Agents and editors often read literary magazines looking for new writers. If you're not publishing your short stories, essays, and/or poems in literary magazines, you're making it harder for them to find you. One magazine that's getting a lot of attention is Slice, published by two editors, one at Grand Central Publishing, one at Penguin. Read this month's Q&A to learn more.
Helping Latino writers get published,
Celia Blue Johnson is a magazine publisher, a book editor, and a freelance writer. She grew up running around barefoot in Australia before moving to Texas and ultimately finding a home in Brooklyn.
Q: What inspired you to create a literary magazine?
A: Maria Gagliano and I were both working in editorial at a major publishing house and we were disappointed to see that a lot of promising writers weren't getting book deals based on the fact that
they didn't have a platform. So, we started Slice to provide emerging writers with a place where their voices can be heard.
Q: You're an editor at Grand Central Publishing, and Maria Gagliano, who co-founded Slice with you, is an editor at Penguin. How does your book publishing experience influence how you run the magazine?
A: Our book publishing experience lends itself wonderfully to our endeavor, because it provides us with insight about the industry as a whole. We are able to see firsthand what obstacles new writers have to overcome and we have used that information to shape our magazine. It also allows us to spread the word about Slice to our friends and colleagues within the industry. Several new writers have found agents based on being published in our magazine, which is very exciting.
Q: The diversity of writers featured, most notably Junot Diaz and Manuel Munoz, is impressive, and makes Slice stand out among literary magazines. Was diversity a conscious goal as you developed Slice? If yes, how did you achieve it?
A: Cultural diversity wasn't one of our specific goals, but literary diversity was. We wanted to include all sorts of writing, as long as it was accessible, unique, and engaging. So, I think it was inevitable that we would discover writers from a variety of backgrounds. Junot Diaz and Manuel Munoz are both incredible writers, so we were honored to have an opportunity to interview them for the magazine.
Q: When submitting their work to Slice for consideration, what one thing should writers do to catch your eye? What one thing do you consider a turn-off?
A: As I mentioned above, we're looking for writing that is accessible, unique, and engaging. We're not looking for genre or experimental fiction. Basically, we publish any story that we can't put down.
Q: Knowing what you know now, what advice would you offer to someone who is thinking of launching a literary magazine?
A: Talk to other magazine publishers. There are so many literary magazines out there and most publishers would be thrilled to share their wisdom with you. You'll learn what obstacles to expect before you encounter them, which is invaluable information.
Marcela Landres is the author of the e-book How Editors Think. She is an Editorial Consultant who specializes in helping Latinos get published and was formerly an editor at Simon & Schuster. Author's website Email the author