Jack  0:10  

Hello, and welcome to the third edition of the Full House podcast. I’m Jack. 

Leia  0:15  

And I’m Leia and we have some great stuff lined up for this weeks podcast don’t we Jack?

Jack  0:19  

Yeah, that’s right.

Leia  0:20  

Yes. So, in part one, we’re gonna be talking to Jowell and Molly. And then in our second part, we’re going to be talking to Richard and Chloe from the Babel Tower Notice Board. 

Jack  0:32  

But to start off, we’re going to we’re going to be looking at Perhappened’s latest issue entitled lovers. 

Leia  0:37  

Yeah, so I feel like most people listening probably would have heard of Perhappened, they are one of the best mags out there, arguably. And they give really good rejections and they release issues really frequently of all different themes. So right now they have their lovers issue out, but they’re seeking submissions for the next issue, rain or shine. So they offer some really good, you know, different themes usually related to like the seasons or the months. And you can they give really fast feedback available for a small fee. But they’ve got a really, really diverse masthead. And generally they’re just a really, really all inclusive, great place. Yeah, so we’re going to start off by looking at some standout pieces. We’ve chosen, I think, four pieces that we absolutely adored. The whole issue is gorgeous, though, and that’s available for free online. So very easily accessible.

Jack  1:28  

So the first piece we’d like to look at is ‘everything you bury comes back, it just takes time’ by Emma William- Margaret Rebholz. So I really enjoyed some of the unique images in this poem, particularly with the phrase ‘hello, divine creature housed in the attic of my mind. are you piolting me like a mecha?’ It’s just something I haven’t really heard before. And it’s like, it sort of almost blew my mind when I heard it. 

Leia  1:52  

Yeah, I just the opening line is absolutely gorgeous. ‘I once misread microfiber as microfire and a tiny blaze went up in the sofa’, it’s just such a cool line. Like, I love the imagery. I love the the sense of you know, mistake in language, and I just think is really fantastic. There are so many unique phrases. For example, ‘I’m not so much wary of memory as I am married to wariness.’ Like it’s just a really interesting phrase, like, this piece takes these words, and it really like personifies them. And it really turns them into something really grounded within reality. And this is not a long piece, like it’s a paragraph really. But there’s so much to sort of dissect in it. And you could spend, you know, an hour reading this paragraph over and over again. And you know, finding something else in it, and reading the words and having a different image attack you in the best way. So, I mean, Emma’s done really well here and this is definitely a stand out piece.

Jack  2:52  

So the second piece we’d like to look at is ‘why is talking about kissing, more intimate than kissing itself’ by Mandy Seiner. I really enjoyed the sort of zoomed in examples of intimacy. Like for example, the line ‘I once adored a girl who organized her spice rack by color: how do you come back from that gradient.’ It’s just a great like, like zooming in of the small like elements of relationship, which really, which really fits the theme of the collection, I think.

Leia  3:23  

So in Mandy’s piece specifically, there’s some really gorgeous lines, for example, ‘my hands always smell like shallots and clementines.’ And it’s got such a rhythm to it. It’s just It’s beautiful. And I really like I mean, I’m a fan of food. So I love it when poems mention food and use them to describe things and use them as examples. Because I think food is such a vivid thing you can imagine it so easily. So it was really evocative for me. And then another great line is ‘I used to keep a sketchbook full of every place I’ve ever slept that was not my own bed.’ And this sense of like displacement is really interesting here. We’ve got another line, ‘what their shampoo smells like, how the traffic sounds’, and it’s such an interesting piece of this person that’s sort of stuck or in between, like a memory that they have, and they keep coming back to it and they record it almost and I just think is a really fantastic piece and that you can really get a sense of what the narrator in this piece is feeling. 

Jack  4:29  

Next up from the issue is ‘summer harvest’ by Amy Wang, which has some really great associations of intimacy with fruits in particular, particularly the associations of ‘fig kisses.’ 

Leia  4:41  

Yeah, I think what sticks out to me in this piece is its sense of poetic language and it’s really beautiful a line I particularly like is ‘your name like a prayer.’ And I feel that the piece flows so beautifully. And again, it’s not like a long piece but everything is there and everything is so beautiful and you can go back and reread there’s a line ‘the smell of strawberrys lingers on your hands’  And again, it’s one of these pieces where you can feel and you know, see the moment where the place in time the narrator is. And as Jack says ‘fig kisses’ is gorgeous line followed by ‘and the hiss of melting ice- heat-dizzy, the two of us fumble through the motions.’ And Amy’s you know, control and confidence with language is what is most beautiful about this piece. 

Jack  5:31  

The fourth piece we’re going to look at is ‘a breakfast of all my past loves’ by Sam Herschel Wein. Conceptually, this piece is really unique. It’s like it has it associates food, items and meals with past relationships. And it’s incredibly sentimental and intimate with the with the narrator.

