I truly loved what Cynthia Reeser had to say about spotting potential in raw form.
Q (Nicolle Elizabeth for Fictionaut): Dear Ms. Cynthia, How is the Fictionaut group for Prick of the Spindle going? Best, Nicolle Elizabeth.
Fine, thanks.
An interesting trend in lit publishing is the matching of emerging authors with more established ones. Reading series dedicated to the cause, projects, journals, it is becoming even more cool to support the little guy. I like this. Prick of the Spindle has been around for a few years now, and has been doing this since the beginning. How’d the idea come about and how come?
The little guys have to get started somehow. From day one, I’ve wanted the publication to reflect content that ignores names and biographies and looks instead at quality. When I read submissions, I jump straight to the content and read the bio afterwards. What good is having a journal that publishes only big names, only to promote them further? There is plenty of excellent writing out there from writers no one has ever heard of. And for anyone who looks down their nose and asks who those people are, I would respond that they are the potential future of literature. Along the same lines, we’ve always had a commitment to spotting excellent work, even in its raw form. That means we work with authors on edits, and help them to develop and shape their work. It’s a learning experience for both writer and editor. I’ve become a better editor from this practice, and writers improve their craft and learn what editors look for.
In an Internet world where I like to say, voices can sometimes “rise quick and fall quick” where there is weekly turn-over, monthly turn-over, Prick of the Spindle is a quarterly. Can you explain what that means to our readers in a year-span publishing timeline, and in comparison to other journals, and how come POS decided to work this way? How is it helpful for the journal? How if at all has/does it made/make things difficult?
I think both our form and our content reflect an enduring quality. We are quarterly, which of course means that what we publish stays up longer. All of our issues are archived. By the same token, looking at what we publish, we tend away from genre pieces and anything with a flavor-of-the-month or trendy quality, opting instead for work with a sense of timelessness. After all, one of the qualities of great literature is that it stands the test of time. A lot of journals have a particular style preference, and well, that’s ours. I’m not saying that everything we publish is going to be remembered or anthologized a century from now, but my editors and I all make our careers in writing and literature, and I think our selections reflect our background and experience.Being that the journal is quarterly and not monthly or daily–and I guess this most nearly answers your question about how being quarterly is helpful–we have longer to go through submissions. We get such a high volume of submissions that the extended time is, I guess, useful. But we also publish a wide variety of work–fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, articles, book reviews, and visual art. We’ve also started posting podcasts, which are interviews with authors, and those are updated between issues. As far as how being quarterly makes things difficult–it doesn’t. I think no matter what the frequency of publication, you’re going to run into challenges, and they won’t necessarily have anything to do with how often you publish.

What happens at the F’naut group? *sips from coffee mug*. You have contests and accept submissions or what? Discussions? Workshopping?
Discussions, and I’ve noticed a lot of workshopping, which takes place in the form of people sending their work to the group, and getting feedback via story comments. The common denominator there is that people seem to want feedback on specific pieces, rather than just having discussions. I would like to see more happening by way of discussion though, and will try to foster that; I also think contests sound like a good idea for the near future.
Suggest three ways we can make Fictionaut a little better and I will pass it on to leaders, who come in peace.
(Unrelated: I adore Fictionaut. I just wish I had more time to spend on it.) Three ways? I don’t know if I can give you that many, but I would like to be able to see when someone responds to a comment that I’ve made on a story. I know that’s been brought up before, and there was talk of some sort of window or queue on the site that shows responses to stories you’ve posted on. I think that’s a good idea, rather than flooding an e-mail inbox with notifications, like you get with Facebook.
What’s doing in the future for Prick of the Spindle? Name drop it all, you go girl.
We have plans to launch a print component, which will essentially make us a publisher. We’ll be publishing a novel in early 2010. While I have no immediate plans to create separate print issues of the journal,  we’ll continue to hold Fiction and Poetry Open Competitions, perhaps once or twice yearly, and those do result in print and Kindle editions. We plan to co-host a reading with Barry Graham of Dogzplot in mid-June of 2010 in Pensacola, Florida, where yours truly is currently based. Be there or be square, yeah? Beyond that, grants, workshop hosting, relocation with establishment as a publisher to the place where all the publishers hang. Et cetera.
Nicolle Elizabeth checks in with Fictionaut Groups every Friday.

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