Philadelphia Literary Journal Pride

As I’ve been combing through Duotrope, New Pages, and Poets & Writer’s in search of new markets to submit my writing to over the past few weeks I’ve slowly come to the realization that Philadelphia has a promising up-and-coming literary scene! Not that Philadelphia shouldn’t naturally be super literary and cultural–it is one of the most historic and largest cities on the East Coast–but Philadelphia, at least from my viewpoint, has been in a bit of a hibernation-mode in recent years. Honestly, people keep leaving the Philadelphia area in favor of New York and Boston and DC because the city has been going stale. Cool restaurants have been closing, there isn’t much of a shopping-draw, the only good stuff that does exist is rather expensive–concerts and the like–and it’s generally unsafe in most areas so nobody wants their cars to get vandalized or walk around the streets exploring after dark. So the fact that literary journals are budding out of this environment like a bed of tulip bulbs is rather exciting!

Though Philadelphia Stories and Apiary magazine are the only two that show clear favoritism towards Philadelphia/Pennsylvania writers and themes in their editorial mission statements, the fact that a whole bunch of exciting, new, innovative, and ultimately successful literary journals are springing up out of Philadelphia gives me hope that lots more good things are to come!

On the old side, Painted Bride Quarterly is one of the country’s longest running literary magazines, circa 1973, and is in-part staffed by Drexel University students. On the new side, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, a non-profit flash-prose journal associated with Rosemont College, only launched last year. Same with TINGE magazine, staffed by graduate students in Temple University’s MFA program in Creative Writing, and Nailpolish Stories, the brainchild of Philadelphia writer Nicole Monaghan.

Dear Philadelphia: I’m proud of you. Good show.

Do you have some local literary journals you’re extra fond of just because they call your town home?

(Image, No Copyright,

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To the Glitter End . . . Get Your Nailpolish Stories Published!

I’ve heard a lot of people wonder aloud who the lucky guy is who gets to invent awesome crayon color names for a living (did you know there’s 120 core Crayola color names?). Seriously, can you imagine coming up with brilliant creative names like “macaroni and cheese” and “mango tango” and getting paid for it? The same goes for nail polish colors. “French Quarter for Your Thoughts,” “Ski Teal We Drop,” and “Barefoot in Barcelona”–what great names! And, as Nicole Monaghan, the founding editor of the flash fiction online journal, Nailpolish Stories, believes, what a great inspiration for a story!Fiction submissions must be 25 words, exactly, not including the title (and the title has to be a nail polish color). Ms. Monaghan is looking for stories that use powerful language, a minimum of adjectives, and that stuff a lot into a little space. Check out the full submission guidelines here.

Even if you don’t end up submitting to the journal, I’d encourage you to use this as a fun writing exercise. There are so many different nail polish colors–you could get lost in the amount of inspiration they offer!–and it doesn’t take long to write a 25 word story. I wrote ten one afternoon and loved the ideas they sparked up. Write a whole bunch and get your creative writing juices flowing! Maybe it’ll end up being the first sentence to your next novel!

Perks of Being A “Jersey Girl”

1. Cheap gas that someone else pumps for me
2. Jersey tomatoes (taste so much better than Pennsylvania ones)
3. Jersey corn (can you tell I’m thinking about summer and gardens?)
4. Jersey Devil Press, an online literary journal that has some really impressive content and one I’m looking forward to submitting to! (Thanks go to Carol Deminski for inadvertently introducing me to the small independent press with her story “The Fortune Teller,” a clever take on the Jersey Devil’s plight and personality.)

For those of you who follow sports, you already know that New Jersey’s only professional sports team, the Jersey Devils, is based off a hugely popular local myth about a monster–“most commonly described as having the body of a kangaroo, the head of a dog, the face of a horse, large leathery wings, antlers similar to those of a deer, a forked reptilian tail, and prominent, intimidating claws”–that stalks the Pine Barren forests of southern New Jersey.

A bit of a rare bird in the literary community, Jersey Devil Press is super up-front, offering all the answers any writer could ever want or need on their website. For example, despite the fact that New Jersey is now and forever associated with Snookie and the Jersey Shore, Jersey Devil Press clearly states that they are not impressed with the association and in fact strive to “publicly decry the downfall of humanity that is Jersey Shore.” Thank goodness! My respect for them improved several notches. (Not that it wasn’t already pretty high, after reading their most recent issue. Seriously, I don’t care if you don’t have time; make time to read “About the Hiding of Hidden Treasure,” by Kimberly Lojewski. It’s gorgeous and probably one of the best things you’ll read this month. No seriously, go read it right now.)

They also answer some more practical things, such as:
What They Want: short fiction stories sub-4,200 words that “straddle the line between speculative fiction and literature.” There’s a more detailed list of what they don’t want, too, so don’t disappoint them.
When They Want It: Anytime, day or night.
How They Want It: Via Submittable (a.k.a. formerly known as submishmash)
Simultaneous Submissions? Yes.

Multiple Submissions? No. Only one story at a time, please.
Accept Previously Published Material? Yes, but share that information in your cover letter. They won’t publish anything that’s already available elsewhere online.
Paying Market? Nope. As they explain, they’re poorer than you are. And if you’re a starving artist, that’s saying something, now isn’t it?

Submission Response Time: Less than twelve weeks. Query if you don’t get a response within that time.