Leia  5:50  

Yeah, I mean, again, we’ve chosen another food one, I think it’s really interesting that the pieces we found most successful in, you know, conveying the idea of, you know, love have all involve some sort of food, I guess food is a good way in maybe because it’s so recognizable that, you know, it’s quite an accessible way of conveying imagery. Sam does an incredible job with this piece. ‘I’ve cooked Alexandre into the greens’ he like, doesn’t just use you know, food to describe his past lovers, but he actively like, brings them in to the food element. Another line that’s really good is ‘I’m happy too, thickly spreading Ryan and Tony, buttery marriage, left me behind one day.’ And the whole thing you can it feels like you can sort of read it in a breath. There’s not I think it’s mainly all commas. Yeah, it’s like one massive thought. And it’s really incredible. It’s like this stream of consciousness, but it is controlled. And it’s thought out. And I mean, I love I absolutely love the way that food has been used here. It’s a really clever and unique way of approaching something that you know, is spoken about in poetry like fairly often. But this is a really clever way of like flipping, you know, the traditional way you’d imagine love to be spoken about. And also, you know, food, which is again, a common thing discussed or, you know, seen in poetry. So yeah, Sam has done a really good job of merging the two together in a really successful way.

So we’ve got a guest on now, who is pretty much an expert at submitting, we have Jowell and Jowell has submitted to lots of different magazines and journals. So he’s here to give us you know, the ins and outs talk about you know, where people usually go wrong, and his suggested tips to make sure you’ve got the best chance of succeeding with your submission. So hi, Jowell!

Jowell  7:43  

Hi, Leia. Thanks for having me on. 

Leia  7:45  

Thank you so much for coming on Jowell. I think this is gonna be a really interesting conversation. So do you want to start off by telling us a bit about your submission journey? You know, have you been submitting for long? How many places have you submitted to? What’s your story like? 

Jowell  7:59  

I’ve been writing for a long time, I think in film school, but I only started submitting maybe last year around January, I’ve forgotten how many places I’ve submitted to but I’ve been lucky enough to get published 23 times last year. 

Leia  8:17  

Wow.

Jowell  8:20  

Yeah, I’ve submitted so many times that I sort of have a system now. So I was thinking that maybe your audience would like, like an idea of how someone would do their submissions and just make it so that it’s not so tiresome to keep repeating yourself while when you’re doing the submissions, because there’s always certain things that you have to keep note of. So it would be best to have a system.

Leia  8:46  

Certainly and the first thing we wanted to sort of get your opinion on was how to find the right mag, because I mean, there’s so many out there, right? And they cover really different sort of themes, and they’re looking for really different things. So how do you sort of, you know, start and find out where your work should be placed? What do you do specifically Jowell? 

Jowell  9:06  

Okay, so let’s, let’s start from, for example, I have a piece that’s ready to go out. Right, the first thing I would do is to actually go on social media, and to the magazines that I followed recently, or the magazines that I’ve kept my eye on and see if they are submitting because not all magazines, accept submissions all year round. But I always find that the best way to find a place for your piece is to actually go on to the website and read a couple of issues. You don’t have to read an entire issue, but it will be just bits and pieces to see what the editors look out for in terms of how they want the issues to look like. The website also helps a lot the actual website not just the content, but like the layout, the colors that they use, plus the image they’re trying to project, the vibe that they’re trying to give you. In terms of myself, I go to different magazine websites, I read a couple of entries, I look at the website layout and design to see if it feels right to submit there, it’s very subjective. But what I found it places that vibe really well with the pieces I send more often than not get accepted. 

Leia  10:27  

Certainly, I think it’s a really good idea to really, as you say, you know, look at the websites, look at the visuals, look at the idea they’re trying to put out. And if you’re, you know, your piece and your work doesn’t quite fit that, then maybe they’re not the one for you, you’re definitely gonna have a better chance of being accepted, if you know if at least some of your core values or themes match up with your piece and the mag. So that’s really good advice. I think, Jowell. So now moving on to say you’ve submitted, that’s all done out the way found a place you like, what do you do while you wait? Because I know for some people this wait can be absolutely agonizing. And it’s really like anxiety inducing. So I mean, if you’ve been waiting a while, what do you do? I mean, some people I know would chase the submissions. Is that a good idea? Or is it best just to wait? Talk us through that process?

Jowell  11:15  

Okay, well, personally, I don’t send chasers, I don’t send follow up emails, because my perspective is there are like probably hundreds of other emails that they have to go through. So I wouldn’t want to rush them. If I send an email to rush them, they might not make the best decision at that point in time. So I would rather they make the right decision whether it’s an acceptance or rejection, I would rather that they did so with a clear mind rather than me following up to, to nudge them, if you get what I mean, now, usually the websites will tell you when to chase them. Like so some websites will say, oh, we take eight weeks or so and websites will say we take I think the longest I heard was six months. Yeah, there was a six months waiting period. But I would suggest that if anybody wants to send a follow up email, they would do well to actually attach the original email that they sent, so that the editors don’t have to dig through their inboxes to find your email. 

Leia  12:27  

Yeah, I think that’s actually some really good advice. And so what would you say? To people who are you know, more nervous, a bit more restless? Instead of sending that follow up email or chasing? Or, you know, being really like on edge? What do you reckon they could do to sort of, you know, pass the time or to try and take their mind off the submission that they’ve just sent in?

Jowell  12:47  

I would say, just go and submit more.

Leia  12:51  

Yes, get right back in there with the submissions.  

