Discussion → mags w/ rolling pub schedules

  • Garson2.thumb
    Scott Garson
    Sep 08, 01:09pm

    i think there's this idea out there that editors at mags like Wigleaf, which publish on a rolling basis, have the most freedom--more freedom than do editors of issue-based mags.

    in a way that's true. like: i'm not exactly sure yet which story I'm going to put up tonight.

    but in another way, i wonder.... an issue-based mag like elimae: C's unlimited in how many stories he can run. but w/ Wigleaf (and Juked and matchbook and others): if you want to give each new story the stage for a set period, that limits, very literally, the number of stories you can take/run. for Wigleaf, we give each new story three days at the top of the column. That means we can run only 10/11 a month.

    why am i thinking about this? maybe because i haven't even made it thru the FIRST DAy of subs in this sub period, and there's already been a decent amount of amazing stuff (including, he announces happily, Ethel Rohan's "Gold," which sat at the top of f-naut's Recommended for awhile). And as I accept stuff, I watch the queue growing once more..... And like i was saying, we can only run 10/11 a month.....


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    Robert Swartwood
    Sep 08, 01:21pm

    so ... does this mean there might be some changes coming to wigleaf in the not-so-distant future, or is this just public musing?


  • Garson2.thumb
    Scott Garson
    Sep 08, 01:29pm

    public musing i guess!

    really i love the rolling thing. last yr we messed around a little, giving some shorter stories only two days at the top. maybe we're maturing or whatever, but this yr it seems necessary and right to me that the period between stories be consistent....

    if anything, change will have to come in the submissions dept. i'm considering going to a '4-month' plan: September, November, January and March. that might be the only way to keep the queue from getting ridiculous... it's hard, you know, telling people their story isn't going to run until months down the line....


  • Daviderlewine.thumb
    David Erlewine
    Sep 08, 01:47pm

    First of all, fantastic news, Ethel and you. What a story.

    Maybe I'm in the minority but I don't have a problem when an editor tells me my story will be published months down the line. I was talking with Matt Bell about this awhile back and I believe he felt the same way -- something to look fwd to. I have a few stories slated for Jan/Feb 2010 and I'm kind of excited about that. Sure, as a writer you face the unlikely result that the journal will change its mind about the story (or fold!) but otherwise...

    In terms of the ridonculous number subs you all get, I can't even fathom. Just being a reader (Barry kindly called me a fiction editor) for a few months at dogz nearl broke me. I was overwhelmed, wrote less, felt my writing was derivative/crap, etc. I realized I wasn't cut out to be an editor and writer.

    Thanks for hearing my public musings. David


  • Cropped_photo.thumb
    Ethel Rohan
    Sep 08, 02:05pm

    Scott, I'm thrilled to have "Gold" forthcoming in wigleaf. Thanks again,


  • Rg.thumb
    Roxane Gay
    Sep 08, 02:14pm

    Scott, I can totally relate to the queue getting ridiculous. We're basically full through December having finally settled on 20 writers per issue, so people have a range of writing to come back to between issues. Our print issue has been full for at least three months. The quality of work we get, overall, is astounding. I'm sitting on about 15 subs right now, most of which I could take. We read year-round (and I am very committed to staying that way) but increasingly I've had to turn down work I really really liked simply because so much of it is good. I realize this is not a bad problem to have.


  • Garson2.thumb
    Scott Garson
    Sep 08, 02:23pm

    not a bad problem to have, no. and i can easily see why Pank is getting such good stuff in the inbox...

    can i ask you: what's behind your commitment to reading year round?


  • Clapper.thumb
    Dave Clapper
    Sep 08, 02:50pm

    (I know you asked Roxane, but I'm going to jump in, too.) The biggest reason to read year-round, on the surface, seems to be to benefit writers, and that's why I was initially committed to it. The one and only time we closed down submissions, however (when we did a special issue tied into the release of Norton's "Flash Fiction Forward," so we were only taking material from authors in that book), our site traffic took a serious nose-dive, and it took us a while to recover to the same levels we'd been at previously.


