I’d Like to Use a Lifeline

Posted by @ 9:00 am on October 9th, 2009


There are all kinds of how-to books out there about writing focusing on the craft both broadly and narrowly. What I don’t see are a lot of books or other resources out there for how to start and sustain a literary magazine.

I’m really interested in publishing and seeing magazines succeed. Often times I see small magazines floundering not because they’re not trying hard but because they don’t know what they’re doing. This makes me sad. I think it would be great if an experienced editor could toss them a reliable lifeline unlike the lifeline the brain trust in the video below received.


For a while now, I’ve been kicking around the idea of developing an encyclopedia of sorts for editors or wanna be editors—a series of articles or essays, written by editors of journals new and established, discussing what it takes both logistically and conceptually to run a good literary magazine. Topics might include determining editorial scope, mission and focus, recruiting staff, establishing an aesthetic, creating an online presence, handling submissions, developing relationships with writers, defusing angry writers, doing good in the world, design, how to get your magazine printed, fostering an environment that’s open to innovative work and so on.

What kinds of topics would you include in this project? What kinds of things do people need to know before they embark on the folly of running a magazine? Who’s in?

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