Dear people who cross the digital expanse and pray their submitted work gets in,
You are the champions of the literary world. If you do not view yourself as “equal to” or “greater” than the literary magazines you support, then you are looking at this culture all wrong. What is a magazine without its submitters? What does it really mean to submit?
Let’s look at the definitions of “submitting” for a moment:
v. sub·mit·ted, sub·mit·ting, sub·mits
1. To yield or surrender (oneself) to the will or authority of another.
2. To subject to a condition or process.
3. To commit (something) to the consideration or judgment of another.
4. To offer as a proposition or contention: I submit that the terms are entirely unreasonable.
(Courtesy of http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Submitters)
If applied to writers, the first definition imagines the submitter as a small kingdom who yields to an empire greater than itself. So, by this definition, writers are lesser than and must abandon themselves and their values for what they perceive as the greater good. Of course, by obeying the empire, these writers can bring glory and fame to their name.
That’s a disgusting perspective to have, but we’ll continue.
The second definition is more appropriate, though it seems to waylay the emotional ability writers have and need to submit their work. It is not just a “condition” or “process.” This definition forgets that it’s a love for the work. It’s a respect for the work. Therefore, it’s a love, respect, and need for the writer.
As the fourth definition doesn’t seem truly applicable, the third definition ascends to be our best bet. Writers committing (prose or poetry or artwork or photography) to the consideration or judgment of a magazine. Consideration seems to have a more positive connotation than judgment. Yet, while this is the most salient definition of “submitting” for the writer to bear in mind, the question for all writers to consider is “Does this magazine have the authority to judge my work?”
I will be the first to say that literary magazines do not and should not carry the pomp they brag of. The word “magazine” comes from the French word magasin, which translates to “storehouse.” Does the word translate to “publication that reaps the benefits of its contributors and is more important than them”? No.
Moreover, a storehouse must be filled with goods to function. Without the goods, there would be no storehouse. However, without a storehouse, the goods cannot be distributed. Nonetheless, I believe the ones who share their goods with the world are the better people at the end of the day.
Do I contradict myself by posting a shameless advertisement of Yorick as the picture in this post? No. It’s my job to shamelessly advertise my magazine. It’s a storehouse for crying out loud. How else are Greek citizens going to know to come here for their oil and fleece skeins?
I’ve talked with several individuals in the immediate literary community who are committed to caring for submitters. Jeremiah Walton, of Nostrovia fame, is continuously working to create projects like The Traveling Poet so that writers have more opportunities to be heard. Brittany Wright and Richard Barnhardt at The Gap-Toothed Madness have created a newsletter for their submitters and contributors detailing new ways to submit work. It’s magazines like these that appreciate the writer.
So, submitters: you are not the worthless creatures you believe yourselves to be. You are not the mercenaries who struggle to make a living by providing service to an emperor. You are the artifacts that the acolytes struggle to collect. Some artifacts are undiscovered, some are found and made public.
Whether admitting it or not, the acolyte, a wretch in torn cloth, dreams only of finding the best.
by Sam Levenberg, Staff Writer
Hello hello hello!
About two weeks ago I was in the barbershop waiting for my turn when I decided to take a look at the magazine rack. Lo and behold, the first thing I picked up was a copy of Highlights, which I used to read a lot when I was younger but haven’t looked at in years. As I flipped through the pages and laughed at all the cheesy jokes, I started to wonder if there were other children’s magazines like Highlights, and if there were any way to submit some of my more “youngish” work to them. So, I did my research and found a few that I thought to be not only promising, but interesting to boot.
Cobblestone and Calliope: These two magazines are both designed for kids between ages of 9 and 14, and are also both (primarily) non-fiction magazines. They each focus on something that has to do with history, but each on a different aspect of history. Cobblestone focuses on American History, and Calliope on World History and Cultures. The interesting thing about both of these magazines, though, is that they not only accept non-fiction pieces, but if someone submits a historical fiction piece, and if it is within the word limit, there is a chance the magazine will publish it as well. So it looks like my only shot of getting into either of these is to bulk up on my history.