Jowell  12:54  

Yeah. Because a lot of places do simultaneous submissions. So you don’t have to be, you don’t have to worry that you can only send one piece to one magazine at one time. Yeah, then other than that, what I would do is just wait, and you can write it more, you can write more stuff. So you can send it to more places. You could take a break and go out. If you really feel anxious about it, the easiest thing would just be to not think about it. Just go out and get some food grab a drink. Meet a friend. Yeah. Oh, but but not right now? 

Leia  13:33  

Yes, very sadly, not right now. But hopefully at some point in the future. So I know, you mentioned simultaneous submissions. And I think for a lot of people, that is the case, they do have a lot in one go. And it can be quite hard to track submission. So I was wondering what advice you have on that on what you use. So when I submit, I personally do use a spreadsheet, it’s just easier for me to see everything laid out that way. But what advice do you have on that? 

Jowell  13:56  

Personally, I use the Google Docs app. So for example, I have all my pieces in the Google Docs like a main folder, then when I start sending stuff, I will actually create a new document with the magazine’s name on it. So like, for example, if I were to send to Full House, and you guys take like, five poems, I will create a new document that says Full House underscore five poems underscore January 2021. Then I will put the poems that I want to send into the document, then I will just send it out. So in the Google Docs main folder, I will see that I sent Full House five poems in January. Yeah, that’s that’s how I do it. And when I get when I get an acceptance reply, I just look through all the documents that I sent out to the various magazines and if anyone overlaps, I just send a follow up email to say like oh, sorry, another place is thickening. So I’m redrawing it from your consideration. Yeah, but that’s how I do it. It’s it’s a little labor intensive as compared to the spreadsheets, which I, yeah. Which I actually only heard about the spreadsheet thing, the end of last year, when someone showed it to me. And then I was like, oh, this is so much easier.

Leia  15:25  

And I mean, how important is it to track of your submission to say?

Jowell  15:29  

I would say it’s very important, especially if you’re doing a lot of simultaneous submissions, because the last thing you want is to have multiple magazines, accepting the same piece. And then you have to embarrass yourself by replying and saying, oh, actually another place took it already. It is just wasting everybody’s time. So I would think that tracking your submissions is really, really important. It just saves everybody a lot of time.

Leia  16:02  

 Yeah, I think I certainly would agree with you there Jowell. So let’s move on to rejections. Now, say you’ve got your piece back and its rejection sadly, how do you deal with that? Because I know for some people, they might have got rejection after rejection, you can feel pretty, you know, beaten down. So what would your advice be on, you know, finding the motivation to carry on and keep submitting and not to feel too like downtrodden by the rejection, I suppose? 

Jowell  16:26  

Well, the actual reply itself can be very helpful. Recently a lot of the new magazines have been sending rejections with recommendations for other places, which I find very helpful. I used that to fuel myself to carry on submitting the piece to other places. Other things I do usually is, like they say, if you get rejected, once you send it out to other places. So that’s what I do. But otherwise, I’m personally I’m pretty alright. Cause I don’t send stuff hoping to get accepted. I send stuff expecting to get rejected these days. Yeah, so if a rejection comes, it’s not like the end of the world for me. But if it’s if it’s acceptance, then it’s a good thing, of course. 

Leia  17:18  

Okay, that’s pretty interesting to perspective on that Jowell. Yeah, I think you’ve got some really good points in there. The next thing we wanted to discuss was your experiences, the good, the bad, you know, the ugly. For the good, feel free to name names that shout out these good mags for the bad ones. Maybe that’s not, but talk us through some of your best or worst experiences. Best experiences have been acceptances that come within the day that I send them, for example. Well, this is a good mag, so I can say daily drunk and dream journal, they are both run by the same editor, Shawn Berman. He is very fast with replies.So there was a time I sent him something. And he replied in like, six hours. 

Wow. 

Jowell  18:06  

So there’s this, yeah, thats the shortest time. And that was also the best I would say the one of the better experiences I’ve been having is submitting to Perhappened. I’m currently zero and eight. But one day I’ll get there but their rejection letters are the best. And I never feel I never feel bad about getting a reply from them. The not so good experiences, usually the replies that are form. Form replies they they usually just put your name in you can tell that it’s just insert name here and send it out. So that’s those are usually not the not the ones I like to receive. But yeah, I will say I have had better I have had more good experiences than bad in in the department. 

Leia  18:58  

Wow, I guess it just goes to show that quick response times make better experiences then that’s really interesting to know. Now, let’s give let’s have you give a round up of your you know, your final tips, your tricks, if someone’s a new starter, what are the key things that everyone needs to know when submitting? 

Jowell  19:21  

The most important thing is to go on the website and read the guidelines.

Leia  19:25  

Okay, I think that’s a good, very good piece of advice. And so on a similar train of thought do you have any recommendations of places that you know, you’ve had good experiences with that you would recommend to other submitters so I mean, you’ve mentioned Perhappened and and daily drunk but if anything else, you know, springs to mind, just let’s hear them.

Jowell  19:46  

A couple come to mind would be ex/post, they are usually very kind with their words when they reject me off the top of my head, maybe it is a little hard to think of some, but usually the nice magazines are those on Twitter that I follow. Like, there’s a new wave of teen magazines that are really friendly and personable on social media. 

