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Shannon gets into something way over her head. . . again

February 17, 2005 - 12:00am -- swingbug

So I've been exploring routes to get myself published and found that the venue that I really want doesn't exist. If you want to publish stuff for children, there are outlets for you. If you want to publish Tolkien-style fantasy, King-style horror, or LeGuin-style science fiction, there are outlets for you. If you write poetry or my particular brand of fantasy (no wizards in pointy hats), well. . . There are books you can get that list all the magazines you can send your stuff off to for publication - magazines I've never heard of and magazines you can't get at your local newsstand or library just to check them out and see if they're for you.

There is web-publishing of course, but that's a little frightening. A photographer can post a low resolution image online to show people what he's up to and yet protect his work from theft. What is the writer to do? Leave out every other word?

So what then?

What I really need, I said to my mother-in-law Alliee not long ago, is a local literary magazine. Something for writers in the Davis area. All genres. Poetry, prose, fiction, non-fiction, maybe a little art. Something that lets you get your stuff in print and out there for people to read without ripping off your copywrite and screwing you over in a market where writers are a dime a dozen and publishers are few and finicky. Something that would help build community. Surely, you would think, a town like Davis would have something like that. But no. Not for the average non-student Davisite or Woodlander. Alliee and I both contemplated. In a daydream, an editor-in-chief hat landed on my head. I swatted it away. One more project that's too big for me. Be gone! I looked over at Alliee and saw her swatting a Santa Cruz version of the same hat away.

Here's the thing: a month later I'm still daydreaming and the hat is still following me around making annoying little buzzing sounds in my ears.

So I'm thinking I going to do it. I'm going to start by invading some local poetry readings, talk to the folks that do the yearly literary magazine for undergrads on campus, talk to some print shops, talk to some bookstores and coffee shops. I'm going to see if I can't get this thing to work.

I'm thinking a quarterly chapbook-style publication. 8.5" x 5.5" black and white, with a cardstock cover. An editing team of 5 or 6. This part I've done before. Each piece gets tagged with a number instead of a name and read by 3 people to get a score. How many books could I print? How many pages? How inexpensive could I make them? I suppose eventually I'd have to talk to a lawyer and an accountant.

Am I insane? Could I just once pick a project that is sized to fit me and not bite off way more than I can chew? Is that maybe how you grow? By buying a big pair of shoes and then seeing if you can fill them?

Yes, no, and maybe. Hopefully in that order.

Here goes nothing...

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