Ladybug, Spider, Cricket, and Cicada are all what would probably be known as traditional literary magazines because they focus on stories and art catered towards specific age groups. Oh, I forgot to mention this before, but the magazines (in the order listed) each focus on a different age group – 3 to 6 for Ladybug, 6-9 for Spider, 9-14 for Cricket and 14 and older for Cicada. This means that these magazines are quite literally for kids of any age, which is by and far one of the coolest audience angles I have seen in regards to literary magazines. Also, I have few stories written that are kind of “youngish,” so maybe I’ll send them on over.
Crow Toes Quarterly was one that I heard about quite a bit, but my initial search provided nothing but sweet, sweet air. But, after a little more intense digging I hit paydirt! Focusing on dark humor for kids—which is kind of weird to think about, I know—Crow Toes Quarterly had published stories that fit into the horror and thriller categories (as well as other such kinds of stories). While this might not seem that appealing, I sat down and read an issue and have to say it was quite entertaining. I also sadly found out that it is no longer in publication. Yet, I thought it still necessary to give credence to because what the magazine did was absolutely brilliant. I raise my glass to you, Crow Toes Quarterly, and hope you come back soon!
So, those are the ones I found absolutely intriguing. Also, because I was interested in possibly trying to submit some of my more…“youngish”…works to these magazines, I found the submission guidelines for them (see them HERE! http://www.cricketmag.com/submissions).
So, if you also have some works that you think these magazines might like, shoot ‘em their way, and tell them I sent you. It probably won’t help you very much (most likely not at all), but do it anyways.
Loving all of you always,
by Sam Levenberg, Staff Writer
Hello out there!
While looking on the World Wide Web and in a bunch of bookstores (both big and small) for interesting literary magazines, I realized that it was a daunting task. Considering that Duotrope, a service for writers and magazines alike, hosts over four thousand magazines, anthologies, and contests of its own, I could only assume that there were thousands of different independent publications in existence, of which I needed to choose only a few.
I want to note the two precedents I set for myself to help narrow down this range to only a few publications. I didn’t pay much attention to undergraduate student-run magazines (especially those that only publish student work) or niche publications (e.g. a review of food poetry) because I wanted to consider those magazines with broader audiences and contributors as well as more diverse tastes.
And so, in no particular order, these are five literary magazines which I really liked and why I liked them:
- 32 Poems: I liked this magazine because of its premise – all their poetry is 32 lines or shorter. This singular restriction makes it so that you don’t get bogged down reading the journal. It was refreshing, to say the least, and I particularly loved the way that a lot of the authors creatively found ways to tell an entire story in such a short amount of lines.
- vox poetica: More than their actual publications, which I think I should probably have read a few more of, this magazine’s defining strength is in its website. In their mission statement, this publisher says they are interested in, “…art that pushes, or rather forcefully shoves, the boundaries.” and their website strives for this hand and foot. One of the favorite sections on their site is the “Prompts” page, where the editors post some form of prompt and ask viewers to write a poem based off it. It was a definitely a treat reading what people came up with.
- Eskimo Pie: Ohhhh kay, the first thing I liked about this magazine, before I even got into its pages, was its name. I mean, I personally love Eskimo Pies as much as I love Mallomars, so the name itself made me think of those. With a focus on all kinds of poetry, but with an abundance of haikus, this magazine was definitely and interesting read. The haikus especially made me happy for the same reason that 32 Poems’ works made me happy – it was interesting to see what people did with such a small amount of space.
- The 22 Magazine: The greatest thing about this magazine is that every edition has exactly 22 authors, no more no less. That’s what I loved about it. By confining themselves to such a specific number of authors this publication gives great focus on the work of said authors. Some of the pieces are really lighthearted and fun, some are dark and reflective, and some are indescribable. But all of it is unique, and all of it was enjoyable to read.
- Circus Book: This one I have to say I am a little more biased about because I did some work for them a little while back, so I got to know the editors and what the kind of work they put out. What I ended up liking so much about the Circus Book was that I could spend hours reading and looking through the archives on their website because they have works of fiction, non-fiction, all kinds of poetry and a plethora (yes, plethora) of artwork, almost all of which is interesting.
Please, dear readers, keep in mind that this is my opinion and is therefore heavily biased. If you know of other magazines that you feel are better than the ones I listed, feel free to tell me about them so I can check them out, because there is a very good chance they are better than the ones I listed.
With great amounts of fondness,