Leia  20:19  

So then would you say that, you know, the thing that keeps you wanting to resubmit and keep in contact with this magazine? Or whoever would be if they have, you know, a nice, friendly, polite sort of demeanor. Does that is that the one thing that you’d say is important in keeping you engaged?

Jowell  20:35  

Yeah. Like, even if it’s even if it’s something bad, like they like they don’t take my piece. But they they say nice things about it. They have feedback, they, they have recommendations, where else to send it. So it’s not just oh, I’m sorry, it didn’t work for us. Thank you. It’s more of a, we liked it but it’s not what we are going for here are a couple of places you can try. So those are the best replies you can get from a rejection email. 

Leia  21:07  

Okay, brilliant. So it’s been really wonderful to learn about, you know, your take on the submission process, and the highs and the lows and what  you recommend people to do? But now let’s hear a little bit more about you and your work, Jowell! So what sort of things do you write and you know, where can we find them? 

Jowell  21:24  

Well, I write a mix of poetry and prose. I’ve been published in torn magazine, for one that was the late there was the latest one.  In 2021. I have pieces coming out in crow and cross keys. And Cobra milk. The second issue should be out soon. I actually have a compilation of all my prose works that I got published in 2020. It’s on the link is on my Twitter account if anybody wants to follow. It’s it’s pay what you want, so you can get it for free and read it or you can give me a bit of pocket money.

Leia  22:11  

That’s a good idea good shout.

Jowell  22:12  

That’s about it. So last year I got into 23 places, so I can’t remember all. Sorry about that. But yeah, basically, that’s that’s me. So the last thing I want to say is, when you send your submission email, you should try and have a cover letter, you can just have a template template cover letter that I use. So I will say like, thank you for reading my submission, I have how many poems in a PDF file, or I have a prose piece of how many words in a PDF file, then I would just say, say something nice, like, oh, thank you for your time. Either way, I hope you enjoy reading it looking forward to your response. And then if they ask for an author bio, then you can put your usual but if they don’t then just put in. Yeah, that’s what I will say a cover letter. If you have a template, it would be good to have a template. 

Leia  23:08  

You seem like such a polite submitter. I mean, you’re obviously such a shining light in the community. I wish everyone could be like you honestly. 

Jowell  23:15  

Well, I mean, it’s the editors job to read what I have. So the least I can do is to make their lives easier. If you get if you get a rejection letter. Don’t Don’t get angry, don’t get mad. It’s not that it’s not they don’t they don’t like it is maybe not a fit for what they’re looking for. So just just leave it. Yeah. 

Leia  23:40  

Well, thank you so much for chatting to us, Jowell. Well, this has been really interesting. And I know if I had any questions, or I was looking for any tips on submitting listening to this really helped me and definitely has like I’ll be taking on board your tips. So thank you so much for appearing and chatting to us. And so now our next guest is Molly hill from Blue Marble Review. Hi, Molly, thank you so much for coming on. 

Molly  24:03  

Hi, Leia. Thank you so much for asking us. We’re excited to talk writing with you.

Leia  24:08  

It is a pleasure to have you on Molly. So do you want to start off by telling us a little bit about blue marble review how you guys originated and what you sort of aim to do? 

Molly  24:17  

Certainly, we’re in our sixth year now. And it started as a kind of a creative project after I got my MFA in grad school. I started with a couple other writer friends. And I’ve always wanted to do a journal that appeals to the young writers because I’ve written for a long time and I’d say even after writing for a long time, you tend to still always feel like a new and beginning writer and I think it’s a great thing to offer exposure and and showcase writers on the way up I would say we also started blue marble as a reaction to something I learned in grad school, which was that there’s sort of a canon of the right things to read the essential things to read the correct lit journals, the most important publications, that kind of thing. And it’s something that has always felt exclusive. And so I think by starting up a platform for other writers, we kind of hope to bring more people into the conversation. 

Leia  25:18  

I’ve been looking through some of your fantastic issues. And the great thing about you guys is you don’t only offer you know, the traditional prose, poetry, you guys also offer art, for non fiction. So how did you guys sort of decide that, you know, you were going to branch out and not just stick exclusively to prose or poetry? 

Molly  25:34  

We started out wanting to do art and personal essay, because that’s I think the writers I know are fans of that form of writing. And we really wanted to expand it and be something that included not just the traditional, but also hybrid forms so that students wouldn’t feel locked into if I do an essay, it’s got to be the five paragraph essay that I learned in school, we really wanted to expand, I’d say remove constrictions and expand forms of writing that we wanted to accept. 

Leia  26:03  

One thing I noticed about the marble review is that you have quite a large masthead, your team is quite varied. It’s quite extensive. And I was just wondering, how did you guys sort of get together the team? And how do you operate? 

