Ask literary journals, not users, to shoulder monthly fees
This petition had 125 supporters
Duotrope is a premier destination for both novice and established writers looking to find publication for their work. In addition to listing submissions information and deadlines for more than 4,500 literary journals and publications, the site also offers a built-in submissions management tool, allowing users to easily track their previous and outstanding submissions to multiple journals.
In the past, Duotrope has prompted users to consider donating a small amount each month to help keep the site afloat and available for free to everyone. On December 1, site owners announced that these voluntary contributions consistently have not brought in enough money to make ends meet, and that only 10 percent of those who use the site have ever contributed.
Their proposed solution is to ask users to purchase either monthly subscriptions (at the rate of $5/month) or yearly subscriptions (at the rate of $50/year) for access to the site. Individuals who do not subscribe will only be able to view basic information about listings, and will not be able to search, browse the index, access the calendar of upcoming deadlines, manage their submissions or receive weekly updates via email.
We understand that financial stability is important for the future of Duotrope; however, asking users to shoulder the site’s costs is the wrong means of achieving that goal and counterintuitive to its aim of connecting writers and publications.
If users are asked to shoulder the site fees, many will cease using the site, making it more challenging to find venues for their writing. With the best of the site’s features behind a paid firewall, emerging writers will never discover this wealth of resources.
Asking users to pay for access to the site will also negatively impact literary journals, who will no doubt see their number of submissions decline as a result of this change. Many small and new journals depend on their exposure through Duotrope – particularly the calendar feature – to drive new writers to their sites.
For these reasons we are asking Duotrope to make its services available for free to all writers and instead ask the publications listed on its site to shoulder the fees.
If each of the 4,500 publications listed on the site were asked to contribute for the privilege of having their information and deadlines listed, Duotrope could bring in enough funds to stay afloat. If all publications contributed, the site could bring in between $225,000 (calculated at the yearly rate) and $270,000 (calculated at the monthly rate) per year.
We understand that many literary publications operate on no or limited budgets and that asking them to shoulder the cost would no doubt mean that a small number would no longer be able to list their details on the site. However, without the exposure their Duotrope listing provides, many of these publications would not receive enough submissions to continue to be able to produce a quality product, meaning they would be forced to shut down or pay for advertising elsewhere. Paying $5/month or $50/year, in the end, still makes the most financial sense for those operating literary publications.
Please sign this petition to let Duotrope know that you support asking literary publications – not users – to shoulder the site’s fees.
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