Editors notoriously don’t get paid much (if at all) and tend to take a lot of flack. So, why do it? Is there a moment you can remember in your time with your magazine where you thought: ‘this, this is why I do it’?
Not to be earnest, but we're honestly just three bitches that love writing, so whenever we read something that excites us, and we get to publish it so other people can also read it, it makes it worth it to us.
Who are four or five writers you see as typifying the kind of work you look for at your magazine?
We recently got to publish Meg McCarville, which was exciting. Her stuff is definitely an example of all our values: truthful, disturbing, funny, and thoughtful. Possibly less disturbing but just as fun is Bethany Browning; we've put out a couple of her pieces as well. In terms of writers we haven't published, I would say, of course, transgressive Jesus himself Dennis Cooper, and queen of literary misery Lindsay Lerman.
The lit mag scene is massive. What did you want to bring to the community with your magazines that is different from what others are offering?
We started the magazine as a place to let marginalized voices be messy. We're not here for the magazines that morally police queer or POC writers. We want to hear the truth, even if it's nasty or sad or pointless or unrelatable.
What is your ideal cover letter to see for a submission? Simple and sweet? Professional? A few kind words peppered in?
I'll go ahead and say you can drop the "I like this magazine," "I like the vibe of your magazine," "I've been following this magazine" stuff. Whether that's true or not, show us your love by submitting your best work <3.
Is there a specific kind of project you haven’t seen in your current submissions that you’d love to see come in?
We're open to any and every artform in terms of what we're willing to look at and publish. I would personally like to see more visual poetry in our inbox!
Are there magazines you see as literary siblings, mentors, aspirations, besties, etc.?
We've admired 3:AM for a while.
What do you see as a deal-breaker in a submission, regardless of the quality of the writing? (For example, poor formatting, vulgarity, etc.)
I've forgiven a lot in favor of good writing, and this may seem incredibly petty, but I will not stand for a reference to Alice in Wonderland of any kind. The horse could not be more dead or more beaten.
Is there a part of the submissions process that writers tend to fret over that isn't all that important?
Pretty much of all it! Keep everything short and simple and let the writing speak for itself.
Many writers struggle to decide what to say about themselves in a bio. What is an example, either made up or from a writer you've published, of the ideal literary bio?
From Issue #3 of Angel Rust: Kyle Hemmings has been published in Sonic Boom, Right Hand Pointing, Unbroken Journal, and elsewhere. He loves street photography and ’60s garage bands. A taste of publications, 1 or 2 interests, that's all you need.
There are the well-worn (for good reason) pieces of advice like "read submissions guidelines" and "read the journal you're submitting to," but do you have any other advice for prospective writers looking to get their work published?
And yet, those two pieces haven't quite seemed to penetrate the collective writer brain...but I'll add this: Never write something for a magazine. What I mean is, don't think of where you're going to submit something to while you're writing it; the piece needs organicity more than palatability. The right home is out there.