Friday, September 21, 2018

Submission Fees, Disability, and Poverty

According to the 2016 Disability Statistics Annual Report (in the US):

  • 39.5% of disabled adults ages 18-65 are employed, while 76.6% of able-bodied, neurotypical people are employed.
  • Disabled people earn about a third less than their peers when they do work.
  • The percentage of able-bodied, neurotypical people living in poverty is 13.1% compared to 20.9% for us.  
I'm going to be bold and say the percentage of disabled people living in poverty is higher.  Why?  Because the report claims disabled people are only 12.8% of the population, and the CDC disagrees (click for link).  I realize the studies are two (maybe three) years apart, but the gap in time wouldn't account for such a drastic increase. 

We equal about half of the people living in poverty in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Entry fees are no longer an indication of a literary contest scam, and the average fee is $20.  Yes, fee-free contests still exist, but nearly all "prestigious" ones are pay-to-play.  At least most contests charging fees give entrants a copy of the winning book or a magazine subscription.

Literary magazines charging submission fees are also more common.  While no hard numbers exist, I'd guess around 25% of "top-tier" literary magazines now have a mandatory $3 toll (sometimes more, rarely less) writers must pay in order to traverse the road to publication. Writers receive nothing except a decision for their cash.  The vast majority of writers receive more rejections than acceptances.
Right now, I have twenty-nine submissions out to literary magazines and presses.  If the pattern of percentage holds across all literary magazines, I would have paid $21.75 just to see my work safely to editors' doors.  I'm also the not-so-proud owner of over fifty rejections for 2018 (so far).  I don't have enough money to waste on someone else's "no".

Disabled people are the world's largest minority group.  In many of the "First World" nations, we are a big chunk of the population in poverty.  Less money means less opportunity to submit our work.  Submission fees are just another way disabled people are kept out of publishing and literary communities.
A few final notes:

1.  The percentage of literary magazines charging fees might be wildly incorrect.  I took a few lists of top-tier magazines and counted how many required fees.

2.  Poverty also intersects race.  Our non-white siblings are at an even greater disadvantage, though I couldn't find definitive numbers evidence indicates this is truth.

3.  I did look into other countries' statistics, focusing on the "developed" ones.  I used more resources for my figures, but I didn't wish to bore anyone with lists.  For anyone truly curious, I'll provide them if you ask.

No comments:

Post a Comment