August 21st, 2010 / 12:41 pm
Snippets

Every time you complain about literary magazine submission response times a little baby in heaven gets its hands chopped off.

175 Comments

  1. Hank

      I think babies in heaven are doing just fine, hands or no.

  2. Editor of crummy mag

      Here’s what’s happening with ours – we found a great submission in November from someone who’d submitted four or five maybes over the previous couple of seasons. So right away we signed him up, and that was our only slush pile slot. Now I have to dig through and reject literally 1,000s of submissions. And unless something is good enough for me to embarrass myself and reject one of the authors I’d solicited from, nothing will get through. So there’s no incentive to read at all, it’s just pure shitwork. So I am months and months behind, but I know I’m not missing anything since there’s no space what-so-ever. Best someone can expect is a kind rejection.

      (Update: I think we’ll run another slush piece online)

  3. Blake Butler

      hm. ok. thank you. why open submissions at all

  4. Mike Meginnis

      What happens to the babies when editors complain about writers?

  5. Ridge

      the handless babies attempt to high-five, fail, attempt again.

  6. Editor of crummy mag

      I know, I know… in a way I guess we’re looking for relationships to cultivate, but is it really worth being strung along for years by a literary mag?

  7. Sean

      No, a baby in hell gets set free.

      People still complain about submissions??

      I suggest disc golf or heroin or Shark Week.

  8. Sean

      Can’t imagine why your mag is crummy because you have a winning attitude

  9. King Kong Bundy

      Ha. Winning attitude.

  10. Blake Butler

      distribution of beefy Ts

  11. Mike Meginnis

      ;)

  12. MFBomb

      Blake Butler hates writers.

  13. Owen Kaelin

      What bugs me is when 8, 10, 12, 14 months pass by and I haven’t heard from them. Sure, everyone advises “it’s not unkind to send a gentle reminder” . . . but I just don’t like sending gentle reminders.

      “Hey, um… remember me?”

      At any rate, at some point I just got tired of the whole thing, and decided to just concentrate fully on the longer projects I’d been working on, and figuring maybe I’ll send out some excerpts later on.

      I probably ought to start sending out submissions again. Can’t say it’s fun, exactly… .

  14. Ridge

      Why? Because he champions new writers and writing on a daily basis? If so, we could use more people who “hate” writers.

      I also suppose you could be joking, MF Bomb, in which case I apologize for my remark.

  15. MFBomb

      Ridge,

      You must be new here. Blake routinely tells writers to “STFU,” “know their place,” “never question authority,” “suck it up,” etc. in between championing the same three or four writers.

      Now, I still think he’s a cool dude, and most likely a nice guy in person, but this act of belittling his site’s readers is tiresome, childish, and almost a form of bullying. It’s easy to talk shit when you’ve already “made it” (relatively speaking). I’m not the first one to point this out, either.

  16. Tim

      I’ve always thought that gentle reminder thing was a load of sour bologna sandwiches. I figure if they’d liked the piece or had a place for it I would have heard already. So it just seems annoying for both parties.

  17. Tim

      The reverse of that was true when I was an editor too. We sometimes misplaced stuff in our bags but only after we’d decided to reject it. When we wanted something we moved fast. Ever since then I’ve been okay with magazines that don’t promise a response if it’s negative, since it’s so strongly implied anyway.

  18. Blake Butler

      i like people. i don’t like writers. i don’t like people who id themselves by what they do. and fussies.

  19. Blake Butler

      heh, i didn’t realize i was repping ‘never question authority’ around here hmm

  20. MFBomb

      I like people too, and writers are people. Also, this is a site about writing, writers, and publishing, not a site about “people.”

  21. Blake Butler

      well that’s where you’re wrong, dad.

  22. Owen Kaelin

      Exactly. Not too long after I first began sending out material, I began to figure: 1-4 weeks for a response means they’re sure they don’t want it. 4-6 months means they’re interested but aren’t sure yet or are uneasy about it (and they’ll eventually decline). 7 months means they’ve been holding on to it, but forgot, in the end, to make the decision to reject it (or just plain didn’t feel like it… I know the slush piles for print mags can be thick and tedious).

  23. Pontius J. LaBar

      Wait, why submit to literary journals at all? You must be the same people that put on the rubber suit before you know the safe word.

  24. MFBomb

      Have you been huffing paint again, son?

  25. Owen Kaelin

      Um… so literature is not written by people?

      Sorry, MF, I don’t understand.

  26. Owen Kaelin

      Hey . . . S&M is a private matter.

  27. Roxane

      I don’t understand the disdain for people being human.

