NYWF 2009: Day Two

After attempting to write a couple of race parody vignettes, I had been looking forward to the ‘You are So Lacist’ panel, and initially, the session touched on the topic, with talk on how racial parody can reiterate what it seeks to deconstruct (Tom Cho), how ‘whiteness is ignored by non-whites’ (Bhakthi Puvanethiran), and how art is like a rorschach inkblot (Tom Doig). But then the audience hijacked the panel* and flew it towards those twin towers of Indigenous Issues and White Guilt and the room was on fire, people started to shout, and I stopped listening—

The ‘Sweet Staple High: The New Class’ panel defined what an Established Journal was. Meanjin, Heat, Overland, Southerly, Westerly, and Island are examples of Established Journals. They have stuck around for years, have greater resources and circulation numbers, maintain a steady subscription base and a staple of writers. Some might be described as ‘set in their ways’ or failing to ‘diversify their content’.

The newer journals, on the other hand, have less money, smaller circulation, and do not usually have a subscription base. Therefore, they are more fluid/inconsistent, and are more willing to take risks with unknown writers/artists. Christopher Currie (facilitator), Kirk Marshall, Bhakthi Puvanenthiran, Sean Wilson, Angela Meyer, and David Edgley read a sample of newer literary journals and voiced their thoughts:

Stop, Drop, and Roll

  •  A beautifully designed publication.
  • Good non-fiction. (Bhakthi)
  • But is it more of the same? (David)

Harvest

  • Ridiculously over-designed. (Kirk)
  • Fairly consistent but sometimes it makes odd choices i.e. quirky twister game juxtaposed with serious non-fiction.
  • Good non-fiction. (Bhakthi)

The Lifted Brow

  • Has vision.
  • A ‘treasure trove’. (Angela)
  • In terms of style, The Brow is much more punchy.

Ampersand

  • More able to reach a wider audience as it incorporates other material.
  • A curiosity.
  • Nifty pocket size. (Kirk)
  • Something that I would want other people to see on my shelf (Bhakthi).

Torpedo

  • ‘Very specific group and type of writers’. (Angela)
  • A lot of stories are pretty similar; it can become a little bland. (Kirk)
  • Fiction only.
  • Another Me Too McSweeney’s?

Cutwater

  • Alienates readers with its design. (Bhakthi)
  • From a contributor’s perspective: poor editorial feedback/communication. Cutwater seems to take its contributors for granted. (Kirk and Angela)

Since many of the newer journals are Melbourne-based, the audience expressed some concern. Is there a Melbourne clique, and does it influence the content of Melbourne journals? Angela Meyer denied this. Friendless when she first moved down to Melbourne, she has managed to acquaint herself with many of the region’s publishing industry. And her work has been rejected by editor friends several times**.

Naturally, networking helps. After meeting you, editors might be more inclined to read your published work and solicit submissions, but their priority is to produce a quality journal. Or at least, that’s my theory. Feel free to rip into it.

*Wah, if I rearrange the letters, I get ‘plane’.

**And I can attest to this. Editor of The Lifted Brow and Meyerphile, Ronnie Scott, has rejected her work several times. TLB6 will be the first time her work has been published with The Brow.

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Upcoming NYWF shennanigans: ‘Crimes Against the Industry’, ‘Distro How-to’, and ‘The Great Gatsby Ball’.

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Because I failed to bring home the Deakin bacon

I lied. Things don’t happen in Burwood (except for op shops—the Burwood East RSPCA op shop is the best). 

Since I am unable to report back on Words@Deakin, I thought I’d link to Stop Drop and Roll’s article on royal-family inbreeding, ‘Hapsburg Cubed: How to get a severe disfigurement named after your family’.

I’ve also finally uploaded Josephine Rowe’s performance of ‘Fast’ from The Lifted Brow Issue Five launch for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy.

A dash of poetry, a splash of sin (syn)

I thought I’d listen to SYN’s Textual Fantasies before writing up today’s post, and was pleased to discover that the subject of my post, Harvest Poetry Editor Josephine Rowe, was on the program. 

Estelle and Maddie were interviewing the editors from Harvest and Stop, Drop, and Roll, and it was cool hearing how other literary journals do the ‘boring stuff’ i.e. distribution, and promotion. Harvest has started using Selectair as a distributor, while Stop, Drop, and Roll are still pretty much sending out stuff themselves. In terms of promotion, both magazines agreed on the importance of online presence: ‘Most of our promotion is all online’ (SDR); ‘You just can’t underestimate it [the internet] any more’ (Harvest). They also do promotional activities such as leaving free copies of their publication at cafes, and dropping positive comments about the magazine within earshot of prospective buyers.

But back to Josephine Rowe and poetry. The Overload Poetry Festival is happening this week, and Josephine will be performing tomorrow for ‘Dreaming Highways‘, alongside Andy Jackson, Laura Smith, Gemma White, and Jessica Raschke. (‘Dreaming Highways‘ is not part of the official Overload program, but it is poetry; I still think it’s reasonable to mention both in the same sentence.)

There’s also another poetry gig on at La Mama on Monday night, showcasing the likes of Sean M. Whelan, Ben Pobjie, Briohny Doyle, Angela Meyer, and Barry Dickins (this one’s officially part of Overload, I promise). I hear it will be Angela’s first foray into the spoken word poetry scene, so come along and show her some support. 🙂

Anyway, that’s all from me. Thumbs up to Textual Fantasies, Harvest and Stop, Drop, and Roll. They love The Lifted Brow. Ballast-bless their welcome mats.

