Submission Fees

I send out a lot of work.  Mostly short stories.  Or short short stories.  I submit to contests, literary journals, the kinds of things where there is a pot of cash and the tantalizing promise that I could win it.  Anyone can win it.  Especially me.  

Usually it’s not much money.  The reading fee, I mean.  Just enough to cover the overhead and build up the pot and ensure the continued existence of a literary journal with a unique mission.  It’s a put-up-or-shut-up show of faith, really.  Faith in what?  I'm not sure, but at ten bucks a pop I'm a true believer.  A subscriber, they call it.  But then, when I win, well, I'll get my money back and then some. 

Often, I do not win.  Usually, months later, offhandedly remembering that old contest and then obsessively refreshing their announcements page, I discover the winner.  I discover the chosen one is not me.