Chinese Literature Today Magazine Website Up and Running
By Canaan Morse, published
The website for Oklahoma University's virgin publication Chinese Literature Today is up here, and it looks like they're working on it daily. It (the website) is appearing two steps ahead of CLT's inaugural issue, due to be published this July.
The journal will be published bi-annually, and July's print run will be around 3,000 copies, according to Assistant Editor Julie A. Shilling. At the present moment, subscriptions can only be ordered by emailing CLT directly at CLToday@ou.edu, but Julie has assured me that an online subscription system (something like MetaPress) will be up soon. Paper Republic puts forth a strong collective showing in this issue, with Eric Abrahamsen (fiction, Bi Feiyu), Lucas Klein (poetry, Xi Chuan) and I (essays, He Qifang) all with pieces set for publication.
The whole enterprise seems prepared for a starry start, but there is one issue I find worthy of attention, namely, compensation. When the Call for Submissions came out last winter (posted on PR here), there was no clear statement made as to whether or not the magazine would pay for what it decided to publish, and the email I sent in that regard received no response. Now, I see that the Submission Guidelines page includes the single sentence, "Contributors will receive a free copy of the issue in which their work appears," which, if you calculate based on subscription rates, would be the equivalent of $10--if your work were the only one appearing in the magazine.
I understand that there are plenty of low-circulation lit mags out there that say up front, "We're too poor to pay for your work," but this is not a pure lit mag, it's an academic journal. Every work to be published through it will have been produced at an estimable cost, i.e., the cost of the text, its procurement, analysis and interpretation, which is arguably as high or higher as that expended by an original author, with whom we must negotiate ourselves for the right to publish his or her work. I concede that personal experiences influence my argument, having paid 500 kuai at auction for an original text not to be found in libraries here, etc., etc., and I apologize if this sounds like complaining. If CLT had made it clear from the beginning that they were only prepared to offer one copy in exchange for published submissions, I would have submitted anyway, and this addendum would not be here. It is merely that even now I have begun to feel a gap in understanding between publishers and translators, and it causes me to worry.
Amendment: I see that my objection in this case is not as well-supported as I thought it to be, and that my tone distracted from the original intent of this post, which was merely to highlight the opening of CLT's web site. I am grateful for your correction.