Have you ever wondered who publishes literary magazines and how they do it? I assumed it must require well paid professionals, necessitate a big bank account and be labor intensive.
One day last year, Mary-Lane Kamberg, a leader of our Kansas City Writers Group and president of the board of directors of Whispering Prairie Press asked if anyone would like to volunteer to help publish Kansas City Voices Magazine. (So much for well paid.) I hesitantly raised my hand, thinking I would just take some small job and learn how it was done. Next thing I knew, I was the new ‘on line’ prose and poetry submissions editor.
Next, Mary-Lane asked if anyone knew how to write grants. (No big bank account, I guessed.)
One of our board members put a small advertisement in a writer’s magazine and soon we began to receive prose, poetry and art submissions. Because we got many of the them by snail mail my first year, I had time to look over everything before passing it along to our expert editors who would do the actual choosing for our magazine. I loved my job.
Then came year two. We decided to go high tech and accept only online submissions. Unfortunately, the process required two parts; more, it seemed, than many of our less than internet savvy authors could master. Entries arrived at the rate of five to ten a day so the newly elected president, Theresa Hupp and I decided to help our friends with detailed email instructions.
But then . . . as the deadline drew near . . . submissions began to pour in from all over the world and almost everyone needed assistance. The only fair thing to do was help them all. Emails flew back and forth until the authors were able to achieve success. (Labor intensive for sure.) I found myself forming a sort of bond with our submitters. I ‘got friended’ on Facebook from people in places like Iran, India and Russia. I found myself staying up late to read their submissions. The final few days I could barely keep up. But it was fun, and with the help of understanding editors and my workaholic president, we got the job done.
Now I get to sit back and reap the rewards. I’ve learned some of what it takes to publish a literary magazine. Kansas City Voices 9th Volume is beginning to take shape and will come out in the fall of 2011.
Thanks to all our email submitters and the new Whispering Prairie Press web site, we’re becoming a worldwide presence.
Beth L. Barnett: Submissions Editor, Whispering Prairie Press