  • Rg.thumb
    Roxane Gay
    Sep 08, 04:45pm

    Scott, thanks. I'm (personally) committed to reading year round mostly for writers. In the summer, so many markets close down and I like that we're able to remain an open market during that time. We also accept on a rolling basis so we're able to stay on top of things pretty well.


  • Rg.thumb
    Roxane Gay
    Sep 08, 04:46pm

    I'll also add that we update our guidelines with where we're focusing our reading. For example, right now, we've made it clear we're not reading for the next print issue until January 2010 so writers don't get all pissy (which believe me, they do) when we accept their work for publication online.


  • Garson2.thumb
    Scott Garson
    Sep 08, 05:15pm

    Dave--that was awesome, that special issue.

    I see more page loads when subs are open too, but the difference may not be as great as it used to be, especially if I do analysis (like, I don't really care how many people load the 'ABOUT' page; it doesn't do anything for the writers).

    My main thought on having sub periods: if I don't, i'm liable to get more 'selective.' that might seem like a positive, but i wonder.... i really like things how they are.....


  • Clapper.thumb
    Dave Clapper
    Sep 08, 11:15pm

    I liked the idea of that issue a lot, because we wound up publishing stuff outside of what we might normally like best at first glance. Since it was so largely based on the tastes of the people who put together the anthology, we sort of took a back seat in terms of putting our own imprint on it. That's part of the reason I often like having guest editors, too (Jim Ruland's issue, in particular, had a very different feel to it). (That said, I've really enjoyed having an expanded staff and no guest editors recently.)

    What the above makes me wonder is... how interesting would it be for editors to trade magazines for an issue? The following is an example, not necessarily a proposal, but... I don't know, maybe it could turn into a proposal... right now, I'm just sort of thinking out loud, though...

    So, the example: Scott Garson reads SmokeLong's usual submissions for an issue, and publishes an issue of SmokeLong, while Dave Clapper reads Wigleaf's usual submissions for an issue, and publishes an issue of Wigleaf.

    I think that could be really interesting, as I think many writers target very specific markets and come back to them with their submissions pretty regularly, while potentially overlooking other markets. It'd be an opportunity for the editors involved to be exposed to other writers (and vise versa).

    To make it really interesting, it might make more sense for it to happen between two journals whose sensibilities/tastes are further apart than SmokeLong and Wigleaf, though...


  • Garson2.thumb
    Scott Garson
    Sep 09, 07:21am

    that would be interesting, i think.... from readers' standpoint too: they'd be like, is it X, is it Y? and probably the answer would be neither exactly... that's what would be interesting to see....

    from a practical standpoint (and i know you were just using it as an example) Wigleaf would be an awkward candidate for this because of the rolling pub sched (and also the design, which, apart from the top 50, doesn't allow for intro/explanatory material).

    here's one i think would be fascinating: C. Renner edits Storyglossia; S. McDermott does elimae......


  • Rg.thumb
    Roxane Gay
    Sep 09, 05:01pm

    I totally agree about editorship exchanges. Very interesting idea.


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    Ben White
    Sep 16, 10:49pm

    Rolling would make it tough. One editor does...the next month of Wigleaf? I guess, but doesn't have that same episodic sheen as a guest-edit issue. It is really cool to think about how one editor would do trying to pick the stories that <i>feel</i> right for <i>another</i> publication.

    But it's not so bad waiting for publication. It's like a pleasant surprise when it goes up, as if the publication loves you all over again.


  • Clapper.thumb
    Dave Clapper
    Dec 02, 08:55pm

    Well... partially based on this discussion, SmokeLong is taking a leap and doing it. Starting now, every week, either a current staff editor for SLQ or a guest editor will be the lone reader and will choose one piece to publish from that week's submissions. We'll also be publishing the selected pieces on a weekly basis, starting a month from the first acceptance. I'll likely be contacting some of the folks who expressed an interest in this very, very soon.


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    Ben White
    Jan 01, 06:47pm

    And for those interested, <a href="http://htmlgiant.com/web-journals/guest-post-dave-clapper-on-new-editorial-directions-at-slq/">here is Clapper's really interesting HTMLgiant guest post</a> about the SLQ changes. Fresh.



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