Molly  26:15  

We started out with just, I would say, adult writers. I started with a cohort of some of my friends from my grad school program. And we, you know, read submissions and selected work for the issue. And it became clear before not too long that this is a this is an issue for young writers. And we need young voices on our masthead. So I reached out to a couple local high schools in Minnesota where I live in the US. And several of these high schools had writing centers. And so we pitch in over this journal we’re starting out with there be any students that are interested in editing, and we got a huge response. So that evolved into meeting with some of these high school writers in writing centers, and they became our first editorial board. Some of those students have gone on to college, have many of them and have some have stayed with us. Others have gone on to other things. But I would say the editors that we’ve added have been students that have reached out to us and said, Is there a way that I can be involved in this? We haven’t done an open call, yet. We’re thinking about possibly doing that. But it’s been student editors that have reached out to us and asked to help. And then we’ve, you know, screened and worked with them to make our selections? 

Leia  27:34  

And how does this sort of work? Do you share the same submissions, or do certain people read poetry prose?

Molly  27:40  

We, we divide everything up, I’d say we get the fewest art submissions. And so I don’t have a separate cohort that reviews those those I have, I will reach out to other artists that I know and ask their opinions on what to select. But the other writing our editors are divided into cohorts. So for each issue, there’ll be a poetry cohort a fiction cohort and a nonfiction cohort. And then those writers will just read that genre for a particular issue. So that is, of course, to make sure that no pieces just read by one person, I read everything, and then I send out work to the different editorial teams. I know other lit mags will have like, they’ll hire a poetry editor, but we rotate around. So for example, if you’re on the editorial team that reads poetry for the June issue, then for the September issue, you’ll read essays, and then December, you’ll read fiction. So that seems to keep it fresh and the editors seemed to like that. That’s how we go about 

Leia  28:39  

Oh, right. See, I’ve never heard of anyone doing that. And that sounds really interesting, really, you know, gives editors the chance to experience different sections. So I think that’s a really good initiative from you guys.

Molly  28:48  

It seems to have worked for us. I know initially, when we first started out, some of the students will say, Well, I shouldn’t be on the poetry team, because I don’t, I’m not an expert, or I, you know, what if someone’s word got turned down, because I didn’t know what I was reading, or I, you know, I didn’t recognize great poetry. And I feel like that’s the beauty of having multiple readers, is we get just as many that our editors will give us reviews of the work they read, and there’ll be people that say, you know, definitely yes, and definitely no for the same piece. So I think as readers and writers we all bring our own, you know, biases, definitely to the table. But if you are, to me, someone that enjoys words and literature and reading, you’re qualified to read a poem.

Leia  29:34  

Yeah, I can definitely see that. And Molly, what do you think has been, you know, the highs and the lows of blue marble review and you know what have you sort of got from the experience? What’s it been like so far? 

Molly  29:45  

I feel like the highs way outnumber the lows. The amount of insight and talent that we see from our student writers is has far exceeded my expectations. The highlight for me is emailing and corresponding and working with students from all over the world on their on their writing. In the editing process. I’m trying to think of lows, probably we’ve avoided some lows, because at the beginning, I turned off the comments. I didn’t want random people commenting on student writing, I feel like young up and coming writers don’t need, you know, a random person critiquing their writing. So we’ve avoided some lows that way. I would say maybe a struggle, but not a low is trying to secure funding, always. But that’s just part of it. So that’s okay. 

Leia  30:34  

Yep. Yeah, I can understand that one. So, your age bracket is writers from 13 to 22. Now, that’s quite low 13. When I was 13, I was not writing anywhere near to the extent I am now at 20. So would you talk us through a bit about, you know, your age bracket, why you decided to make it that and what you sort of do to make sure that you’re being fair to every writer within that bracket? 

Molly  31:01  

Yes, that it’s a wide span, which is something that we really make clear with our editors, when I send out the pieces, everything’s read anonymously, except for age. So Leia, your piece would go out as your essay age 20. Because to your point, writing as a 13 year old is different than writing when you’re a sophomore in college. And so we want to be encouraging to all age groups. But it’s, you know, there’s a level of sophistication and maturity that isn’t always there. It’s sometimes is in young writers, but we want to be able to acknowledge all the different ages, when we print, you know, on our publications, sometimes a young writer will say their age, but I guess we don’t write someone’s name, age 13 by their piece, but we do consider that as editors, the age and stage of the writer. 

Leia  31:56  

Yeah, I think that is such a good idea. I mean, that’s really comforting, I think, for the writer, to know that they’re not being discriminated in any way, just because they’re not at, you know, the upper half of the age bracket. So I think you guys are doing some really good work there to make sure that writers aren’t, you know, discouraged. 

Molly  32:12  

Yep. Leia, you mentioned you started writing at a younger age, too. And I, I just don’t feel it’s right to be dismissive of that. And I think there’s some good work that comes out, but to take several pieces side by side and say, you know, is, what about this seventh grader versus this college graduate? That doesn’t seem like a fair comparison.  So we like to include both. 

Leia  32:35  

Yeah, that’s certainly sensible. So my next question for you is, how do you get these young writers confident enough, and in a place where they can trust you enough to submit because I know when I was 13, although I would have loved your site and been so in awe of the pieces, I didn’t know if I would have had the confidence to submit my piece, you know? So what is it that you guys do to try your best to make writers feel comfortable enough to submit? 

