Online publishing popular with writers

New writers use free web-based platforms to get published online.

Junior English major and Ivory Tower editor, Steve Vanthornout talks about writers and how they go about submitting their material for publication.

Simon Guerra

Junior English major and Ivory Tower editor, Steve Vanthornout talks about writers and how they go about submitting their material for publication.

Sadelle Schroeder

University of Minnesota literary magazine Ivory Tower will print about 1,000 copies of their publication this year, less than half  of last yearâÄôs total, as a result of a tight budget and the increasing presence of online publishing, said Editor in Chief Phil Hart.
Funding plays an important role in deciding the number of magazines published each year.
âÄúAlthough [Ivory Tower] is funded by a foundation specifically for us, theyâÄôre being very restrictive. The budgeting process was difficult,âÄù Hart said. Finding additional funds has also been difficult, as fundraising has also been restricted.
Because of Ivory TowerâÄôs affiliation to the University, staff is restricted from soliciting sponsors and must look for donations from family and friends.
University affiliation has also proven to be an obstacle in fixing the publicationâÄôs website.
âÄúWeâÄôre trying our best, but itâÄôs a lot more work than it would be if we werenâÄôt affiliated with the school,âÄù he said. âÄúWeâÄôve focused on ways we can expand our identity without spending a lot of money.âÄù
However, an overall shift in publishing trends may also be to blame.
The transition to new media as a publishing platform may have left traditional printed material behind, especially campus publications.
âÄúCollege literary journals are, unfortunately, mostly unread,âÄù said Hart. âÄúThe literary world is a lot more cutthroat and specific [than Ivory Tower] in terms of what theyâÄôre looking for.âÄù
Paired with a shift in the direction of online exhibition, this can be debilitating for a publication.
âÄúItâÄôs been difficult to adapt to online platforms,âÄù Hart said.
Paper Darts, a publication based partially online, is a literary and art magazine based in the Twin Cities and founded in August 2009.
Creative director Meghan Suszynski said the journal aims to incorporate more of a design element than other literary magazines.
âÄúMost literary magazines are pretty boring,âÄù she said. âÄúWeâÄôre hoping to appeal to a broader audience.âÄù
Suszynski said an online journal is more accessible for less established writers than a traditional magazine or publication.
âÄúItâÄôs easier to get a hold of these tools [online] than to step into an already established system,âÄù she said.
Paper Darts Managing Editor Jamie Millard  agreed that the trend was changing from magazine publishing to more online publishing and new media.
Hart, however, expressed distaste for the nature of online publishing.
âÄúThe Internet is a big anonymous dump for anything people could think of,âÄù he said. âÄúIt has popularized online illiteracy.âÄù
Although trends suggest increasing future use of online databases, Suszynski agreed there are issues with online credibility.
âÄúSome publishers donâÄôt look with as much regard to online magazines,âÄù she said. âÄúThereâÄôs a stigma against them, but thatâÄôs changing more and more.âÄù
Suszynski said Paper Darts uses mostly young authors, getting involved with writers who are still growing. For writers who havenâÄôt yet had their big break, Suszynski advised patience and revision.
âÄúSubmit as much as you can to many different journals. Even if youâÄôre rejected, keep writing and keep sending in your work. Establish yourself,âÄù she said. âÄúWork more on your pieces and give yourself room to grow.âÄù
Millard said that the type of publication a writer is submitting to should match the style of writing that the writer is comfortable with.
âÄúThe best way to get a submission published is to have a good fit with the journalâÄôs style and tone,âÄù she said. âÄúYou have to be really strategic, and find exactly the right journal for your writing.âÄù
Paper Darts continues to publish two print magazines annually, proving traditional publishing and exhibition models could never be completely replaced.
âÄúItâÄôs really important to have a printed copy. ItâÄôs the representation of the beauty of the work that can be juxtaposed with written word,âÄù Millard said.
HartâÄôs predictions for the future of Ivory Tower echoed this.
âÄúIâÄôm guessing if the money situation at the [University] continues the way it has been, itâÄôs going to be more and more online, eventually all digital,âÄù he said. âÄúPublishing was the original goal, but there wonâÄôt be enough resources.âÄù
Hart speculated that collaboration between University publications could be on the horizon, but said traditional publishing models would always exist.
âÄúWeâÄôre really striving for a publishing standard of quality,âÄù he said. âÄúPeople who are still passionate about publishing will find a way.âÄù