As we progress through August, and the little ones trudge back to school with their pencil boxes and trapper-keepers, this is also an important time for writers. First of all, most literary journals will begin accepting submissions again after their summer breaks. I try to have a barrage of stories ready to mail out towards the end of August. Then, while those are making their way through the review process, I can start working on a new batch. If things go well, I strive to have another wave of stories to send out before the journals take their holiday break. And of course, always remember to check the submission guidelines of your specific journal before dashing off your manuscript because some of them don’t start until September or later in the fall.
The other back-to-school-type of thing that’s on my mind these days is a humble request to all the creative writing teachers out there. If each creative writing professor mixed just one or two small press publications into their required reading lists, it would make a tremendous impact on these valiant companies. We continually bemoan the increasing corporatization of the publishing industry but too often we don’t actually do anything about it. Creative writing professors are in a prime position to ensure that, at least, twenty or thirty copies of a small press book are sold. And, by extension, that at least twenty or thirty minds of potential buyers experience the wonderful literature being published by the non-conglomerates. I look at reading lists for so many creative writing classes and they’re chockfull of the same old names over and over again. So I beseech all you writing professors to teach at least one small press book each semester.
Get your submissions piled up and ready to dump on the postman. It’s almost submission time!