Monday, February 9, 2015

Seven Snazzy Online Journals

While print journals struggle to stay afloat, online journals proliferate. That gives us poets lots of choices, but also means we need to make responsible choices. Online journals are not all created equal and, quite frankly, some of them are dreadful. There’s no sense in submitting your lovely poems to a journal you wouldn’t be proud to have them in.

Print journal editors always advise us to see and read the journal before submitting. The same advice holds true for online journals. Really, there’s no excuse for not carefully checking out an online journal before submitting to it. You can do it quickly and for free.

In 2013 I posted a list of the attributes I looked for in an online journal. What I said there still applies. I also posted a list of seven online journals that were then new and which I admired.

Now in 2015 I continue to prefer a real website to a blog, though blog sites have greater flexibility these days. If using a blog site, the editor should get a real domain name so that the url doesn’t include “blogspot” or “wordpress.” I also don’t want to see a lot of sidebar material that’s typical of a blog. That can and should be removed.

I really don't want to see a black background with a light font. That design is initially striking, but is difficult to read.

I like the Guidelines to be up to date. It’s frustrating to check out a journal, see that they are open now for submissions, put together a submission, then go to the Submittable page and discover that submissions are, in fact, closed.

I particularly dislike the occasional requirement that each poem be submitted individually. What a nuisance.

Likewise, I don’t care to have to remove my name and address. If the editors want to read blind, they can just cover up the id information. Mostly, though, I think that editors should be able to read objectively with or without names.

I really appreciate Share Buttons. I made a big point of that in my previous post. Still, two years later, I’m surprised to see that many online journals aren’t using Share Buttons. They’re free! And they can dramatically increase the journal’s reach and readership. With the click of a button, poets and readers can send a link to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and elsewhere. I can’t imagine any sensible reason why a journal wouldn’t add them to each page of the journal.

Lastly, I like journals that maintain a presence on Facebook and Twitter. This should be regarded as free advertising space. Social media allows the editor to promote the journal, the poets, and the poems.

I’ve recently perused some newish online journals—or new to me—and am going to share seven of the ones that I find appealing, both for their aesthetics and their poetry.

Compose: A Journal of Simply Good Writing
Fiction, poetry, non-fiction, art
beautifully designed Table of Contents page
Share buttons

Construction Lit Magazine
Poetry, fiction, interviews, social/political commentary, essays on architecture
beautifully designed journal
submission is via email
Share buttons

Cumberland River Review
artwork and poetry, fiction, essays
reads Sept thru April
No Share buttons

The Ilanot Review
would like to see a better url (without “wordpress” in it)
but they do remove the usual blog sidebars
issues are themed
Share buttons

Menacing Hedge
poetry, fiction, interviews, reviews
No Share buttons

Radar Poetry
poetry paired with artwork
blind submissions
No Share buttons

Utter Magazine
poetry, fiction, non-fiction, interviews
No share buttons

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