Our acceptance rate in 2011-2012 was approximately 8% of our submissions received.
In 2012, we instituted a $3 administrative charge for submissions that were not contest entries. Why do that? I saw other journals start to do that and I thought it was a wise choice. As a writer, I am happy to support electronic submissions because it saves me lots of hassle with running around to the post office, buying toner, buying paper, printing, stapling, SASE’ing, and buying stamps. Still, it’s a cost I wasn’t 100 % comfortable with imposing.
In 2011, I transitioned to an all-electronic submission system when I began as editor of Dogwood last year, using the wonderful submission system Submittable. We love it; it lets my student editors get hands-on experience working with submissions the right way. It also saves an enormous amount of time that used to be spent opening envelopes and hand-tracking manuscripts on spreadsheets. The necessary element for Submittable to offer its excellent service is a fee for each contest and non-contest entry, so not all of what you pay goes to us.
There was a smart roundtable on the CLMP website for members that helped me sort out my own thoughts a bit and commit to writing out my reasons for the fee. As an editor, I tried for my first year to take non-contest submissions without any fee. I saw how close we were to not making our budget: that is the hard truth. We are supported by Fairfield University, but with belt-tightening everywhere, our belts have also gotten a notch smaller. We need to have enough money to: pay our judges (which we do), pay to print our journal, and pay for advertising and web services. We don’t make a profit. There’s no money left over to go in anyone’s pockets. This is a strictly non-profit venture; if anything’s left over, it goes right back into the journal. So far, there hasn’t been anything left over. Thank you for supporting our journal and being part of this literary community.
All of the submissions are, happily, considered completely anonymously, which is another great feature of Submittable. We do not solicit submissions from our friends. This is an open field, folks.