Literary Magazines

This post is inspired by the great news that a short story of mine will be published in the next issue of Line Zero! If you go to the website, you can see MY NAME on the list of finalists for the literary contest. Let’s all take a moment to do a happy dance.

You may be wondering what Line Zero is. It recently started as a new, independent arts and writing journal. Basically, that means it has joined the ranks of McSweeney’s, the Paris Review, Glimmer Train, and many more in publishing short stories, poems, creative essays, and other arts. These publications almost always have a small but dedicated readership of people who love the art of art.

Most literary magazines focus on that: the literary. This means that the fiction published aren’t genre; the stories are often experimental, with more focus on language, and they often are harder to access. The side effect of this is that lit mags aren’t very popular in just the same way that literary fiction doesn’t sell well. I don’t think my piece is particularly experimental, but I’ll let you guys judge for yourselves.

Although the general populace does not know very much about literary magazines, these journals play an important role in the careers of writers. Getting a short story published in a lit mag is a big boost to your writing resume, something you can put on query letters to impress literary agents. Of course, this means that literary journals are flooded with submissions from hopeful writers, so it gets difficult to find a publishing credit there. Enter the newer indies (like Line Zero) that don’t have the historical allure of the New Yorker, and college publications like Northwestern’s Prompt (of which I am Managing Editor), and you have more of a chance to begin building your publishing credits.

The New York Times recently published an interesting article on the fate of the literary magazine these days, which you can access here. I am honored to be published in Line Zero and I hope some of you will become part of its readership!