March 27, 2015
Dear Intrepid Readers,
In just two short weeks, we’ll be travelling to Minneapolis for #AWP15, where all the magic of independent publishing and writers comes together in one booze-soaked four-day convention! We’ll be at booth #430, sharing a table with the inimitable Paper Nautilus Press, so if you’re AWP-bound, we’d love to see your face at our booth! We’ll have a limited-run, AWP-exclusive set of broadsheets & a NonBinary Review print sampler, as well as Zoetic Press shot glasses (and would love to have a drink with you.) We’re most excited about the prospect of meeting so many of our contributors—please come take pictures with us!
Actually a fairly accurate representation of much of AWP. Not that we remember.
This week brought us some curveballs—both the positive kind and the negative kind. We want to leave you with something happy to think on at the end of this letter, so we’re going to address the unfortunate situation that we encountered this week first.
As an editor, there are some uncomfortable situations that you’re going to encounter at some point, all of which are just part-and-parcel of curating a publication: angry submitters, ignored guidelines, submissions in 16 point purple Comic Sans, etc. But the one situation you truly hope to avoid ever encountering is one that, in the online age, is a very real concern: plagiarism. With so many creative works hosted publicly through a host of channels, it’s inevitable that at some point, an ethically compromised writer is going to plagiarize. In fact, David Cameron recently wrote an editorial for the Review Review on the subject—and how easy it is for editors to miss plagiarism, because, let’s face it, there’s no way that any editorial team can be accountable for reading everything in the world. And as yet, there isn’t a streamlined way to check a creative work for plagiarism – especially plagiarism from sources that aren’t online or in English, so editors have to trust that when authors agree to the terms of their contract, that the “I certify that this work is my own intellectual property” clause is true.
Imagine our dismay when a reader discreetly contacted us to alert us to the fact that a creative work published in the past year by Zoetic Press was plagiarized. The reader sent us the text of the original story, and when faced with the original text, we had no choice but to agree.
What hurt us was the fact that a writer—who we count as a peer and as part of “our tribe”—had lied to us and had hurt another author, another person in “our tribe,” by stealing their work. At Zoetic Press, one of the things we are most proud of are the close bonds we keep with our authors, and the idea that one of these authors had misrepresented their work made us feel taken advantage of. It also made us truly angry on behalf of all of the wonderful authors who put so much time, effort and attention into their craft. To plagiarize is a slap in the face to all the writers who are getting on with the difficult, often frustrating, act of writing. Although this incident is now solidly in our rear-view mirror, we felt that sharing it with our readers was important for the sake of transparency. We also wanted to stress how grateful we are to our readers—it was, after all, a reader who recognized the plagiarism and discreetly informed us of it, so that we could take the necessary steps to correct the situation.
But we promised to leave off with you this Friday on a good note. This week, Sundress Publications announced their Best of the Net winners and finalists. Are you ready for this?
Out of the literally thousands of submissions coming in from editors on online publications across the country—not one, but TWO of NonBinary Review’s nominees made the list of finalists! We want to congratulate these NBR#1 contributors for taking a chance on submitting to our magazine when we took our maiden voyage—you believed in our publication, and we believed in your work. And because of that mutual act of trust and respect, we’re a stronger publication, and these two authors are recognized once again for their stellar accomplishment and memorable work.
You can follow us on Facebook (Zoetic Press, Lithomobilus) and also on Twitter (@ZoeticPress and Litho). We’ve been upping our social media postings and we’d love to see more reader & contributor engagement, so that we know our posts are giving you more of what you want. We also have a really fun Pinterest page and whenever possible, we post audio/video of our contributors’ work on our YouTube channel. Not a fan of social media, and just want the condensed version? Sign up for our monthly newsletter—we’re serious about your privacy, and promise not to flood your inbox. And if you haven’t already, download the free app—now available for both iPad AND iPhone!
Until next week—
Allie Marini Batts, Managing Editor