. They look good. The quality of material published is excellent. (Oh, there are so many good writers out there….) To the best of my knowledge there is no ranking such as the Pushcart credentials.

The question has risen again a couple of weeks ago when a publication I liked and to which I had submitted a story that was accepted notified me that they were moving almost exclusively to online publishing; a print version may come out only once a year. I withdrew my piece, but the doubts are gnawing me.

How do you make your decision?