An Editor’s High-Priced Advice


Submission fees irk writers because they often prey on novice writers without the connections to bypass slush piles. Narrative Magazine is one of the worst offenders, with a fee of $23, seven times the typical fee of $3. Narrative justifies the high fee because they fund publication of the magazine—and the editors’ hefty salaries. Now, co-founder Tom Jenks wants readers to buy his new book on craft, A Poetics of Fiction, for $225. Jenks defends the high cost because proportionally he charges writers a lot more for workshops. Over at Electric Literature, Kelly Luce offers up this rebuttal:

This is such bullshit, and it’s offensive to writers who have written both critically acclaimed, beloved works of fiction as well as fine craft books–many of which discuss diction, point of view, characterization, patterns of imagery, plot, and theme. And they cost less than thirty bucks.

Ian MacAllen is the author of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2022). His writing has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, Southern Review of Books, The Offing, 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, and elsewhere. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at More from this author →