By Bonnie Stanard
If you’re writing short stories and poetry and getting wholesale rejections, you can take only so much comfort in knowing that many good writers had to get their start without the help of traditional publishers—James Joyce, Zane Grey, and Ezra Pound, to name a few. Unable to interest publishers, they set about printing their own work and were eventually picked up by traditional publishers.
If your objective is to be published and you’ve hit a dead-end by submitting to literary journals, what are your options? Assuming you have enough for a book, i.e. as many as 45 poems or 60,000 words (prose), you might go to Createspace or Xilibris or another POD publisher and bring out a collection of your work. However, what if you only have a couple of 2,000 word stories? Or a handful of poems?
Self publishing is still possible, as long as you opt for a different format. What I’m suggesting is that you start your own e-zine, no easy task, but do-able if you have the heart, determination, and time to devote to the project.
There’s an incredible slew of online journals, with new ones emerging continuously. Surf the web and take a look. Some e-zines provide no masthead and don’t name the editor or staff. More often than not, the only address and/or contact is email. You don’t even need a post office box to go in business. Take a look at some of the online publications at http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/pbonline.html.
Your journal will have more credibility if you publish the work of other writers along with your own. But of course you may use pseudonyms and nobody will be the wiser. One advantage of collaborating with writer friends is to dilute the cost and the work load. A writers’ group, such as the South Carolina Writers' Workshop, presents a potential pool to draw upon.
The cost for a web host may be as low as $5 to $10 a month, but there are other expenses, such as a domain name (+/-$35). If you don’t feel confident designing a web page, free software is available, such as KompoZer or Mozilla Composer, or you may step-up and pay for Dreamweaver (+/-$400) or NetObjects Fusion, and there are others.
As for getting a website started for your e-zine, here are several places with helpful information:
You may want to read online reviews of web hosting services. Be aware that many of these reviewers are compensated by the companies they rank. The following two websites appear to take no such compensation:
The possibility exists to publish your short stories and poetry for much less expense than did Joyce, Grey, or Pound, but this doesn’t mean the work load is lighter.