“The High Water Mark, a new literary journal, is seeking submissions of prose or short poetry. This is not a paid market, but more information is available at thehighwater.wordpress.com”
While this might not be as egregious as other posts on Craig’s List, this is still somebody asking writers to do something for free. Now, supposedly, this magazine is going to be published, but there’s no information on who is going to be reading it or if anybody who does read it might tap one of the writer’s for an actual paying job.
I’m a little iffy on the whole writing for the prestige of it. If it’s for a cause of some kind that I actually believe in, I might do it. But unless it was my own magazine or maybe someone I knew, it would have to be a well-known magazine for me to even consider it. And even then, why is a popular magazine looking for people to write for free? At least I would know a lot of people would see it. Regardless, an unknown magazine I have no connection with that offers no guarantees and can’t offer me anything doesn’t meet my minimum standard to write something for them in place of writing something for myself.
This could wind up being a humongous magazine and the editor could turn out to be a kingmaker amongst writers. But there are easily 300 other magazines starting out just like it that won’t go anywhere. It really depends on how much of a risk the author decides it will be. For me, that risk is too much.
As I’ve written before, you can’t expect to have people passionate about your passion and that applies to ‘free’ magazines. If you’re a writer considering this, be sure to ask if they’re going to be taking on advertisers and how much they’ll be paying per ad. If people like you are populating the guts of the magazine, why aren’t you getting paid if money is changing hands in any capacity?
If you are going to be in the wish fulfillment business, make sure they’re your wishes.