Molly  33:01  

At the beginning, when we first started, we did a lot of outreach to lit teachers, colleges, writing centers, to encourage them to send students, I’ve often thought that I should publish some anonymous guide or something that the number of students that will send work and preface their work. And I think we all do this as writers and say, I’m not really a writer, or this probably isn’t very good. But it’s so many that it spurs me on as far as encouraging. So I think that we are fair. And we love writing. I think I speak for the editors when I say that. So I don’t think as I said, I don’t think we’re dismissive of work. I don’t think we’re patronizing of young writers. I think we encourage their development. We do not offer feedback. And I can’t remember if you all do or not, Leia, do you first out? 

Leia  33:56  

We do. 

Molly  33:57  

You do? Okay. I thought about that at the beginning. And I will occasionally someone will. After if we turn down a piece, they’ll say, can you tell me what I did wrong? Which isn’t I can’t answer that, because often they did nothing wrong. But you know, we have so many submissions, so we end up turning down a lot. But yeah, I guess we offer critique, or I will offer critique only rarely, if asked just because the sheer numbers, we just can’t do it. But we will often what I have our editors do is they will highlight what’s working. So often I’ll include a line or paragraph or an idea or say where you know, we love this, we wish you would have kept going that kind of thing. So you don’t get what I would call the red pen treatment where you get your page back and you know, things are x’d off and circled kind of thing. I think we want to build on the positive. 

Leia  34:53  

Absolutely. And so you publish issues quarterly and you know, your site has got quite a few issues which is amazing as a reader to see because, you know, there’s not just one or two, you can dive straight in, and they’re fantastic. So if you could talk us through a little bit about why you decided quarterly, and you know, maybe some of your stand out pieces or standout issues, even though they’re all amazing, it’s going to be impossible with chose. 

Molly  35:19  

Sure, oh, that would be hard. We looked at a lot of other lit mags, which I’m guessing maybe you did, too, as you were getting started and tried to pull what we liked. And it just was good to think about form and style. And quarterly seemed like we could handle it. I had no idea starting out how many submissions to expect, how long things would take. So quarterly seemed manageable. That’s also why we started out with rolling submissions. I thought, if we start with a start and an end date, then people will maybe sign on and see, oh, they’re closed now and maybe not come back, or forget when to come back. So we wanted to start out being as open as possible. And so and that that worked, I have to say that it used to be that we would get submissions, say for the June issue, we’d get submissions, we’d read them, we’d put out the June issue. And then we think, okay, well, now we can take a break, because our next issue isn’t for a couple months, that the number of our submissions has grown so much that there’s no there are no more breaks. We just, we just keep reading and part of the momentum to is trying to think of new projects. You know, we have an anthology that just came out that we’re really excited about. We just put out a January poetry issue. And I realized I’m I’m only answering part of your question. So you wanted to know about favorites, too? Is that correct? 

Leia  36:49  

Yeah, some of that maybe you’ll most memorable issues and your most memorable writers. So you know, interpret, however, eat choose. 

Molly  36:57  

As I said, our anthology just came out this January. And that’s a compilation of our first five years of online publication. And it’s a real book that I’m holding in my hand. 

Leia  37:09  

Wow, that is so exciting. I’m definitely gonna have to get a copy of that. Tell us more about the anthology. 

Molly  37:14  

So to do the anthology, we went back over all the issues and read all the work. And it’s, it’s it was fun to see just things that that jumped out, I would say a favorite poem is by writer, a US writer named Emily Dorffer that’s called ‘death the chef’ which is fantastic. We have some incredible. Let’s see, Annie Ertle is another favorite writer. This is really hard. Kate Bishop wrote a poem called ‘fifteen months’, which we loved. And it was at the very beginning of our starting out. And I got that and I read that poem. And I thought, yes, this is one of the reasons why I’m doing this. Oh, there’s so I can’t pick favorites. There’s so many I was just emailing with a submitter this weekend. I, as our January issue went out, I thought every time I put our most recent issue online, I think this is it. This is the best one. I love everything in it. But I feel that way about every issue, which I think idealistic. And I don’t know, maybe not true, but I really do. And I think it’s exciting to know that we’re not going to get all the good writing in one issue and be done. There’s there’s always more out there coming, which is very exciting for me.

Leia  38:36  

Oh, I can totally relate about thinking, you know, the next issue is like the best issue, but that just speaks to how high quality is I suppose. So your anthology? Is this like internationally shipped? 

Molly  38:49  

It’s available internationally we’ve been sending them out, because several of our contributors, I think Ellora Sutton is a UK contributor and has done some great writing for us. Yes. And we’ve sent we sent a couple books to Nigeria yesterday. Yeah. internationally. Yes, please go to our site, we’ll find you and send our anthology will come to you. If you order. 

Leia  39:11  

You heard it here first guys, if you go to blue marble review’s site the anthology will find you. So Molly, we’ve spoken a bit about the young writers, you have at blue marble review and for yourself, Molly, how does it feel to be in the position of some of these writers are writing for the first time with you guys, how’s it feel that you get the first look at these amazing emerging talents? 

