Monday, November 30, 2009

Read Literary Magazines

That's good advice for everybody, but it's especially good advice for writers who want to publish work in those magazines--or anywhere else for that matter. It's even good advice for the writer with a chip on her shoulder who commented on this blog that the Pushcart Prize Anthology (and the rankings of magazines that I derive from that Anthology) is "meaningless" because . . . because . . . because her outrage was lost in a fog of incoherence.

And now here's Dan Chaon on what writers can learn from young rock stars. I recommend the whole piece, but in a nutshell: if you want to publish your work in literary magazines, you have to be reading literary magazines.
The writing community is full of lame-o people who want to be published in journals even though they don’t read the magazines that they want to be published in. These people deserve the rejections that they will undoubtedly receive, and no one should feel sorry for them when they cry about how they can’t get anyone to accept their stories.

Exactly. And he goes on to recommend two relatively small, excellent magazines to start with: Hobart and Avery Anthology. There are many more he could have named, but that's a great beginning.


Tania Hershman said...

I couldn't echo this more strongly. It's crazy how many short story writers I come across who don't read the mags before they submit - or who don't read short stories at all but are writing them!

JWL said...

Hi Cliff, yes, please. everybody should read, subcribe, share lit mags around. Another "Maybe Dialogue" blog is in the works and should be up later today. best, JWL of Potomac Review (

Clifford Garstang said...

Thanks, Julie. I enjoyed the Maybe Dialogues with my friend Mary. I'll look forward to the next round.

The Review Review said...

Hi Cliff.

We're glad you liked the interview! :)

Marianne said...

Oh, so right. I agree completely.

Can I make a plug for a young (on-line) lit mag that has published a story of mine and is actively seeking new writers?

White Whale Review

Here's another one that combines nature and science writing with fiction and poetry about nature and science:

Isotope (edited by the excellent Chris Cokinos) -- they are struggling financially but I believe they are still alive, and one couldn't ask for a better editor than Chris Cokinos ...

Clifford Garstang said...

Marianne, thanks for the comment. I'd not heard of White Whale Review before -- it looks nice. Isotope I'd at least heard of, but this is the first time I've looked at it, I think.