You will submit to Stop Drop and Roll

Well, it’s official. Stop Drop and Roll is extending its submission deadline for Issue Two:

Submissions will now be accepted until 30 September 2009.

This time period is just a little longer than it would take a wolf to gestate two litters back to back. Don’t be shown up by the animal kingdom; if you have any idea embryos lying around, we suggest you implant them now and get incubating.

Writers head to the website to peruse Writing submission guidelines, while all you tricky cats in the “other disciplines” pen can find your way to the Visual Art/Film/Design/Music guidelines situated very close by. We’re told you guys think laterally anyway.

For those of you who have not seen the journal, Stop Drop and Roll is a new Melbourne-based literary journal that’s small in length but punchy in content and design. (And yes, I am still salivating over the front cover of Issue One.)

Its editors, Sean Wilson and Liz Seymour, are looking for ‘new material that is bold, intriguing, intelligent, colourful, passionate and many other words besides’ (The Pitch), which frighteningly sounds like a menagerie full of exotic critters. However, Wilson and Seymour did appear at the Emerging Writers’ Festival to speak about what they were after. They want their journal to be a forum for discussion between writers (both emerging and established) and readers and are open to all topics so long as the pieces are intriguing and intelligent with ‘palpable energy of thought’.

Interested in reading/submitting? Become a Facebook fan, read about Issue One – Crash Course (see below), or check out Stop Drop and Roll’s submission guidelines. For more general tips on submitting of the writerly (i.e. asexual) kind, check out Chris Flynn’s dos and don’ts from one of my older posts here.

WANT MORE DIRT ON STOP DROP AND ROLL?

Read:

Issue One - Crash Course (courtesy of Stop Drop and Roll)

The Pitch

Fact: prior to this week, I was a writers’ festival virgin. There have been flirtations—a magazine launch here, some voluntary cyberspace work there—but nothing concrete. No, ah, entry of any sort. Angela Meyer’s ’15 Minutes of Fame’ was my first taste of a real writers’ festival event (for more on ’15 Minutes’, click here); I liked it so much, I decided to come back for more.

So, after work today, I drove down to the Melbourne Town Hall where the Emerging Writers’ Festival was being held. I managed to attend two panel sessions: ‘Truth and honesty in writing’ and ‘The revolution will be downloaded’. I also managed to make two somewhat transient friends, Stuart and Tamara, who offered to buy me a drink initially, then ditched me to chase after some writerly celebrity residing in a corner of the Portico Balcony.

I also managed to sit in for ‘The Pitch’, where editors from various print and online magazines gave helpful tips about pitching and submitting one’s work. Torpedo’s Chris Flynn was particularly useful, giving a succinct list of submission dos and don’ts:

  1. Do read the submission guidelines
  2. Do read the publication. It quickly becomes apparent to the editor when a writer hasn’t read the publication at all.
  3. Don’t submit your old work. Not only is it a poor reflection of where a writer is at the moment, it also encourages laziness and ‘laurels-resting’.
  4. Do submit one story at a time.
  5. Do submit the right genre. If the guidelines say ‘fiction’, it means exactly that.
  6. Don’t frontload. Keep your cover letter/email short and sweet. (Apparently someone once sent Chris Flynn a fifteen-hundred-word email for a twelve-hundred-word piece. He was not impressed.)
  7. Do keep formatting to a minimum. The editor’s going to have to remove it anyway, and he or she won’t thank you for the extra work.
  8. Do be nice. It. Gets. You. Places.

In regards to manuscript pitches, Aduki Independent Press’ Emily Clark gave the following advice:

  1. Know the publisher: how does your work fit within their vision?
  2. Know your market: who’s going to buy your book?
  3. Don’t burn any bridges: just because they didn’t love your first idea, doesn’t mean they’ll hate all of your future ones.

It was great hearing from heavyweights such as Meanjin, Going Down Swinging, The Big Issue, and Overland, as well as less well-known publications like Stop Drop and Roll and Tango. I also practise my pitching skills on Emily Clark afterwards: ‘Hi, I’m from The Lifted Brow…’ But more on that some other day.

SUBMIT

The deadlines for the following journals are coming up soon:

1) Stop Drop and Roll (31 May 2009): Stop Drop and Roll is a brand spanking new Melbourne journal run by Sean Wilson (of Cottonmouth-ness) and Liz Seymour. It’s a very slim journal where non-fiction (commentary, profiles, reviews) are allocated the same or more amount of pages as fiction and poetry. It’s also beautifully designed; it even has embossing (who has that kind of money?)

2) Going Down Swinging (31 May 2009): Going Down Swinging has been around since Kevin Brophy.

3) Verandah 24 (1 June 2009): Verandah has also been around probably for as long as Kevin Brophy. Put together by a different set of Deakin University writing students each year, it’s hard to predict what kind of stuff we’ll get each issue. I suppose you could stalk them on Facebook to find out.

4) Offset (12 June 2009): Offset is Victoria University’s literary journal.

5) Page Seventeen (30 June 2009): According to SnUfft (7 April 2009), this year’s Page Seventeen has a ‘great line-up for the editorial committee’.

So what are you waiting for? SUBMIT.

Collecting rejection letters is fun! If you’re not in it for the rejection letters, then why are you a writer?