  28. MFBomb

      Owen, that’s a pretty lame misrepresentation of my post. Of course “literature is written by people,” and of course it’s possible to be a “person” and a “writer” and for a website to be about “people who write,” or, “writers.”

      The subtitle of this website reads, “the internet literature blog of the future,” not, “the internet people blog of the future” (I’m assuming that, despite the blog’s subtitle, Blake would prefer not to identify the site with something so niche and inhumane as “literature,” and would rather use “people” instead).

  29. Steven Augustine

      Why is it better to be published by one-of-several-thousand (new) Zines (per year) than on your own site/zine? Is this a VPE (vestigial print engram)? Is it really so important to get in the Lent Edition of Rainy Day Nipple or Pod-Crust next to new work by Jessica Ho and Rodney Simperton-Jekyll… ?

  30. Blake Butler

      there are plenty of things about being human worth disdaining.

      a sense of entitlement and/or impatience over something that is offered mostly out of donated time for me is one of those things.

      also, for the record, babies losing hands in heaven isn’t entirely negative to me.

  31. Blake Butler

      people mistake a rift between editors and writers. as if both aren’t people.

  32. Blake Butler

      literature exists. writers dont.

  33. MFBomb

      Thanks. I’ll be sure to add this one to the Tao Butler’s Daily People, Things, and Other Bunches of Stuff Aphorisms Desk Calendar I’m currently producing in time for the holiday shopping season.

  34. Owen Kaelin

      Now I know why it’s become so hard for me to write.

  35. Owen Kaelin

      MF: I thought it was a pretty good misrepresentation.

  36. Owen Kaelin

      Will this calendar be available in the Boston area?

  37. MFBomb

      No, but it’s available for “pre-order” from MFBomb Press in November. Stay tuned for instructions on how to “pre-order” this work of people.

  38. Mike Meginnis

      I actually do really hate when people bitch about response times, except in cases where they get really ludicrous, and then probably the thing to do is just to say “okay that place is not respectful to me, I will not try them anymore.”

  39. ael

      Unbearably long submission response time is narrative. Complaining about submission response times is narrative.

  40. Roxane

      I think it depends on what we’re talking about. I think a year or two of waiting for a response on your submission is fucked up. I don’t get it. There’s no excuse so in those instances, bitching about response times feels appropriate.

  41. Roxane

      I suppose that’s true. The thing is, everyone in this writing endeavor is donating their time. As editors, most of us don’t pay our contributors so everyone’s giving something. This obsession with donated time (and I’m thinking more broadly here than your comment) feels… shortsighted.

  42. Mike Meginnis

      Yeah, no, there does come a point. The one that still pisses me off is this place that’s had my story for a year and a half now, marked as “recommended for acceptance” most of that time. Then they send me an e-mail saying “Sorry we’re taking so long with your submissions guys, but I bet we could read them faster if you gave us some money!”

      At that point it’s bad business and I just get kind of sad and lose respect.

  43. Blake Butler

      but why does it matter even then? that’s just grudge holding. it’s so low stakes. consider it a no go?

  44. Owen Kaelin

      Will there be nudity?

  45. MFBomb

      It’s possible to bitch and vent and move on with life. I’m not sure why you’re so obsessed with writers–sorry, I mean people–behaving like rational automatons 24/7. You sort of undercut your points about “people” when you post this stuff.

  46. Roxane

      It might be low stakes for you but it might not be low stakes for others… I’m not saying people should make this stuff high stakes but I don’t think it’s any better to look down on how people choose to approach their writing careers.

  47. darby

      the editor shoulders the burden of decision. its unrealistic to expect the writer to shoulder the burden of assuming the decision.

      that said, i hear where you’re coming from blake, i think its been my mindframe as a writer for a while now, and i’ll always just withdraw if i get even a vague sense it was the wrong place to submit to. but i need that definitive closure to move on, you know, whether im declaring it or the editor.

  48. darby

      i fixed the abjective link for my name, since this was my once per day abjective promotion subtly disguised as an unrelated htmlgiant comment. thanks for reading, all.

  49. Hank

      I think babies in heaven are doing just fine, hands or no.

