1. How could you do this to us?
Awwww. I’m the last person who ever wants to break anything, and I certainly can’t make anything as elaborate as Chill Subs. I’m lucky to be able to manage my writer website and journal Pink Plastic House a tiny journal, with my baby tech skills. I completely admire what y’all are doing. Chill Subs is so pretty and utilitarian and free to boot. I guess I just got excited and wanted to track all my publications with your site.
I was using another site that is not just for submissions but writing in general. It’s where I started posting writing before I attempted publishing, but since the publishing took off, I no longer wanted to pay the increasing fees to use that site when in fact, all I used was their cool publication tracker. So I’d been looking for some other interface to use and saw that you had a publication listing system and got to work breaking things I guess, though I apologize sincerely.
2. How many publications have you seen your work in?
I am 13 publications away from 1,000 right now, and I’m very proud of that accomplishment. The biggest reason that I’m proud is that I spent a lot of my life lollygagging on the publication front. At the age of 40, I only had one publication to my name — and it was actually under a pen name (Scarlet} because it was a provocative poem about sexual submission, and I was still living in an abusive Puritanical home where it was unsafe to write and publish such things.
It took me decades to feel safe to publish and to nourish that drive to write regularly, too. That was always the person I longed to be, and I got there, if a little late, and I take every opportunity I can to create. To answer your first question, which I had to do some serious math to come up with this answer, but these close to thousand publications are spread around 213 magazines and presses that publish creative writing — journals like Glass, Yes Poetry, Ghost City Review, Trampset, SWWIM, Digging Through The Fat, isacoustic, Five: 2 : One and Taco Bell Quarterly (where my sonnet Addiction was nominated and became a Best Of The Net finalist.
I have a large book-length collection of sonnets coming out in October full of hundreds of sonnets. It’s called Lollygagger, which is a tribute, I guess, to coming late to the party but arriving ready to be good.
3. What is your secret (or several) to having submitted--and been published in--so many places?
I write every day, and I submit all my work eventually — once I feel happy with it. I’ve been doing this now since 2017, and it keeps me disciplined with the process and also helps me as a writer to hone my craft. I’ve been lucky in later years to get solicited by some amazing venues. A lot of the places I submit to though I just happened upon by reading the work there or noticing a writer I like in a cool space and going for it. Also, I’m lucky to have some spaces that let me submit regularly and make me feel special, like Chantarelle’s Notebook, Horror Sleaze Trash, and Punk Noir.
4. How do you keep track of all of your submissions?
In Apple notes. I just jot down the piece, who I’ve sent it to, and if it gets picked up, I’ll be noting it with you guys as a publication.
5. Could you walk us through your process? Sit down, open your laptop, and...
I always have coffee. I love to work at coffee shops a lot if I have my earphones in because I really need quiet but like to be around people. If I’m writing a poem, I can listen to music without lyrics. I’ve found writing prose lyrics don’t bother me — but with poetry, I can’t have anyone else’s words in my head.
6. I’d imagine you’ve also faced many rejections with so much submitting. How do you handle rejection?
Oh yes, I’ve had rejection — all kinds of them. The good news about being rejected is that the more you do it, like anything else, the better you get at it. I can truly say that it is rare when a rejection really hurts me these days, and they used to KILL. For me, though, the power of having a lot of published work is that it gives you this shield — at least it has to me where I’m like, “This venue is not for me,” and I move on because I know the problem isn’t me. I’m busy, and people like what I do. This venue just isn’t going to be for me, and that is okay.
7. Do you have any advice for new writers?
Write as much as you can to perfect your work and your style. Speak in an authentic voice and get your writing into the world. Take all the opportunities you are given and make the most of them. Treat editors with respect and also understand they should treat you with respect. If something feels sketchy in the writing world, ask around. There are lots of us here who have survived some unethical practices in this community and don’t want newbies to suffer how we have. My DM’s are open to anyone who feels unsure of a publishing situation. I’ve been there and had to figure this out on my own. It can suck.
8. What do you do when you’re not submitting (other than--I’d imagine--writing)?
Actually, I developed a soothing arty non-writing hobby this year that has really changed my life, and that is playing the piano. It relieves so much anxiety, which is something that I suffer from — and the writing world doesn’t always help. I also love swimming and walking in the woods, running. I try to be well-rounded as a person because writing is such s sedentary activity.
9. Got anything you’d like to promote because we’re actually super thrilled you broke our site by being such an active user (and--ahem--showing us how to prevent it from happening again)?
Oh wow, thank you so much! That’s a relief you are because I was actually afraid when I messaged you guys that you might be like, why do you need so much room? Ha. But seriously, I just love your site, and I’m excited to fill it up with my pubs without breaking it.
I have a few things coming up soon — The Lollygagger book of sonnets I mentioned earlier. It will come out with my press Pink Plastic Press. I also have an erotic novel coming out called The Meadow, which will be announced soon by a publisher. Also, next year I have a book of short stories coming out called Spiderling. You can check out everything at kristingarth.com