11 July 2017
Dear Intrepid Reader,
It’s hot, I’m feeling oppressed by politics, and I’ve been crazy busy with Zoetic Press’s newest venture, so I’m just going to talk about that.
For the last six months, we at Zoetic Press have been tossing around the idea of starting a podcast. The problem is that there are about fourteen bazillion podcasts about literature – reading it, rating it, discussing its creation and dissemination, interviewing its authors and editors. I didn’t want to do the same thing everyone else is already doing.
At the same time, we get requests all the time for two kinds of information: what kinds of submissions are most likely to be accepted, and why a particular submission was not accepted. For me, editing is like shopping for a gift. I don’t always know exactly what I’m looking for, the when I see it, I know it. On the other hand, I’m good at articulating what doesn’t work.
So The Literary Whip was born.
We decided to take pieces that had been upvoted by the editors, but that were not ultimately selected. It’s important for authors to realize that a rejection doesn’t mean that the piece was terrible. There are several reasons for rejection that have nothing to do with the piece itself – a journal has already accepted its quota for a given issue or has already accepted a piece with a similar theme or subject, for example. And if we have more than one piece dealing with a similar topic, it can be a really close call.
On the other hand, there are also lots of pieces we reject because we don’t have the time to polish up pieces whose punctuation, spelling, or grammar aren’t up to snuff. It’s sad, but sometimes the difference between acceptance and rejection is taking a pass or two with a good spell checker.
I’ll be honest – when I first ran the idea by my friends, I was afraid they would say “That’s a horrible idea. Nobody will ever want their stuff dissected in public like that.” I was so afraid it was a bad idea that it took me a long time to get started. Finally, I reached out to a bunch of NonBinary Review submitters, thinking that when they all said “Why on earth would I do this?” I would know that I’m an idiot with terrible ideas.
And then the “yes” replies started rolling in. And not just “yes,” but “this is great,” “I’m really excited,” and “I can hardly wait.” I was gobsmacked.
About eight years ago, in the dim and distant infancy of podcasting, I had done a podcast called “Satellite of Grace” where I talked to people about the role of religion in their lives. It was great fun, and by the time I quit a few years later, I had about 10,000 followers. Back then, all you had to do was record and post the recording to a site that distributed it to iTunes and other podcast providers. Because there were so few podcasters, there wasn’t much competition. Nowadays, a podcast has to be supported with a website and a social media presence and a marketing campaign. It’s kind of complex.
The good news is that all that stuff is now done.
The Literary Whip will put out its debut episode, where we will talk about “The Poet as Fool” by Sally Zakariya, on Saturday, July 15, and we’ll have new episodes every other Friday. If you’re the editor of a lit mag and you’d like to talk about a piece you’ve rejected, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can reach out to us on The Literary Whip Facebook page!
Want to tell us how excited you are about this? Reach out on social media!
And, in case you missed it, go check out our latest Alphanumeric, The Mexican Pet by Denise Dumars.