  50. Blake Butler

      “hurry up and shoulder my burden. hurry up and shoulder my burden. i need closure. shoulder my burden.”

      burden?

      come on guys.

      we’re all talking about the same thing here. it’s a simple process. it’s not marriage. it’s not going to make or break your life. just because you project the fact that it might onto it does not mean that the other end is not in the midst of their own life.

      look, writing is important to me obviously. but there’s this big wave of hype over entitlement, self focus, and what is essentially bookkeeping, when it’s the least important thing. and it’s tiring to hear about. it makes the whole thing seem like a goose party.

      selfseriousness is a major reason books are hard for nonwriters to take, i think. it kills more than you think it does to be so centered around formality of process.

      i obsess. you obsess. people obsess. surely i have spent time sweating over certain expectations. that doesn’t mean anyone else wants to hear about it. it doesn’t do anybody any good. and again, it is, at the base, a private endeavor. a literary magazine’s editorial board is not the IRS.

      i’m just saying: it matters and it does not at all. internalize.

  51. Blake Butler

      sheesh i was just trying to make a dickface oneliner and now here i am being serious. whoops.

  52. darby

      is this like mean week prep?

  53. MFBomb

      Thanks for the patronizing lecture, Dad.

      I think you enjoy prodding and poking readers with these one-liner, drive-by posts. Most people who read your site don’t fall in the bitter-LROD category and don’t need to hear your self-serving, condescending tripe.

  54. Mike Meginnis

      Way late to reply, but: It doesn’t matter. I just find it crappy business and I have a thing about people running things poorly. It is very much my problem.

  55. Editor of crummy mag

      Here’s what’s happening with ours – we found a great submission in November from someone who’d submitted four or five maybes over the previous couple of seasons. So right away we signed him up, and that was our only slush pile slot. Now I have to dig through and reject literally 1,000s of submissions. And unless something is good enough for me to embarrass myself and reject one of the authors I’d solicited from, nothing will get through. So there’s no incentive to read at all, it’s just pure shitwork. So I am months and months behind, but I know I’m not missing anything since there’s no space what-so-ever. Best someone can expect is a kind rejection.

      (Update: I think we’ll run another slush piece online)

  56. Blake Butler

      hm. ok. thank you. why open submissions at all

  57. rk

      seems if you really need to hear from somebody so badly then send your story somewhere else. or better yet go write another story and stop worrying about how nobody loves your other story. i cry myself to sleep as much as the next but its all meat and words and it all ends up much the same in the end.

  58. Mike Meginnis

      What happens to the babies when editors complain about writers?

  59. Ridge

      the handless babies attempt to high-five, fail, attempt again.

  60. blake

      i know u like me mf

  61. Editor of crummy mag

      I know, I know… in a way I guess we’re looking for relationships to cultivate, but is it really worth being strung along for years by a literary mag?

  62. Sean

      No, a baby in hell gets set free.

      People still complain about submissions??

      I suggest disc golf or heroin or Shark Week.

  63. Sean

      Can’t imagine why your mag is crummy because you have a winning attitude

  64. Editor of crummy mag

      A good rule of thumb for job apps, pitches, sales, etc.: Good news travels fast.

  65. seventydys

      The whole submission process is dementing for everybody involved most of the time. Courtesy, forebearance and generally staying in touch with the fact that we’re all bald gits fighting over a comb should help smooth things along.

      The thought of an annex to heaven with nothing but billions of baby hands floating free is kind of relaxing.

  66. King Kong Bundy

      Ha. Winning attitude.

  67. Blake Butler

      distribution of beefy Ts

  68. MFBomb

      Dude, I just think you can be a dillweed at times in how you exploit this site to pitch and promote your work. I can’t help but notice that beneath your one-liner troll post is an ad for your book. It seems like, half of the time, you don’t care about delivering interesting and compelling content and would rather type a few random thoughts from your head because a) that’s easier and b) it doesn’t matter because you’re just aiming for hits and controversy to draw more attention to your work.

      The problem with this strategy is that you’re likely to turn off people who were considering supporting you.

  69. Mike Meginnis

      ;)

  70. James Yeh

      This is a confusing comment. You’re saying your magazine would actually rescind publication, if you found what you believed to be a stronger piece in the slush? Can’t you just save the other strong pieces for next year, or for online?

      At least you’re reading them. At first I thought you were saying you were just going to go through and blindly reject the thousand pieces, all in the name of “cultivating relationships.”

  71. Editor of crummy mag

      A reply to James Yeh-

      We do save things, but better things turn up and we have backlogs of everything – near publishable stuff we want to remember, stuff that really doesn’t deserve to be read but we do etc…

      I don’t think we have ever actually rescinded a story (unless you include the solicited stories we’ve received that were way too long, or of unpublishable quality). But in theory if Alice Munro submitted something, or I found my personal platonic ideal of a story, I might politely bump a story.

      Better to publish a novel beforehand and then try your hand at short stories, I think…

  72. magick mike

      meta-lol

  73. Guest

      Blake Butler hates writers.

