Thursday, July 31, 2008
One Lit Journal Editor and the Mathemathics of Submissions
In an interview, the editor of a really fine lit mag, Hayden's Ferry Review, Beth Staples, who's been pretty busy lately promoting the journal, says a few things which caught my attention.
First, she came to the editor job straight from an MFA program, albeit with experience working as a graduate assistant at HFR while in grad school. Still, I'm inspired. Jobs for MFA graduates, lit jobs, do exist.
I also found her explanation of the math of submissions of interest. Of the 1,300 prose submissions they receive for each issue, about 90 percent are fiction, which makes a nonfiction writer like me quite happy – instead of competing with approximately 1,170 other submissions for a spot, if I were to submit a piece of creative nonfiction, I'd only be up against about 130 others! Well, one needs every advantage and any scrap of encouragement is useful.
And finally, speaking about how much nonfiction they do publish, I was both surprised and pleased to read:
"One thing I’ll mention is that we don’t get many nonfiction submissions. For our “Works of Witness” issue (#39), that theme really lent itself to nonfiction, and we published 4 or 5 essays. In our last issue (#42) the editors didn’t choose any nonfiction because they simply didn’t feel strongly about anything we got. We’d definitely like to see more essay submissions."
Did I mention that I do most of my submissions on what I call Send Out Saturdays? One Saturday morning a month, I spend a few hours on the marketing-submission process.
I'll be busy tomorrow.