At our workshop this week, the CUPpers discussed the merit of submission fees and whether there is any justification in charging. Steve and I also discussed this in his hospital room. My immediate inclination was no, never pay for the privilege of submitting. Steve stated he has run across journals that only charge for electronic submissions. The rationale here is that the writer saves money on ink, paper, postage, etc. so should show their appreciation by chipping in a few bucks in the form of a submission fee. I still bristle at this.
But then I found this journal, Black Heart Magazine, which gives submitters the option of a free submission or a paid submission, the difference being he paid submission will get a full editorial critique if the piece is not accepted but the free submission will only get a generic, form-letter rejection if not accepted. This seems fair to me since there is clear value to the paid submission. However, since I am in a dynamic and effective workshop group, I think I will skip the paid submission and be happy with the face-to-face feedback I get from people I trust. In either case, Black Heart Magazine is my recommendation for submission Sunday. Guidelines can be found here.
I am also proud to note that one of CUPs own, Frank Modica, was recently published in BDM. His poem can be seen here. Congrats Frank!