Recently, I helped in the creation and production of the Community College of Philadelphia’s literary magazine: Limited Editions. My professor Julie Odell led the charge with Evan Judah as the Photography Editor, Luis Acosta as the Graphic Designer, and yours truly as the Literary Editor.
It wasn’t easy. There was some really great submissions in poetry particularly, but in the end, the editorial team (Natalie Dickinson and Royal Earvin, thanks again) all agreed that what made it in was the best to print.
I always wanted to be a part of a literary magazine, and now that I have, it may be something I do in the future more consistantly. I had a great time and learned a lot about the publishing process, particularly these two points:
- Sometimes you can write something that blows the pants off of two of the judges, but the other three just aren’t on board so it doesn’t get in.
- Sometimes you can write something that blows the pants off of all of the judges, but sometimes you still won’t get published because it’s the wrong “theme” for the magazine or they’re already maxed out on fiction/poetry submissions.
The point is, sometimes, after you submit to a magazine that you really want to get published in…you don’t. Sometimes, you get that form letter rejection notice in the mail that says “Thank you but unfortunately…” and you think that it’s because of you or what you submitted. Maybe it was, but maybe it wasn’t. Maybe you really impressed the judges but there was some outlying factor that prevented you from making the magazine. It doesn’t always come down to “if it’s good”.
Keep writing, keep editing, keep working, and keep learning – that’s the best advice you can follow. If you do that you’ll get published.
On a side note: those that are attending college right now or even know of local literary magazines near them, it would be beneficial for you to volunteer some of your time to them. Publishing other writers makes you a better writer yourself.