In the Fall 2009 issue of The Kenyon Review, Editor David H. Lynn takes on the issue of “Print vs. Internet: An Ongoing Conversion” in his consideration of where to submit his most recent story – to a print publication or to an online publication. Of course, the fact KR has started its own online edition – KRO – is thrown into the mix, as well as a status check on the professional perception of online publications.
Lynn is troubled by knowing that “Some writers…especially those who have passed through the opening thresholds of their careers, already have a book or two but have not yet been tenured or feel professionally secure, might not even submit their work to us any longer. They worry that if we chose a poem or story for Internet publication instead of print, they wouldn’t want to have to decline the offer and risk offending.”
I would respond that there is a change underway, and it will continue as more of those of us in-the-know about online publishing find our ways “in” and put ourselves in positions of making decisions and flexing the standards. I have participated in numerous hiring committees at various colleges where I have worked and continue to educate my colleagues as to the value of reputable online publications.
An interesting paradox I have seen already is the professional value placed on a self-published, POD book, while a peer-edited, online publication is dismissed. It’s not enough that we read and write and publish. We also need to involve ourselves in the work that makes professional change “institutional.”