Molly  39:38  

Yes, I feel like very excited about that Leia. And that’s a great point is I will and I’ve made that point to some of our writers. I think I know we’ll be hearing more from you. I mean, by all means just keep going. Because they’re skilled and you can tell they love it, even though everyone that writes knows it’s painful and doesn’t come easily. But it is exciting. I think you know, what will it be like two or five or 10 years down the line? Maybe some of these names will pop up? And which would be wonderful. It’d be an honor to be the one of the first publications to publish their work. Certainly. 

Leia  40:12  

Absolutely. And I know, I’m interested in you guys, you know, knowing what it’s like to be a young writer myself. But I suppose, I don’t know, most adults, I feel that they tend to gravitate towards older writers, or writers that have been experienced, or writers that have collections out or multiple pieces out and might have been in the submitting process and writing process for quite a long time. So how do you know how would you encourage older writers to give younger writers you know, the time of day? 

Molly  40:43  

Well, I think that’s a valid point. And that’s something that I try to push. I know when I’ve sold copies to adults, or had adults read some of our issues. They are, are blown away. And I it’s interesting to me that as someone that’s written for a long time that people are surprised, though I think the reaction I get most often is, wow, you know, this person’s in high school or they’re in college. This is incredible. And I maybe because I’ve been doing it for a while that I’m, it doesn’t surprise me because I know, I know the talent that’s coming up. But I would that’s part of what I would say is some of our evangelization is get our issues and our journal in front of adult eyes as well and see that there’s some wonderful work here. 

Leia  41:33  

Absolutely. 

Molly  41:34  

That’s one of our goals. 

Leia  41:36  

Definitely. I’m hoping that you know, anyone listen to this podcast, definitely go over and check you out. Because young writers are important. I mean, they’re the future, right? 

Molly  41:44  

Mm hmm. 100% Yes. 

Leia  41:46  

So of course, blue marble review is centered around young writers. But when you set this magazine up, you could have gone for any target, you could have included all ages. So why specifically Molly were you interested in making this available for 13-22.

Molly  42:03  

One of the things I enjoy writing myself is YA writing? So I think that’s probably part of it. But also, I think it’s because I, through the years that I’ve written, I remember well, what it’s like being a young writer. And I think that I thought, initially, starting writing that, well, as soon as the inspiration hits, I’m going to do something really good. Or as soon as the rest of my life gets sorted, or I don’t have this or that, then the writing will really come. And I think anyone that’s written for any length of time knows that the writing goes along with your life, not instead of or you know, when you have time for, and I think probably what stays fresh, in my mind is, is being a young writer, and I don’t want people to give up, I want to encourage them, because I love writing so much. And I, I feel like I want to spread the word to keep going. So I don’t know, I thought that it didn’t occur to me to do a journal for all ages. But I just felt like this would really be the right niche to give writers a push. 

Leia  43:11  

I completely agree with you that and I think it’s fantastic for the young writers out there, that they know that they have this place that they can specifically submit to that, you know, they won’t be discriminated and they won’t be at a disadvantage, because they’re going up against people, that have been writing all their lives. I think that’s a really magical place to exist for them. 

Molly  43:27  

Exactly. And I feel like that’s true. And I think even if you talk to adult writers, they’re still submitting work. You know, I’m in a couple writers groups. And when people read their work aloud, I still hear like, well, this isn’t finished, or this is really rough for, you probably won’t like that. So those things that we think is young writers, and they’re hard to put away. So I’m thinking if we can stay encouraged and forward moving early, and just keep at it. It won’t get easier. I don’t know if we’ll get more confident. But I think writing and reading and being part of the literary world is so rich and rewarding, that I would love to be a part of why people stay with it. 

Leia  44:10  

Yeah, I mean, as you say, young people’s work can be mind blowing. And if you skip over their work, I think you skip you miss a trick, because everyone experiences different things at different points in life, and they feel things differently. But yeah, as we say, it doesn’t mean that young people’s writing is any less valid in that way.

Molly  44:29  

I completely agree. And yeah, sometimes I’ll hear that, you know, I’ll say I’m encouraging young writers and people think oh, good for you. Like it’s I just feel like as you say, it’s a trite cliche to say, you know, young writers are our future but I just believe it’s true. And I feel very inspired and and confident when I read this work about these are these are future teachers, these are leaders and being able to write is a skill that you’ll, whether it’s just an email or even a text, it just will enhance your life. I really believe that.

Leia  45:10  

 Certainly. And so what does the future of blue marble review look like, you know, a year from now? Or even, you know, five years down the line? 

Molly  45:18  

Well, oh, gosh, we would like to just keep growing. I would like to expand our masthead a bit. We have a good number of editors. But we have so much to read. And I along with that, I would like to get better at delegating responsibility, because there’s a lot to do. The anthology is doing well, so far. I would love to include, if I, when we do our second one, I will include more writers. I don’t know if you found this true Leia. But when you do the first book, you learn what you will then change for the second book. 

Leia  45:49  

Definitely the learning curve, for sure. 

Molly  45:52  

Yes. So that was a great process. But I guess in the future, I’d love to do another anthology, we have a particular interest of mine. And we featured a lot of writing of students that are have had some of the immigrant experience. And I would love to enhance that and showcase that in a more focused way. I’m not sure how that will be. As I said, we’re we already include a lot of that writing in our issues. But that’s something that I’d like to continue to focus attention on. Because I think that’s important. 

