Although most of you know me as an editor at Stoneboat, I think of my editorial work as secondary to my creative work. Editing the journal is something I fell into by accident—and while I love it, it’s not my first love. If I was forced to choose between being an editor and being a writer, I’d choose writing without any hesitation.
Like many of the writers we publish in Stoneboat, I’m still at the beginning of my career. My work has appeared in a handful of literary journals, but that’s it. I’d like to publish a collection some day, write a book…but that’s all down the road. The first step is to get my work out there.
It’s a step that isn’t possible without all the little journals that are willing to take a chance on an unknown writer like me: Oyez Review, Steam Ticket, Fugue, Cadillac Cicatrix, Sonora Review, Dos Passos Review. Let me repeat that. Without literary journals, and all the editors that get paid exactly $0.00 to put them together, there would be no place for writers like me (and you) to begin a career.
Every once in a while writers skip this step and go straight to the big leagues, but for most of us, it isn't like that. Most of us have to work our way up – and that’s why, as a writer, I feel like it’s my responsibility to support literary journals by subscribing, by purchasing a couple of issues when I’m at a festival or conference, by encouraging my friends to do the same.
It’s amazing to me how many writers don’t realize that the journals are necessary to our success -- and even how many writers do know but still don’t subscribe. We expect the journals to support and nurture us, but many of us don’t return the favor by supporting and nurturing them.
That’s just not right. If you aren't doing your part, stop for a minute and think about why that is. If you really can’t afford it, then fine. If you're struggling to pay the rent and buy the groceries, you’re excused. (Although there are non-monetary ways to show your support, too; for example, you could like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and tell all your rich friends to buy a copy.) However, if you had Starbucks today or bought the book that’s on your nightstand rather than checking it out from the library, then you can afford to support a literary journal.
A subscription to Stoneboat is only $20/year – but if that’s too steep, you can click the “donate” button in the right sidebar of this blog and contribute as little as $1. Or you could go to our website and spend $12 on a T-shirt. There are options.
If you have ever been published in a literary journal or ever hope to to be, do your part. Keep us around so that we can get your work into readers’ hands. Sad but true fact: literary journals go under all the time. Another sad but true fact: Stoneboat's bank account will be hovering uncomfortably close to the $0 mark after we print the fall issue. So far, we've always been able to scrape enough cash together to keep our boat afloat, but it's becoming increasingly difficult.
If you appreciate what we do, show the love, in whatever form you're able. We promise to reciprocate by producing the best damn journal we can.