  74. Owen Kaelin

      What bugs me is when 8, 10, 12, 14 months pass by and I haven’t heard from them. Sure, everyone advises “it’s not unkind to send a gentle reminder” . . . but I just don’t like sending gentle reminders.

      “Hey, um… remember me?”

      At any rate, at some point I just got tired of the whole thing, and decided to just concentrate fully on the longer projects I’d been working on, and figuring maybe I’ll send out some excerpts later on.

      I probably ought to start sending out submissions again. Can’t say it’s fun, exactly… .

  75. Ridge

      Why? Because he champions new writers and writing on a daily basis? If so, we could use more people who “hate” writers.

      I also suppose you could be joking, MF Bomb, in which case I apologize for my remark.

  76. AuthorityFigure

      I love the notion that editors of literary magazines are authority figures. Fight the power.

  77. Guest

      Ridge,

      You must be new here. Blake routinely tells writers to “STFU,” “know their place,” “never question authority,” “suck it up,” etc. in between championing the same three or four writers.

      Now, I still think he’s a cool dude, and most likely a nice guy in person, but this act of belittling his site’s readers is tiresome, childish, and almost a form of bullying. It’s easy to talk shit when you’ve already “made it” (relatively speaking). I’m not the first one to point this out, either.

  78. Tim

      I’ve always thought that gentle reminder thing was a load of sour bologna sandwiches. I figure if they’d liked the piece or had a place for it I would have heard already. So it just seems annoying for both parties.

  79. AuthorityFigure

      MFBomb: Here, take this opportunity to promote your own work. Where can we read and/or buy it?

  80. Tim

      The reverse of that was true when I was an editor too. We sometimes misplaced stuff in our bags but only after we’d decided to reject it. When we wanted something we moved fast. Ever since then I’ve been okay with magazines that don’t promise a response if it’s negative, since it’s so strongly implied anyway.

  81. Blake Butler

      i like people. i don’t like writers. i don’t like people who id themselves by what they do. and fussies.

  82. Blake Butler

      heh, i didn’t realize i was repping ‘never question authority’ around here hmm

  83. Guest

      I like people too, and writers are people. Also, this is a site about writing, writers, and publishing, not a site about “people.”

  84. Blake Butler

      well that’s where you’re wrong, dad.

  85. Owen Kaelin

      Exactly. Not too long after I first began sending out material, I began to figure: 1-4 weeks for a response means they’re sure they don’t want it. 4-6 months means they’re interested but aren’t sure yet or are uneasy about it (and they’ll eventually decline). 7 months means they’ve been holding on to it, but forgot, in the end, to make the decision to reject it (or just plain didn’t feel like it… I know the slush piles for print mags can be thick and tedious).

  86. Pontius J. LaBar

      Wait, why submit to literary journals at all? You must be the same people that put on the rubber suit before you know the safe word.

  87. Guest

      Have you been huffing paint again, son?

  88. Owen Kaelin

      Um… so literature is not written by people?

      Sorry, MF, I don’t understand.

  89. Owen Kaelin

      Hey . . . S&M is a private matter.

  90. marshall

      i feel bad

  91. Roxane

      I don’t understand the disdain for people being human.

  92. Guest

      Owen, that’s a pretty lame misrepresentation of my post. Of course “literature is written by people,” and of course it’s possible to be a “person” and a “writer” and for a website to be about “people who write,” or, “writers.”

      The subtitle of this website reads, “the internet literature blog of the future,” not, “the internet people blog of the future” (I’m assuming that, despite the blog’s subtitle, Blake would prefer not to identify the site with something so niche and inhumane as “literature,” and would rather use “people” instead).

  93. Steven Augustine

      Why is it better to be published by one-of-several-thousand (new) Zines (per year) than on your own site/zine? Is this a VPE (vestigial print engram)? Is it really so important to get in the Lent Edition of Rainy Day Nipple or Pod-Crust next to new work by Jessica Ho and Rodney Simperton-Jekyll… ?

  94. Blake Butler

      there are plenty of things about being human worth disdaining.

      a sense of entitlement and/or impatience over something that is offered mostly out of donated time for me is one of those things.

      also, for the record, babies losing hands in heaven isn’t entirely negative to me.

  95. Blake Butler

      people mistake a rift between editors and writers. as if both aren’t people.

  96. Blake Butler

      literature exists. writers dont.

  97. Guest

      Thanks. I’ll be sure to add this one to the Tao Butler’s Daily People, Things, and Other Bunches of Stuff Aphorisms Desk Calendar I’m currently producing in time for the holiday shopping season.

  98. Owen Kaelin

      Now I know why it’s become so hard for me to write.

