Take this as an example:
About a year ago, towards the end of my senior year of high school, I had been contacted by a literary journal in another country. Right away, a red flag was thrown but I was willing to give the person behind the email a chance to explain his publication and what the magazine stood for. He was enthusiastic as he explained in broken english how he came across my blog. I returned the favour, and out of curiosity checked out his blog, where I found posts highlighting different contributors and issues of the magazine. The Contemporary Literary Horizon is "an independent, bilingual and multicultural magazine of contemporary culture and spirituality". It seemed like an interesting literary magazine, and I liked the idea of being translated into romanian. But as it was the end of senior year which got quite busy, I had forgotten about the correspondence and the opportunity that had been offered to me.
After completing my first year of college, the idea of the CLH (Contemporary Literary Horizon) came back to me. I searched through my email to find the original messages and read through them. I then checked out the blogspot to see if it was still active. I read through some of the posts, and then decided to send an email to the person that had first contacted me to see if the opportunity was still available and to show my interest in becoming involved. With the same enthusiasm, the man informed me that the magazine would love if I shared two poems with them to be translated. He also shared with me some of the perks, such as a "press card [that] will be for the beginning valid for 3 (three) months and will give you some facilities in the USA, for ex., to visit for free exhibitions or to assist for free or a low price at spectacles etc." Knowing that this was going to be happening rather quickly, I then did some digging into some of the contributors and the publication itself.
Something beyond the man's enthusiasm and poorly structured emails was bugging me, and my gut was taking control of my research. I googled some of the names that I found on their blog, and not only found their work, but also posts how they loved being part of such a publication. I then googled the magazine itself, and didn't find anything negative. Likewise, I didn't find anything that supported the existence of it either. The man behind the emails claimed to work through the University of Bucharest, saying that it was there my work was to be translated into romanian. I went to the University of Bucharest webpage, finding that they did have a department that was for publishing but I didn't find any traces of the CLH. Taking the word of those who claimed to have great experiences and hushing my gut, I sent two poems in with pure excitement.
The excitement was returned, and correspondence ended for about a week or so when I was then contacted with an attached photo of what the page would look like. Shortly after, I received another email that I was highlighted in a blog post. It seemed as if I had made the right decision, and in the email containing the photo was the information to purchase a hard copy of the journal, if I "wish"ed. It was 20 Euro for the hard copy and the shipping, and 30 Euro if I wanted two copies. It seemed a bit much, but I was happy to make such a payment for it was about the same I had paid for other publications I had been included in. As a few weeks went by, I started to realize that with my sophmore year move-in day rapidly approaching and an impromptu bus trip to visit my roommate for a week thrown in, I couldn't afford a physical copy. I sent several emails, first seeing how long I had to send a payment and then informing CLH that "due to [my return] back to university in the coming weeks I regret to say that I don't have the funds to purchase a copy at this moment."
When I look back at my responses to each of the emails, I am proud of my writing and the way that I handled each subject. I don't mean to talk selfishly, but I believe that I wrote in a professional manner, and I always thanked him and CLH for the acceptance into their publication. What I received in response was such a surprise. There was no enthusiasm, no relaxed greeting of "Stephy" as was contained in all the emails before. I can not begin to summarize such an email, so here it is:
Dear Stephanie Force,
We have receive your e-mails from yesterday.
You have not passed the test.
You'll not be published in the version on paper of CLH 4/2013 and you'll not become a contributor of our journal.
Please don't use in no way our translation into Romanian of your poems, thank you.
Which is not able to do a small sacrifice (to buy a book, a journal, to donate for a cultural project, and prefere ever to eat a tortilla in a fast food) will not receive nothing important from life in order of his aspirations.
Gotta got away, yes, but whithout any perspectives.
DD & CLHI did not change a word or typo. I was unaware that I was being tested, and that the definition of "wish" was actually "required". Also, when I set out on this endeavor of reaching out after a year, I debated using instead the email I set up for blog and writing related inquiries. I decided to use my personal account (gottagetaway18, which I set up at the beginning of high school) because it was what the correspondence originally started with. I figured it might also help with the recognition of my name and blog. I didn't think that it would actually be used in rejection of my writing and contribution. My response was as so:
What test? You reached out to a student to become involved in your publications. As a student, there are other monetary obligations that come first. Above that, you did not make it clear to me that a payment was required to be part of the journal.
Likewise, you are not allowed to use my writing in any form; online, in print, etc .
I thank you for the opportunity, but if I may, leave you with a few recommendations for future use.
1) Work on your spelling and communication skills; some of your e-mails contained several typos and broken sentences.2) Make things VERY clear to the next person you approach as to how the CLH works.\
All the best,
At the end of the day, I can say that I've been translated, but never published as so. I have no intention of using the translations that were provided to me, but it still happened. I am writing this post in hopes that if other prospective contributors do their research, they will find a story of an experience that was favourable of first, but ended due to the financial struggle of being a college student. I still believe that the CLH is an interesting literary magazine, and that they may have all the best intentions, but after my experience I can say that I will not consider nor recommend working with them. In all fairness, I believe that the broken language and structure of the emails from the CLH side is due to english not being their first language, but that is the last benefit of doubt that I'll give them.
So to all writers looking to showcase their work and become published, do your research! If you've been contacted by magazines or journals, look at other contributors and their credibility. Only you can say if a publication is right for you, and you owe it to your work to show it in places you want to list on a resume or within a bio. It can be tedious at time, but as I like to say, "even when your life is at it's end, the words you leave behind will still live on".