Well, I just finished my annual bookstore tour for Market Books of Southwest Ohio (thanks to Joseph Beth in Cincy and Books & Co. in Dayton!), and I found it interesting that this same question was asked at both locations by different groups of writers: Is it easier to get published online than in print?
The assumption I think most writers (poets included) make is that online is somehow an easier route to getting published. But I don’t think that’s necessarily true. Online or off, there is still an editor (or group of editors) looking for quality work, usually with a certain aesthetic in mind whether that be formal verse, narrative, experimental, or some other type of style.
A few years ago, one could make the argument that there were more writers submitting to print publications than online publications. However, with the global reach of established online sites and the limited print runs of literary journals, that pendulum may be swinging the other way.
It should also be noted that as online sites, such as The Pedestal and Boxcar Review, come up with money to pay writers there’s less of a resistance among writers to publish their work in one place over another. After all, what’s even better than getting your work published? Getting your work published and getting paid for it.
So anyway, here’s the short answer I give to writers at bookstores and conferences when they ask if it is easier to get published online than in print: