Paper Dreams

September 10, 2013 § 3 Comments

paper-dreams-front-210x300In tandem with the launch of the new anthology, Paper Dreams: Writers and Editors on the American Literary Magazine, compiled and Edited by Travis Kurowski, Atticus Books has hosted a discussion with Richard Peabody, Steve Himmer, Roxane Gay, Dave Housley, Kelly Forsythe, Jen Michalski, and Jessica Poli on the subject of what lit mags can be and how they can prosper.

We think it is an excellent discussion (and not just because they are kind enough to mention Brevity.)  Here is an excerpt followed by a full link:

Dave Housley:  As a writer, I think you need to curate your own career, meaning you should be looking at the magazines that are publishing the writing you’re interested in. Where is that conversation happening? That’s where I think you want to be focused.

That might be Asimov’s or Ellery Queen or PANK or Diagram or Smokelong or Brevity. Wherever that conversation is, those are the top whatever number magazines for you at that particular moment. That’s what I always tell people in my writing workshops, at least: you can send your stuff out to The New Yorker, but especially if you’re just starting out, you should probably be looking in different places. The community you’re looking to join isn’t the Jonathan Franzen/Joyce Carol Oates community. It’s one that’s happening in a lot of different places, depending on where you are in your writing. I think if you’re smart, and really engaged and looking at this in the best possible way, then finding these places is like a life raft and it can really help carry you along.The New Yorker is not going to be your life raft, but maybe Atticus or PANK or Barrelhouse can be.

I used to play basketball, and I think about writing in the same way: if I’m looking to improve my game, I’m not hoping to hop in and play with LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, or anybody in the best possible league in the world. I want to find people who are working at the same things I’m working at, who are maybe a little further along and better than me, and that’s the game I’m going to try to join.

Link to Six Degrees Left: Loving Lit Mags (Part One)

Sol: English Writing in Mexico

July 24, 2013 § Leave a comment

2013-02-12 11.09.34“Sol: English Writing in Mexico,” an online literary magazine, seeks literary nonfiction submissions. Next deadline: September 1, 2013. We also publish fiction and poetry, but are especially looking for quality literary nonfiction. We have just published a book of selections from the first three years of the online magazine “SOL English Writing in Mexico” which is available on Amazon. All of the profits from the readings and book sales generated by Sol go to at-risk Mexican youth through the local chapter of PEN International. For submission guidelines and to see the magazine


Sol: English Writing in Mexico

October 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

Sol: English Writing in Mexico, an online literary magazine, seeks literary nonfiction submissions. Next deadline: January 1, 2013. We also publish fiction and poetry, but are especially looking for quality literary nonfiction.

We have just published a book of selections from the first three years of the online magazine, SOL ENGLISH WRITING IN MEXICO, which is available on Amazon.

All of the profits from the readings and book sales generated by Sol go to at-risk Mexican youth through the local chapter of PEN International. For submission guidelines and to see the magazine go to

Behind the Scenes at Brevity

November 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

Brevity editor Dinty W. Moore will be at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis later this week, with a public reading Friday at 7 p.m.  The Loft’s blog featured an interview with him recently, including some thoughts about  Brevity submissions:

In addition to being a writer and professor, you edit the online journal Brevity. Can you talk about that experience? How does working as an editor impact your writing? How do you find a balance? What are you seeing too much of/not enough of in terms of submissions to the journal?

Editing a journal is both a fascinating and humbling experience. There are so many good writers out there, and I wish we had the time and space to feature all of them. But the sad fact for Brevity, and so many literary journals, is that we are a cash-strapped, time-constrained volunteer organization, so what we can do is a tiny portion of what we wish we could do. I’d love to see our magazine come out weekly, or monthly, for instance. But then I would have to let go of all of my other work, including writing, and teaching, and sleeping.

What do we see too much of? Writing that doesn’t dig down into the experience. Writing of the “look, this happened, and I’m making it into a scenic narrative” sort, without any surprise or risk being taken. Also, writing that doesn’t exercise the language. Our journal limits submissions to 750 words or less, so we want writers who make every word count.

