So we all know about the litmag dreamlist, the ones where you send submissions with a hope and a prayer. Even if you’ve been published by them once, there’s no guarantee you’ll be published by them again. I’m talking about Ploughshares, The Paris Review, Tin House, Glimmertrain, ZYZZYVA, Zoetrope or One Story for starters. My apologies if I missed one, I’m sure I have.
But now I’m searching to compose a second sort of list: a list of conscientious, good, organized, passionate litmags that are less competitive in its submissions.
The Bellevue Literary Review used to fall in this category, and now has quite a good reputation (with the accompanying competitiveness). I met the Editor in Chief, Danielle Ofri at a writer’s conference once–she’s a doctor, a mother, and an editor in chief. Doctoring and mothering are enough to monopolize her time, but so invested is she in writing that she’s also squeezed editing into the mix. This parlays, I’m sure, into the success of the Bellevue Literary Review. A friend of mine was published in this litmag, and was very impressed and flattered by how much they helped edit her accepted story before it went to print.
I’ll start the list off with Verbsap, an online litmag with one of the kindest, conscientious and most responsive editors I’ve ever encountered. No three month wait here, and the litmag is unique and contains fresh stories, some with a raw edge (think diamonds in the rough), some real polished gems. The common thread is the undercurrent of passion in this litmag. Just to note–it was a friend who recommended this litmag to me in the first place. Thanks to my buddy, and now I’m paying it forward.
Anyone got recommendations for places to submit work? Where have you had a good experience in submitting your creative writing? Where have you been impressed with the writing? Where have you been impressed by the editor?
(One of my professors, someone who has had a meteoric rise in the writing world, once asked me, “Do you know which magazine has a WONDERFUL editor?” She then went onto describe an editor at one of the “dream list” magazines above. Good to know, but in some ways the discussion felt like being a really poor person and hearing a description about how a Rolls Royce is a fantastic car, and I should consider buying one. The point of this anecdote? We’re “emerging writers” and we want to talk about something other than “the rolls royces” of litmags. )
I don’t expect much of a response, given the prickly nature of writing friendships and writing mentorship–but please, maybe you can prove me wrong. I’d like to think we can all help each other out and share information!