In 2001, I helped found storySouth out of the belief that a quality literary journal could exist completely online and still have an impact equal to any print publication. After all, it wasn't the medium people cared about, but the writing.
However, I quickly ran up against a big problem: Many people believed online publications weren't legitimate. The editor of one of the year's best anthologies said that while storySouth looked great, and published (in his words) very good fiction, he couldn't consider anything from our journal. Basically, he didn't consider storySouth to be a real publication.
Of course, that was almost 10 years ago, and my how things have changed. Few people today would dispute that online publications are the equal of print publications. In fact, while print magazines and journals see declining circulations, and are betting their future on electronic distribution via the Kindle and other ebook readers, online magazines are stronger than ever. We even have our own year's best anthologies.
As we start the seventh annual Million Writers Award, you may wonder if the award is still needed. To that, I shout a strong "Hell Yes!" With more online publications than ever, it can be difficult for readers to find the best online fiction out there. The Million Writers Award plays a vital role each year in promoting new and established writers, and bringing attention to worthy stories.
So yes, things have changed in the last 10 years, and I'd like to think both storySouth and the Million Writers Award played a part in creating this change. It'll be interesting to see what the coming decade brings.