An experiment yields a result, sort of…

 

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Dan, Jen & Richard discuss submission fees… 

During the previous submissions window, we received some negative feedback from a couple of writers who pointed out that our process had flaws. Their main issue was that due to the length of the window, only eight weeks, they were left in limbo during this time with regards to the status of their stories. It was a fair point and we held our hands up. We listened, we assessed it and we agreed. We could do better.

 

We felt that it was better to be transparent about our process and make some promises to each writer who takes the time to write a piece for submission and then take that leap of faith and send it to us with the hope of being selected and then published.

A Manifesto was created:
– We will respond to all submissions within 7 days
– We will provide feedback on all submissions
– We will make a decision on your submission by the end of the window
– We will produce the best magazine we can from the submissions we receive
– We will continue to develop & evolve our processes and products

But, in order to give feedback to all writers, we anticipated that this would inevitably take more time and add some process pressures onto us, so we felt a fee was justified. So we implemented the fees at the start of this window.

It is a risk for any magazine or business to introduce fees when previously the process had been free of charge and we were nervous about doing it. We had genuine concerns.

Would it put people off and restrict submissions? Would it filter out those writers who send us masses of writing and encourage them to be more selective? Would it backfire on us and would our aims to improve our processes actually inhibit our ability to put out a magazine on time?

Well, yes and no.

We are now halfway through the window and we have only received 12 submissions, whereas at this point in the last window we were up to 50-60. We can only conclude that the fees have affected the rate of submission as the website traffic has been fairly strong. At this rate, we will not be producing a magazine at the end of this period, more of a pamphlet, and we do not wish to find ourselves in the same position in four weeks time.

So we’ve taken the decision to allow free submissions, but these submissions will be exempt from feedback and decisions on these pieces will be made at the end of the window. We will still offer feedback and for these submissions, the fees will still be applied.

So, where does the money go?

Well, our hopes of opening a second office in Manhattan with have to wait… It goes into producing the magazine and all that entails. We privately fund it and we are still free of advertising. To mash a metaphor or a simile or whatever it is, we’ll cross that bridge as and when we attract a big fish. We produce modest print runs that rely on unit sales to be paid for and produced. We do this mainly to keep costs down but also to reduce our own impact on the environment where and when we can.

So, we’ve made some changes again and this all comes from one thing:

Exist, then evolve.

So, we now look forward to receiving more submissions and hopefully, we’ll be able to produce an issue as excellent as AMW.3. If you still wish to support us by paying fees or donating or becoming an issue sponsor, please get in touch, we’d be delighted to hear from you.

Dan

 

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