Saturday, March 1, 2014

Page to Pixels: What About Online Journals?

This week, we’re taking a little break from prompts to consider online journals and publishing poems in them. Maybe your goal this week will be to look through your poems and see if there are any you might like to submit to a couple of online journals.

Imagine this scenario: you’ve just written a poem that feels right in every way, and you have several others that you’d love to see published. There are, of course, dozens of print journals to which you might submit your work, (some with long publication histories and sterling reputations), but there are also an increasing number of online journals. Maybe you’re a bit wary of publishing online, concerned about plagiarism and copyright issues. Or maybe you feel that print publications have always carried greater prestige and authority partly because there’s an underlying assumption that anyone can publishing anything online, and that print publications offer greater credibility to writers. It’s also been thought that print editors and publishers have higher standards and will only print what is generally considered worthwhile or valuable. This isn’t necessarily true, though I do believe that print issues suggest both permanence and gravitas. It is true, however, that online journals are easily established and easily dissolved.

I must admit that, while I came to online journals somewhat reluctantly at first, it’s impossible not to pay attention to the movement from page to pixels, specifically a changed accessibility for poets and poems,

When it comes to online journals, the better ones have many pluses:

1. Online journals have a potentially global reach, which will bring your work to a much larger audience than most print journals.
2. Because the “market” is larger and the venue accessible, you have a better chance of receiving feedback.
3. Accessing your poems is more convenient with online publications. Readers don’t have to purchase or subscribe to the journals in which your work appears, nor do they have to look through library and bookstore stacks for such journals (often without finding them).
4. Response time is often much quicker with online journals than it is with print journals.
5. You can link to your online publications easily through social media, blogs, and websites, thus making it quicker and easier to share with friends and colleagues.
6. We’ve all come across typos in print journals; and don’t you hate it when your name is spelled incorrectly? Online journals may occasionally appear with a typo, but they’re not written in stone in the same way that print journals are—there’s no final product, and errors can be corrected very quickly.
7. These days, writers are often defined by their web presences.

Look for Online Journals

·      that don’t charge a reading fee,
·      that were once print journals with strong reputations that have switched to online formats,
·      that archive poems they’ve published so that your poems remain accessible (you don’t want to allow an online journal to publish your poems and then remove them from the website—you want to be able to link to those poems at any time, while the publication is current and long after),
·         that are visually pleasing, well-designed, and professional looking,
·      that are easy to navigate,
·      with established reputations for excellence,
·      that don’t have inordinately long response times,
·      that are open to previously published works to which you hold the copyright,
·      that are open to simultaneous submissions,
·      that are website-based rather than blog-based,
·      that publish both new and established poets.

As with print magazines, it’s paramount to read and follow individual guidelines for online journals. These can and do vary. Most importantly, be sure to read a few issues of the online journals you’re considering for submissions (happily, that’s easy enough to do). Reviewing what journals have already published is the best way to determine whether or not your poems are suited to editorial style and content preferences.

Despite the thinning ranks of daily newspapers and small press print journals, it’s safe to say that for now, at least, print journals are still far from going the way of dinosaurs. I’m grateful for that because I love the feel of paper in my hands when I read, but I’ve also come to “hold” a number of online journals in high esteem. It seems to me that as long as the print media survive, we can have the best of both worlds when it comes to publishing poetry.

By way of sharing, click the links below to read a few of my poems published online and archived in Ragazine, IthacaLit, and Rose Red Review.

A Baker’s Dozen of Recommended Online Journals:

Avatar Review –
Canary –
Fogged Clarity –
Loch Raven Review –
Ragazine –
Reprint Magazine –
Rose Red Review –
The Innisfree Poetry Journal –
Valparaiso Poetry Review –

A resource for online journals:


  1. VERY interesting, Adele , and something I've thought about quite a lot. With your suggestions, I feel more comfortable now sending poems to online journals. Thank you!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Jamie! I'm glad to hear that you feel more comfortable about online journals now!

  2. I've always been wary of online poetry journals but checked out the ones you recommend and was pleasantly surprised at how professional they seem to be. Thanks for this post.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Anonymous! There are a lot of very good online journals, and I'm happy to be able to introduce a few of them here.

  3. Replies
    1. You're welcome, Risa! I hope you submit to some of the online journals!

  4. Thanks for posting the links to your poems in online journals. Your poems are superior (prose poems interest me greatly), and seeing them gave me a very good idea of what those online journals look like, how they archive, and how easy it is to navigate them. I like the accessibility of online journals, though I have to admit that I was skeptical before reading your post. Thanks again.

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words, Rich! I'm very glad that you enjoyed the poems and the post.