  99. Owen Kaelin

      MF: I thought it was a pretty good misrepresentation.

  100. Owen Kaelin

      Will this calendar be available in the Boston area?

  101. Guest

      No, but it’s available for “pre-order” from MFBomb Press in November. Stay tuned for instructions on how to “pre-order” this work of people.

  102. Mike Meginnis

      I actually do really hate when people bitch about response times, except in cases where they get really ludicrous, and then probably the thing to do is just to say “okay that place is not respectful to me, I will not try them anymore.”

  103. ael

      Unbearably long submission response time is narrative. Complaining about submission response times is narrative.

  104. Roxane

      I think it depends on what we’re talking about. I think a year or two of waiting for a response on your submission is fucked up. I don’t get it. There’s no excuse so in those instances, bitching about response times feels appropriate.

  105. Roxane

      I suppose that’s true. The thing is, everyone in this writing endeavor is donating their time. As editors, most of us don’t pay our contributors so everyone’s giving something. This obsession with donated time (and I’m thinking more broadly here than your comment) feels… shortsighted.

  106. Mike Meginnis

      Yeah, no, there does come a point. The one that still pisses me off is this place that’s had my story for a year and a half now, marked as “recommended for acceptance” most of that time. Then they send me an e-mail saying “Sorry we’re taking so long with your submissions guys, but I bet we could read them faster if you gave us some money!”

      At that point it’s bad business and I just get kind of sad and lose respect.

  107. MFBomb

      What does that have to do with my point?

  108. Blake Butler

      but why does it matter even then? that’s just grudge holding. it’s so low stakes. consider it a no go?

  109. Owen Kaelin

      Will there be nudity?

  110. Guest

      It’s possible to bitch and vent and move on with life. I’m not sure why you’re so obsessed with writers–sorry, I mean people–behaving like rational automatons 24/7. You sort of undercut your points about “people” when you post this stuff.

  111. MFBomb

      Also, I enjoy remaining anon with all of you brainless sycophants running around. Who knows what kind of influence you might have.

  112. Roxane

      It might be low stakes for you but it might not be low stakes for others… I’m not saying people should make this stuff high stakes but I don’t think it’s any better to look down on how people choose to approach their writing careers.

  113. darby

      the editor shoulders the burden of decision. its unrealistic to expect the writer to shoulder the burden of assuming the decision.

      that said, i hear where you’re coming from blake, i think its been my mindframe as a writer for a while now, and i’ll always just withdraw if i get even a vague sense it was the wrong place to submit to. but i need that definitive closure to move on, you know, whether im declaring it or the editor.

  114. darby

      i fixed the abjective link for my name, since this was my once per day abjective promotion subtly disguised as an unrelated htmlgiant comment. thanks for reading, all.

  115. Blake Butler

      “hurry up and shoulder my burden. hurry up and shoulder my burden. i need closure. shoulder my burden.”

      burden?

      come on guys.

      we’re all talking about the same thing here. it’s a simple process. it’s not marriage. it’s not going to make or break your life. just because you project the fact that it might onto it does not mean that the other end is not in the midst of their own life.

      look, writing is important to me obviously. but there’s this big wave of hype over entitlement, self focus, and what is essentially bookkeeping, when it’s the least important thing. and it’s tiring to hear about. it makes the whole thing seem like a goose party.

      selfseriousness is a major reason books are hard for nonwriters to take, i think. it kills more than you think it does to be so centered around formality of process.

      i obsess. you obsess. people obsess. surely i have spent time sweating over certain expectations. that doesn’t mean anyone else wants to hear about it. it doesn’t do anybody any good. and again, it is, at the base, a private endeavor. a literary magazine’s editorial board is not the IRS.

      i’m just saying: it matters and it does not at all. internalize.

  116. Blake Butler

      sheesh i was just trying to make a dickface oneliner and now here i am being serious. whoops.

  117. darby

      is this like mean week prep?

  118. Guest

      Thanks for the patronizing lecture, Dad.

      I think you enjoy prodding and poking readers with these one-liner, drive-by posts. Most people who read your site don’t fall in the bitter-LROD category and don’t need to hear your self-serving, condescending tripe.

  119. Mike Meginnis

      Way late to reply, but: It doesn’t matter. I just find it crappy business and I have a thing about people running things poorly. It is very much my problem.

  120. rk

      seems if you really need to hear from somebody so badly then send your story somewhere else. or better yet go write another story and stop worrying about how nobody loves your other story. i cry myself to sleep as much as the next but its all meat and words and it all ends up much the same in the end.