The Scoop on New South Journal

As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the rejection letters I got in the past month was for New South, the official literary art journal of George State University. I submitted a fiction story that I’ve been shopping around for two years now–a story I’ve fixed-up, reorganized, and rewrote at the recommendation of different editors (and at my own recommendation as my writing has improved over time and each old version becomes stale) for the same length of time. It’s gotten more rejection letters than all of my other rejection letters combined,* but I simply cannot abandon it and put it in a drawer. It won the 2009 Fuller Fiction Award, an undergraduate award specifically for Bloomsburg University students, and got an “almost, but we don’t have time to wait for the edits” rejection letter.** This convinces me that it must have some literary merit and I am determined to find people who agree. Have any of you gone through similar repetitive experiences with a submission? Did it pay off?

In any case, New South isn’t the right home for this story, but it might be for your work! Check out the information below, read some excerpts from past issues here, and consider submitting.

What They Want:  “New South seeks to publish high quality work, regardless of genre, form, or regional ties. We are looking for what is new, what is fresh, what is different, whether it comes from the Southern United States, the South of India, or the North, East or West of Anywhere. ” This can come in the form of one fiction story up to 9,000 words in length, or up to five short-shorts under 1,000 words each; up to five poems; creative nonfiction or lyric essay up to 9,000 words in length. For criticism, please query first.

How They Want It: Via their own online submission manager, Tell It Slant. See further submission guidelines here.

When They Want It: Anytime. Rolling submissions.

Contests? Yes! They’re having one right now; there are awards for both prose and poetry. Grand prize is $1,000.

Simultaneous Submissions Allowed? Yes.

Paid Market? No.

Official Submission Response Time: Not mentioned.

Personal Submission Response Time: 2 months, 9 days

*This isn’t actually true. The story has gotten ten rejection letters total and I’ve certainly received more rejection letters than that.

**”Why not resubmit there?” you ask. Well, the journal in question, Glass Mountain, only accepts undergraduate writing and by the time the next period of open submissions rolled around, I had graduated. It’s an excellent journal though, so if you’re an undergraduate, definitely consider submitting!

The Benefits of Being Rejected By the Madison Review

It was a form rejection letter, so I haven’t gained a better idea of what they’re actually looking for, but at least I can share the previously unknown fact that you can expect the Madison Review to get back to you in one month, like they did for me.

In case you are interested in submitting, here is the rest of the information that can make that possible:

What They Want:  Unpublished short stories (max 30 pages) and poetry (max 5 clocking in at a combined 15 page maximum).

When They Want It:  Whenever.  Rolling submissions.

How They Want It:  Via submittable.

Simultaneous Submissions?  Yes.

Archive:  here.

Submission Fee?  Yes, $2.00.

Payment? Nope.

Official Submission Response Time: Unknown

Personal Submission Response Time: 1 month (30 days) exactly

I Won and I’m Sharing the Prize with All of You!

I hope you all participated in the awesome free literary magazine contest Writer’s Relief hosted, took advantage of the super-discounted subscriptions, and are looking forward to a lovely journal coming to a mailbox near you!  After a long week of form rejection letters (I’ll talk about some of them later) it was a welcome surprise to learn that I am one of the winners (make sure you check the list!  Maybe you’re on it and you didn’t realize!) and am now a free-subscriber to Prime Mincer Literary Journal.  It’s a brand new publication that seems to only have one issue thus far–my favorite kind of literary journal to read and to submit to!–so I’m super excited.  It’s a print journal that publishes three times a year (March 15th, July 15th, and November 15th).  To make it feel like we all won, I solemnly promise to write up a summary review of the first issue as soon as I receive it so you’ll get a taste of whether you want to subscribe yourself or have something that would live happily ever after on its pages.  In the mean time, here’s the basic overview:

What They Want:  fiction, creative non-fiction, and poetry. They “desire first, and foremost, solid, well-crafted and intelligent work, and beyond that are very open minded as far as form and style. Our hope is to push the creative envelope, give artists a place to take risks, and to bring a fresh, modern feel to the world of creative writing. To clarify, this does not mean that we publish only the strange and extraordinary. We love traditional fiction, but want to allow it to breathe and flourish outside of the confines of the creative writing workshop. Prime Mincer is a place to play, explore, create and exhibit, and we invite you to bring your most interesting work forward.”

How They Want It: via submittable (submishmash changed its name).

When They Want It:  The deadline for the winter edition is already done (October 1st) but it seems they have rolling acceptance.

Who They Want It From: “Although we plan on publishing established writers, we are excited at the prospect of getting first dibs on new talent, so submit away.”  (Meh.  I don’t really approve of this selectivity process, especially from new start-up publications who are not affiliated with a university, but it’s a free country so whatever floats your boat.  Just don’t make this your first submission ever, in your life, and try to beef up your publication credits before you submit.  And here’s an example of my own author’s bio.)

Archives: True, they have not published yet, but they have a few things online to give a flavor of who they are.  See here.

Submission Response Time: Unknown.

**Simultaneous submissions are fine (as long as you follow the polite writer rules) but previously published work is not.

 

 

Dig into the Clapboard House Archive and Submit Your Stories!

Staying with the theme of our budget writing, Clapboard House Literary Journal offers a wide selection of excerpts from past issues on their website archive.  So before submitting by their deadline–NOVEMBER 1st–get a taste of what they like.What They Want: short fiction sub-3,000 words or 3 poems.

When They Want It:  November 1st

How They Want It:  Via email.  See further submission guidelines here.

Submission Fee?  Nope.

Accept Simultaneous Submissions?  Yes.

Response Time:  Unknown.