Howard Junker brought up the interesting subject of self-publishing–literary magazine editors who choose to publish their own work. He names a few examples: The New Yorker’s David Remnick, and Brett Lott, editor of The Southern Review, who published a novel excerpt in a recent issue…and commenters also pointed out others like David Eggers. He leads out the post with his opinion on the matter:
“Fledgling writers ought to produce their own chapbooks & litmags & books, publishing their own work (and the work of their friends).
Established writers who are the editors of esteemed magazines ought to have the common decency not to publish their own work.”
Sort of an interesting intersection with my own writing life.
Recently, I was invited to become the fiction editor of a literary magazine (yay!)–one of the questions that came up in the process was what to do with the short story I’d submitted to the litmag. (I’d submitted it prior to being offered an editor position). Should I withdraw it, or should they go ahead with considering the story?
The literary journal clearly had a precedent to date of NOT publishing the work of any editors, but recently had become more flexible because a Famous Writer suggested that they put the kabosh on that policy. He’d urged to go ahead and publish their own work! So it became a topic of discussion with my unique situation.
I took the path of least resistance and controversy (my usual path when it comes to things when I don’t have a strong opinion) and said I was willing to forego publication to be the fiction editor. Also, with the exception of the names above, it sure feels like the industry standard to NOT publish the work of staff editors.
But I’m sure there are others who might be disagree or go a different route. Any opinions out there?