This comment came late to Mike Young’s ‘Magazine Debasers’ essay. I wanted to post it here, because it is cute.
I hate this essay. This is all about the insular world of MFA “writing.” And if the author was at a “top tier” journal, he wouldn’t have written it. But his own journal isn’t even third-tier so he has to come up with this essay to defend it.
Truth is, most journals are full of sloppy writing, soft ideas, poor thinking, and all manner of third-rate junk.
I hate the MFA world. I am an independent: no degree, no connection to universities. I am a writer and I am published.
Here’s my criteria for submitting to a magazine. It’s simple. I just look at how much they pay. That’s number one. Second is the audience. I look at their circulation (if it’s print) or their hits / ad rate (if it’s onine). I’d sacrifice a little pay for more eyeballs, sometimes, but it’s all about the money.
In other words, 95% of those “journals” are immediate nos for me, since they don’t pay squat.
But that’s how writing should be. It’s how it used to be. If more writers went independent, and avoided the MFA schoolteacher CV “credit” world completely, then there would be less of these lame journals and maybe more real outlets that paid.
Remember, a magazine pays its writers because the magazine is professional, the writers who work for them are pros, and above all they have *readers*. These lamebrain unpaying journals don’t have any of that. Who want them? Not me.