  121. Brad Green

      What? Someone was physically holding you down and making you listen to how long their submissions had been out? That’s fucking rude, man.

  122. blake

      i know u like me mf

  123. Editor of crummy mag

      A good rule of thumb for job apps, pitches, sales, etc.: Good news travels fast.

  124. seventydys

      The whole submission process is dementing for everybody involved most of the time. Courtesy, forebearance and generally staying in touch with the fact that we’re all bald gits fighting over a comb should help smooth things along.

      The thought of an annex to heaven with nothing but billions of baby hands floating free is kind of relaxing.

  125. Guest

      Dude, I just think you can be a dillweed at times in how you exploit this site to pitch and promote your work. I can’t help but notice that beneath your one-liner troll post is an ad for your book. It seems like, half of the time, you don’t care about delivering interesting and compelling content and would rather type a few random thoughts from your head because a) that’s easier and b) it doesn’t matter because you’re just aiming for hits and controversy to draw more attention to your work.

      The problem with this strategy is that you’re likely to turn off people who were considering supporting you.

  126. James Yeh

      This is a confusing comment. You’re saying your magazine would actually rescind publication, if you found what you believed to be a stronger piece in the slush? Can’t you just save the other strong pieces for next year, or for online?

      At least you’re reading them. At first I thought you were saying you were just going to go through and blindly reject the thousand pieces, all in the name of “cultivating relationships.”

  127. Sean

      Why does Blake keep getting more angry?

  128. Editor of crummy mag

      A reply to James Yeh-

      We do save things, but better things turn up and we have backlogs of everything – near publishable stuff we want to remember, stuff that really doesn’t deserve to be read but we do etc…

      I don’t think we have ever actually rescinded a story (unless you include the solicited stories we’ve received that were way too long, or of unpublishable quality). But in theory if Alice Munro submitted something, or I found my personal platonic ideal of a story, I might politely bump a story.

      Better to publish a novel beforehand and then try your hand at short stories, I think…

  129. magick mike

      meta-lol

  130. AuthorityFigure

      I love the notion that editors of literary magazines are authority figures. Fight the power.

  131. AuthorityFigure

      MFBomb: Here, take this opportunity to promote your own work. Where can we read and/or buy it?

  132. herocious

      this resonates with me, steve. seems more enriching to publish on your own site/zine than anywhere else, like nourishing your body first so you can nourish others.

  133. Guest

      i feel bad

  134. Guest

      What does that have to do with my point?

  135. Guest

      Also, I enjoy remaining anon with all of you brainless sycophants running around. Who knows what kind of influence you might have.

  136. ZZZZIPP

      MAYBE THE PROBLEM IS THAT YOUR STORIES ARE MADE OUT OF MEAT?

  137. Brad Green

      What? Someone was physically holding you down and making you listen to how long their submissions had been out? That’s fucking rude, man.

  138. herocious

      this resonates with me, Steven. i tend to think that enriching your own site with your writing is more nourishing than putting a lot of effort into publishing elsewhere, kind of like feeding yourself first. but why not also self-publish your novels?

  139. Sean

      Why does Blake keep getting more angry?

  140. herocious

      this resonates with me, steve. seems more enriching to publish on your own site/zine than anywhere else, like nourishing your body first so you can nourish others.

  141. Steven Augustine

      herocious!

      “but why not also self-publish your novels?”

      If you’re talking about self-publishing novels in a paper-based way, I’d say you should hold out until someone does it for you… someone who knows paper-based publishing well enough to produce a topnotch paper-based artifact and then distribute it for you. And bad cover-art is worse than none! But if you build a site and there are steady followers, you can publish a novel or two as downloadable media for e-readers (as people seem to have an aversion to reading long-form texts on fixed screens).

      My sites represent a quirky little Virt Lit space (I only even do external links on one of the three, and those links are to friends and/or very obscure sites). It’s a sort of unmarked boutique featuring no pandering. My traffic is a drop in the bucket but I’ve still had 65,000+ visitors (factoring in about 15% misbegotten porn searches) and thousands and thousands of readers for the various short stories (about 80, I think), which is as good or better than the distribution figures for a considerable percentage of the hundreds of thousands of writers paper-published every year. The typical advance and sales figures for an unknown novelist are too small to be an incentive to tailor/bowdlerize the fiction to market tastes, in my opinion, but that’s a different discussion…

      I understand that a popular Zine gets lots of traffic, but sharing the eyeballs with a dozen other writers, in the larger context of a virtual sea of Zines, dilutes the effect, imo. It’s fine being read in the first place, but what really counts is sticking out, a bit, from the millions… the fact that you’ve fit the template of the editor’s tastes, along with the other writers in that issue, already means that you’ve stuck out that tiny bit less. Whenever I get a new reader in my compound, I notice they read at least five stories (sometimes ten) over a period of a couple of days. Sometimes I get readers who make their way, methodically, through the whole catalog… that’s the sort of readerly attention that repays the effort, for me. A writer/reader relationship develops that way. I get fan mail (I even have readers ask me philosophical questions about Life! laugh). I’ve been asked to contribute to Zines more than once and I always, very nicely, decline. No advantage in publishing in a Zine, for me. None.

      It was different in the golden age of paper-print… there were less than a dozen serious Lit Rags that everyone read and it was so hard to get into one that it already meant quite a lot to achieve the feat. Online, the numbers are greater, by orders of magnitude and the Standards are lower. Meaning that getting in even the “best” (or most-trafficked) Zine is only “prestigious” because it’s harder than getting into the easiest. But it’s still not hard compared to trying to get into the NYer.

      I wonder at the Herd Model: writers who write-by-committee (workshopping) and then opt to be published in Moonie-wedding-type crowds. Maybe the age of the Individual is drawing to a close and Collectivism is the secret psychology driving all these Zines. But that’s an extra-literary issue.

  142. Janey Smith

      I wish someone would call me “dillweed.” (Thanks in advance.)

  143. ZZZZIPP

      MAYBE THE PROBLEM IS THAT YOUR STORIES ARE MADE OUT OF MEAT?

  144. Steven Augustine

      I’d like to read the word “LOLweed”

  145. Steven Augustine

      “My traffic is a drop in the bucket but I’ve still had 65,000+ visitors…”

      (the precise figure as of Sunday, the 22nd, 13:00 CET is 66,921)

  146. herocious

      this resonates with me, Steven. i tend to think that enriching your own site with your writing is more nourishing than putting a lot of effort into publishing elsewhere, kind of like feeding yourself first. but why not also self-publish your novels?

  147. Steven Augustine

      herocious!

      “but why not also self-publish your novels?”

      If you’re talking about self-publishing novels in a paper-based way, I’d say you should hold out until someone does it for you… someone who knows paper-based publishing well enough to produce a topnotch paper-based artifact and then distribute it for you. And bad cover-art is worse than none! But if you build a site and there are steady followers, you can publish a novel or two as downloadable media for e-readers (as people seem to have an aversion to reading long-form texts on fixed screens).

      My sites represent a quirky little Virt Lit space (I only even do external links on one of the three, and those links are to friends and/or very obscure sites). It’s a sort of unmarked boutique featuring no pandering. My traffic is a drop in the bucket but I’ve still had 65,000+ visitors (factoring in about 15% misbegotten porn searches) and thousands and thousands of readers for the various short stories (about 80, I think), which is as good or better than the distribution figures for a considerable percentage of the hundreds of thousands of writers paper-published every year. The typical advance and sales figures for an unknown novelist are too small to be an incentive to tailor/bowdlerize the fiction to market tastes, in my opinion, but that’s a different discussion…

      I understand that a popular Zine gets lots of traffic, but sharing the eyeballs with a dozen other writers, in the larger context of a virtual sea of Zines, dilutes the effect, imo. It’s fine being read in the first place, but what really counts is sticking out, a bit, from the millions… the fact that you’ve fit the template of the editor’s tastes, along with the other writers in that issue, already means that you’ve stuck out that tiny bit less. Whenever I get a new reader in my compound, I notice they read at least five stories (sometimes ten) over a period of a couple of days. Sometimes I get readers who make their way, methodically, through the whole catalog… that’s the sort of readerly attention that repays the effort, for me. A writer/reader relationship develops that way. I get fan mail (I even have readers ask me philosophical questions about Life! laugh). I’ve been asked to contribute to Zines more than once and I always, very nicely, decline. No advantage in publishing in a Zine, for me. None.

      It was different in the golden age of paper-print… there were less than a dozen serious Lit Rags that everyone read and it was so hard to get into one that it already meant quite a lot to achieve the feat. Online, the numbers are greater, by orders of magnitude and the Standards are lower. Meaning that getting in even the “best” (or most-trafficked) Zine is only “prestigious” because it’s harder than getting into the easiest. But it’s still not hard compared to trying to get into the NYer.

      I wonder at the Herd Model: writers who write-by-committee (workshopping) and then opt to be published in Moonie-wedding-type crowds. Maybe the age of the Individual is drawing to a close and Collectivism is the secret psychology driving all these Zines. But that’s an extra-literary issue.

  148. Janey Smith

      I wish someone would call me “dillweed.” (Thanks in advance.)

  149. Steven Augustine

      I’d like to read the word “LOLweed”

  150. Donald

      zzzzipp, you are my prince

  151. Steven Augustine

      “My traffic is a drop in the bucket but I’ve still had 65,000+ visitors…”

      (the precise figure as of Sunday, the 22nd, 13:00 CET is 66,921)

  152. Steven Augustine

      ZZZZIPP is the voice of the Collective Unconscious of a smarter, kinder planet

  153. Donald

      zzzzipp, you are my prince

  154. EC

      I’m sorry, Mr. “Steven Augustine,” if that’s even your real name, but I won’t hear a word said against Rainy Day Nipple. It’s a great zine — every issue, and not just the Lent issue — and edited by geniuses.

      Now would they please let me know about that submission they’ve been sitting on for eight months?

      [“Short sleeves or long sleeves, little one?” Chop! “Waa-waa-waa!!!!” Chop! “Waaa!!” “Ha ha ha ha!!!!”]

  155. EC

      P.S. I hear submissions are open at Herd Model for the extra-literary issue!

  156. EC

      I just did!

  157. Steven Augustine

      Well, I *did* submit an epic concrete poem called “Thalidomide Cherubim” to Rainy Day Nipple during season 1 of The Wire … and it’s also true Jessica Ho unfriended me on FB after I Twittered that one limerick… but…

  158. Steven Augustine

      (envy)

  159. Steven Augustine

      ZZZZIPP is the voice of the Collective Unconscious of a smarter, kinder planet

  160. Steven Augustine

      Actually, EC: case in point. You’re one of my favorite writers and your texts are usually the best things in any Zine in which they appear. In my Candide-like vision of a Better World, I see a site for your gems collected, gathering funky synergistic strength from the proximity to one another, while an overview of the secret themes and underlying principles of your Writerly Mission would therefore be easier to apprehend etc. I mean… (head slumps to heaving chest and tear-sniffing is heard)…

  161. EC

      Shucks, comrade A. I know I’m too beholden to the Pre-Cambrian ecosystem & its gatekeeperism . . . but there’s also something to be said for infiltration! (Can’t think what at the moment, but I’ll come up with something.)

      In the meantime, forward me a copy of “Thalidomide Cherubim,” OK?

  162. EC

      I’m sorry, Mr. “Steven Augustine,” if that’s even your real name, but I won’t hear a word said against Rainy Day Nipple. It’s a great zine — every issue, and not just the Lent issue — and edited by geniuses.

      Now would they please let me know about that submission they’ve been sitting on for eight months?

      [“Short sleeves or long sleeves, little one?” Chop! “Waa-waa-waa!!!!” Chop! “Waaa!!” “Ha ha ha ha!!!!”]

  163. EC

      P.S. I hear submissions are open at Herd Model for the extra-literary issue!

  164. EC

      I just did!

  165. Steven Augustine

      Well, I *did* submit an epic concrete poem called “Thalidomide Cherubim” to Rainy Day Nipple during season 1 of The Wire … and it’s also true Jessica Ho unfriended me on FB after I Twittered that one limerick… but…

  166. Steven Augustine

      (envy)

  167. Steven Augustine

      Actually, EC: case in point. You’re one of my favorite writers and your texts are usually the best things in any Zine in which they appear. In my Candide-like vision of a Better World, I see a site for your gems collected, gathering funky synergistic strength from the proximity to one another, while an overview of the secret themes and underlying principles of your Writerly Mission would therefore be easier to apprehend etc. I mean… (head slumps to heaving chest and tear-sniffing is heard)…

  168. EC

      Shucks, comrade A. I know I’m too beholden to the Pre-Cambrian ecosystem & its gatekeeperism . . . but there’s also something to be said for infiltration! (Can’t think what at the moment, but I’ll come up with something.)

      In the meantime, forward me a copy of “Thalidomide Cherubim,” OK?

  169. fuckmeplease

      says the guy with two books and two more on the way. fuck off.

  170. Steven Augustine

      I submitted the only known copy, EC!

  171. zusya17

      nicely put. would that i could impersonate the voice, but my efforts would only defeat themselves.

      I AM SAD BECAUSE OF THIS STAPLER IN FRONT OF ME. AND THE CLOUDS ARE ONLY SHINING EFFERVESCENTLY.

      see? that was awful.

  172. fuckmeplease

      says the guy with two books and two more on the way. fuck off.

  173. Nick Antosca

      What?

  174. Steven Augustine

      I submitted the only known copy, EC!

  175. Nick Antosca

      What?