With the proliferation of blogs written by literary magazines, there’s a whole new level of insight into the publishing process and into the personalities who make the decisions on our literary submissions. How are they feeling about the slushpile? What did they do that day (before reading our work–was it a horrible day and how many works did they reject)? What are their opinions on literary matters?
We also get to see the writing of the very editors who look at our own work. Sort of a role reversal.
But with the exception of Howard Junker (whose posts are about his daily walks and travels as much as about the litmag world), most of the blog posts try to stick to the subject at hand: work at the literary journal and issues around the industry. Virginia Quarterly just listed all the reasons for rejecting literary works. It’s a stinging but honest list of reactions that has really opened up the guts of what happens to some of our work when it goes into that slushpile.
Of course, they then made a list of glowing reviews.
And then they apologized.
Oh, and now I’ve just discovered that they deleted the entire list of reasons on the posts. I wish I’d thought to copy and paste them here. The backpedaling surprises me. The deletion of the list of reasons surprises me too. It was an entirely valid list, and encouraged honest communication. Hrm.
Btw, Literary Rejections on Display has a discussion about this very topic…and has apparently entered a dialogue with the VQR.
Other literary magazine blogs (this is just a few):
- Ploughshares has a blog…and a post on this very subject of the VQR.
- Before it sadly went under, Small Spiral Notebook blogged
- Sycamore Review blogs
- ZYZZYVA’s Editor, Howard Junker, has a blog