Today I was rereading a story I wrote that was published at Soft Cartel, a literary journal that went out of business not long ago but fortunately retains its archives. I love this little story and I loved this site for publishing it. It was one of the best acceptances I ever got, actually. “I was wary of this piece and afraid that it would be a cliché, POV experiment. I was wrong in thinking that.” I do love proving people wrong, and I will always remember this acceptance because it was the first I ever recieved for a story.
Of course, now Soft Cartel is gone and I don’t know what to do with my sad little tale of a dog having a bad day. I am planning on submitting it to a few mags that print previously published material. I am hopeful I will find it a new home, but I am sad that the journal that originally published it is gone.
I see people on Twitter posting about such things, and how they search for their old poems or stories and find only dead links. How sad this is to me, that their creative sparks have been erased, and how grateful I am that at least Soft Cartel kept its archives. But for how long? Eventually someone is not going to want to pay for web hosting anymore. Eventually my story will be gone, too.
I went on Submittable the other day (for the uninformed, Submittable is a platform for sending your work to publishers.) I have two sets of poems that have been listed as “received” for the past year, and one that has been “in progress” since January. Both “received” journals claim to be open for submission, but have no dates on their work so I don’t know if they’re still in existence. If not, close your Submittable portal!!! Archive your website, or shut it down!! At least change your submission page to say that you are closed to submissions! It’s infuriating.
The other journal seems to still be producing work, so I shall bide my time a little longer before inquiring about my pieces.
I keep an extensive file of everywhere I have submitted, been rejected, or been accepted. Yes, journals come and go, but with every entry I add to my list, there is that spark of hope that makes me think “maybe this is the one.” So, it’s extra annoying when you find out that no, this isn’t the one, and they weren’t even going to let you know.
Still, I feel like it would be worse to have an acceptance, and then have the mag shut down. Your words become lost, and lonely, and begging to be read. I have a flash piece upcoming at Edify Fiction. At least, I’m under the impression that I do. It’s been nearly a year and I haven’t heard back from them about publication dates. They’re still producing, so I’m being patient, but I really like this piece and want the world to read it. I have often worried they will go out of business before I get that chance.
Someday, inevitably, something I have written will disappear forever. I do not look forward to this moment. I write to share my words with others and if I’m not doing that, then I’m not succeeding at my craft. In my opinion, at least.
Anyway, if you would like to read my little story before it disappears, you can find it HERE. I wish all my writer friends many years of successful journal publications. May we never see a 404 page again.