Leia  46:25  

Yeah, I mean, I think, you are definitely a such important part of the community. And there’s a lot that the rest of community can learn from you and your writers. And speaking of such, what has the reaction been like from you know community on Twitter or your local communities?

Molly  46:41  

It’s been very positive. I think that there is as I’m getting to know more lit mags. There are other youth lit mags, but maybe not a lot. And so I think people are, are really finding it’s, it’s a great way to to read young voices. We’ve had a really positive experience, just with both our online work and our in the anthology. 

Leia  47:04  

Well, I cannot wait to see what you guys do. And in the meantime, I will be going back through all of the issues. I mean, as I say, that’s one of the things that’s so good about you is that you have all like I was so blown away when I saw it. I was like, wow, they have so much here for me to look through. And it’s incredible. 

Molly  47:21  

We do. Yeah, thank you. And that’s speaking of future goals, how to organize our archives. We’ve got to figure that out. I love keeping that writing up there. But yeah, we need to take another look at that as well. 

Leia  47:35  

That sounds fantastic. And thank you so much Molly for talking to us and chatting a bit about blue marble review. 

Molly  47:42  

Leia thank you and Jack for your time, and you should be proud of Full House.

Leia  47:47  

Thank you, Molly, it was lovely to have you on. And now we’re gonna move on to our tweet of the week which Jack is going to so kindly read out for us.

Jack  47:56  

So this tweet is from Stuart McPherson. And it goes, at what point does a poem become too experimental? Are there rules? As in if it’s just too hard to read, etc? Should there be rules? 

Leia  48:07  

Yeah, we loved this tweet. We retweeted it. And we said there is no such thing as too experimental. Well, I think it is quite a good point. Sometimes experimental can, you know, draw the line between successful and unsuccessful in that it’s trying too hard to be experimental too, I suppose. 

Jack  48:27  

Um, yeah. Because I feel like, depending on if something is experimental for the sake of being experimental. That’s like, that’s interesting in itself as a concept. I feel like, I feel like that’s something being explicitly experimental is still a valid concept, you know? 

Leia  48:51  

Yeah. But I think when it’s really when an experimental piece is really successful, it’s not trying massively too hard to be extra experimental. It’s just, it just is it just exists experimentally. And there in that case, I don’t think you can be too experimental because it is not necessarily intentional. And of course, you know, if you do do it intentionally  that can still be successful. I just think you need to maybe really evaluate the intentions behind your piece and evaluate how far experimentally it does need to go.

Jack  49:24  

Yeah, because I think you mentioned it, a piece of work being successful or not. And that’s like, whilst it I guess that that’s obviously very subjective. Like whilst I can say, a poem by someone is, it was it’s unsuccessful as an experimental poem. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s unsuccessful as a poem and even and regardless of what I think that it doesn’t mean either of those things really. 

Leia  49:55  

I think you’re absolutely right, to be honest. I think what Stuart says in important and when he says, are there rules and then in brackets, he says, personally I will, he says, should there be rules? And then he says in brackets? Personally, I don’t think so. And I think the key to a good experimental piece is definitely not to be constrained by rules. I think if you put yourself in the mindset, where you are like, right, this piece has to follow this line structure, this piece has to be in this form. Or even if you constrict yourself too much to thinking experimental writing has rules, then it’s not going to work as well, as if you were completely free. I think the key is not to worry. I think the best experimental writing comes when it is really free. Of course, you can, you know, go back in and like, edit the details and make it into you know, the piece you want it to be. But I think in terms of the writing, I don’t think, I think obviously, the more risk you take, I think the better the piece is going to be. But I think it shouldn’t be a calculated risk. I think it should just, you know, you dive in, you see what happens. And then afterwards, you can evaluate if it works, or it doesn’t, but I don’t think it’s something that you should think about too much when you write it, at least that’s, that’s for me anyway. And that’s the way I write experimentally. I think if we’re talking, you know, success, as you say, Jack, yeah, there’s different levels of success. And if, for example, Stuart is talking about finding success with publishing, and getting someone to publish a piece, I think it’s just as you say, Jack its subjective, right? What one person considers experimental, the next person might say, oh, it’s not enough, the next person might say, it’s too much. So it’s about finding the balance. And I definitely believe truly, that there is a piece out there, there’s a home out of every piece experimental or not. And it’s just about finding the right person, one person will pick up the piece and say it’s gorgeous, take it further even, or someone will say no, it’s not enough. Or someone will say you need to refine it. But it’s just about finding the person that will say yes, this is perfect. I accept this. I love it. I want it. But yeah, I think generally when too is used like that, it often implies, like excess and something negative. I don’t think it can be negative in the sense of experimental poetry, Too experimental probably still isn’t experimental enough for some people. So yeah, but experimental writing I think should be freeing. So I completely agree with what Stuart says when he doesn’t really think that rules should come into play too much. 

Jack  52:30  

Yeah, so we’ve reached the end of this part of the podcast, but you can head over to part B where we will be talking to Richard and Chloe, 

Leia  52:38  

Thank you for listening to part A and we’ll see you over there.