The full interview HERE


Fourth Genre and the Second Sex

April 14, 2011 § 13 Comments

“The most mediocre of males feels himself a demigod as compared with women.”

So, we’re guessing that got your attention, and also proved that we can make a Simone de Beauvoir reference as well as the next blogger.  Our point?  The excellent nonfiction literary journal Fourth Genre has released its VIDA numbers (ratios of male to female authors submitting and published) in response to the question of whether women are under-represented in magazines due to various gender-based biases. If you missed the VIDA article, click here.

Fourth Genre‘s numbers seem to reinforce what guest blogger William Bradley suggested on this very blog, back when we revealed our own gender ratios.  Bradley wonders if perhaps magazines devoted to nonfiction — Brevity, Fourth Genre, Creative Nonfiction, River Teeth, for example — have better female representation because “the lack of preconceived notions about what nonfiction is and what makes it good somehow spares it from the unintentional institutional sexism that might pervade other genres.”

Here are Fourth Genre‘s comprehensive charts.  They’re posted to Facebook, so we’re not sure if the non-Facebookies amongst you can even access them.  We hope so.  [UPDATE: Fourth Genre has now posted a page of charts for those who can’t access the FB site.]

And we’ll close with one more thought from Simone:

“Representation of the world, like the world itself, is the work of men; they describe it from their own point of view, which they confuse with the absolute truth.”

Yes, You CAN Tell People: On Writers and Self-Promotion

March 12, 2011 § 33 Comments

A graduate student here at Ohio University had a nice literary magazine publication recently, and when I asked him for details, so I could share his good news with others in the program, he e-mailed back, “I’m not really one for self-promotion (makes me feel a little icky).”

I hear this often – “I don’t like self-promotion” or “she’s so self-promoting”– as if it were a horrible literary transgression to make the results of one’s considerable effort known and available.  Why is it shameful, after having worked very hard at something, and had some success in seeing it to publication, to then tell folks?  I don’t get it.

Sure, we’ve all seen authors push their work and accomplishments rudely, brazenly, and stupidly, especially in the era of Facebook. Does this mean we must rule out all mention of one’s publications, however? Must all good news and honest celebration be labeled with the same nasty brush?

Consider. Where would we be as writers (and how would our publishers ever survive) if no one ever told anyone that they had published a poem in The Kenyon Review or a book with University of Nebraska Press?  The ship of Independent Literary Publishing is not exactly sailing in a sea of money right now, so why do we as writers go out of our way to make sure we aren’t helping out at least a bit?  Trust me, the editor of the small literary magazine would be thrilled if three of your friends subscribed, or even bought one issue.

And it isn’t always about money, of course.  Most of us in the writing/publishing community would agree that the literary arts are not enough valued in our culture, so how does sneering at any author who makes even the smallest mention of their latest publication help that along? Let’s hide that light under a million bushels.

Listen.  If one of my friends publishes something, I want to know. Sometimes just for the ’feel good’ moment.  Sometimes so I can track the poem down and read it.  But I’ll never know, if all mention of one’s publications is seen as conceited self-promotion.

So let’s be reasonable. I’d like to propose a few guidelines for the sharing of literary success.  If you agree, please share these guidelines with others, and please share your good news:

1.     Self promotion is when you spam all of your friends and those who are barely friends and repeatedly say “buy my stuff,” or “look at my stuff.”  We don’t need daily updates.

2.     Self promotion is NOT when you share good news with fellow strugglers (like grad students in your program, or the faculty who are rooting for your success).  That’s just being part of a supportive community.

3.     To my mind, even a link on Facebook, or on your blog, or as a signature line in your e-mail (subtle, not blaring), is NOT self promotion, at least not the bad kind that folks want to scorn and avoid.  Certain people wish to know your good news, or read your poem, or buy your book, so it is fully acceptable to tell them that the work is now available.  It is, in fact, inconsiderate not to tell them.

4.     Tell them once, of course, not fifty times, and give them a clean link rather than e-mailing PDFs of everything you’ve ever written.

5.     If you assume your friends would hate you for your success rather than be pleased for you, maybe it is time to look for new friends.  Or look at yourself.

6.     Writing is not bad.  Publishing your writing is not bad.  Don’t treat it as if it were.

— Dinty W. Moore,  editor, Brevity

Junk: A Literary Fix

November 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

From Brevity contributor Tim Elhajj (along with Holly Huckeba), a new online nonfiction magazine, Junk

Here’s their description:  We’re a nonfiction literary magazine that focuses on addiction, but you don’t have to be an addict to submit to us. Do you have a story, photograph or artistic expression that lends some insight into what it means to be filled with need, to have some insatiable craving or infatuation? Or perhaps you’d like to weigh in upon what’s it’s like to know someone who behaves like this. Or maybe you’re one of the people who doesn’t believe in addiction. Maybe you think Tiger is making excuses. All that’s fine. We’d love to see it.

Too often stories about addicts appear in the same tired circumstances, saying the same worn out things. We want something new, something different. All we ask is that its good. Interesting. That it makes us want even more. And it has to be true.

Submit to Junk.

2010 Chautauqua Nonfiction Contest

October 13, 2010 § 1 Comment

Send your submission between August 1 and November 1, 2010.

Prize: $1,000 and publication in Chautauqua, the literary journal of the Chautauqua Institution. Winner and finalists receive a copy of the journal. All manuscripts considered for publication.

Essays should address the theme of nature and the natural world.

via Chautauqua Writer’s Center – Contest Information.

Sweet on Sweet

September 11, 2010 § Leave a comment

We’ve been fans of Sweet since the beginning, but love them all the more since the web redesign, and the addition of graphic narratives:

Sweet ( publishes emerging and established writers three  times a year–September, January, and May. Past contributors include: Lee Martin, Tim Seibles, Lee Ann Roripaugh, Anne Panning, Aimee Nezhukamatathil. Sweet seeks only poetry and creative nonfiction and graphic nonfiction.

Sorry, fiction writers!

We read submissions all-year. Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please notify us immediately if your work has been  taken by another literary journal (we’d like to be the first to congratulate you).  Our preferred submission size is 3-5 poems. For creative nonfiction, we prefer 2-3 short-short creative nonfiction pieces or one  longer one. Essays should not exceed 3,500 words total.


Sweet now welcomes submissions of previously unpublished nonfiction cartoons, graphic narratives and photo essays that demonstrate both  artistic and literary merit. We are interested in traditional forms and  new innovative techniques. Submissions can be in color or black and  white. Please format submission in a single .doc, as a .pdf or a .jpg  series. We accept submissions through our online submission manager. Along  with your attachment, please include a brief cover letter and  bio with  your submission.

Also, after sending us a portfolio of work, please wait to hear back before sending another.

Any questions about submissions, please email: editors (at) sweetlit (dot) com

Brevity Blushes

September 8, 2010 § 1 Comment

Brevity 34, the September 2010 issue, is just seven days away from launch, but in the meantime, we are blushing a bit at the kind words about  Issue 33 just posted to the excellent Essay Daily Blog.  Here’s an excerpt, but Brevity fans will want to read the entire review, and have portions of it tattooed on their lower extremities:

The most recent issue of Brevity does make me think, with a flutter of hope, that perhaps I can commit myself to something as formal as reading an issue of a lit rag cover to cover (figuratively speaking, of course). With what little hands-on experience I have regarding editorial decisions for a magazine, I still can’t help but give mad props to Brevity for its fantastic composition. The journal, complete with its 14 essays ranging from topics of memory to craft, does an excellent job of revealing to an astute reader (or one assigned the opportunity to review a literary journal) the range of the form. Using texts as short as 188 words (that’s less than a third of the requisite cap for entry, FYI), “Issue 33” finds a way to pair themes, styles, methods, and approaches for nearly every essay in the journal. This ability to seamlessly braid the journal’s text using so many considerations not only gives Brevity a cohesive structure, but a jump-off-the-screen substance that compensates for any sans-technology protests one might make about this online literary journal.

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