is art a numbers game? (part II)

I wrote about how art may or may not be a numbers game awhile back, punctuated by Perpetual Folly’s tally of Pushcart Prize winners per literary journal. It’s an amazing list, and I’ve referred to it more than once when researching the litmag scene.

And–I’m still wondering if art is a numbers game. These days, I’m thinking it is a numbers game if you think of writing with publishing as an endgame, for publishing is a business, and business is all about numbers and perception. But you also can’t get there if you keep focusing on the numbers, for writing is about words and that is where your focus must be. Or as Howard Junker said, “Art is not a race…”

Anyway. Here is Perpetual Folly’s tally of Pushcart Prize winners per literary journal for 2008! Go calculate. But not too much. Keep writing.

Below is the truncated list:

Magazine current score (2008)

1 Ploughshares 110
2 Zoetrope: All Story 68
3 Paris Review 66
4 Conjunctions 64
5 Southern Review 60
6 Ontario Review 48
6 Threepenny Review 48
8 Tin House 47
9 Georgia Review 45
10 Epoch 41
10 TriQuarterly 41
12 New England Review 39
13 Witness 37
14 Missouri Review 32
15 Five Points 30
16 McSweeney’s 28
17 Kenyon Review 27
18 Shenandoah 26
19 Gettysburg Review 23
20 StoryQuarterly 22
21 Agni 21
21 Antioch Review 21
21 Chelsea 21
23 Doubletake 19
23 Idaho Review 19
25 Boulevard 18
25 Oxford American 18
27 Noon 17
28 Mississippi Review 15
28 Third Coast 15
28 Virginia Quarterly Review 15
31 Iowa Review 14
33 Willow Spring 13
34 A Public Space 11
34 Glimmer Train 11
34 Harvard Review 11
34 Hudson Review 11
34 Manoa 11
34 New Letters 11
34 News from the Republic of Letters 11
34 Salmagundi 11



Filed under Reading, Writing

4 responses to “is art a numbers game? (part II)

  1. …and the chances of an aspiring author getting fair consideration in 99% of those magazines listed are about the same as finding a good man in Gomorrah.
    Submitting stories to magazines is a bum’s game–you’d be better off buying a lottery ticket. Cold, over the transom sales are almost nonexistent nowadays. I’ve been writing over 20 years and the publishing biz has NEVER been more insular and incestuous (friends publishing friends) than it is right now…

  2. This list gives me some perspective. Why am I even sending stories in to Ploughshares? With numbers like that, it’s absurd.

  3. Jade, that is a really helpful list. Thanks for publishing it.

  4. So maybe I’m just living in a dream world, but these numbers and comments above make me feel better about going ahead with my homemade, DIY ‘zine. Our writing group has a particular focus and we’re all contributing work. It’s not Agni or Ploughshares but it will be a document of the work we’ve done together. Print-on-demand makes producing an actual magazine easy to do.

    I doubt any of us will be adding our ‘zine to our resumes this year but it will be a lovely artifact, treasured along with our school texts (hi Alexandra – I love my Crux ’06). Who is to say that such publications are less valuable than random journals put out by colleges with which we have no connection?

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