I’ve been a subscriber to The Review Review’s newsletter for a while now, and have always enjoyed reading them. They’re written by Becky Tuch, who seems to have given herself the challenge of coming up with new, lit-related wordplay titles for each newsletter she sends out. Recent examples include ‘Auld Lang Litmags’, ‘Chestnuts Roasting on Open Litmags’, ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Litmags’…. No surprises for guessing the topic, here! Litmags are awesome. They’re horrendously underrated gems. If anyone enjoys reading for the sheer pleasure of it, think of them as regular anthologies set to random. Seldom directly themed, they carry the editors’ ideas of literary aesthetic, which makes for diverse reading. They can contain poems, interviews, stories… whatever those at the helm of the litmag in question think is great.
The Review Review (www.thereviewreview.net) is a place where litmag fans can go to keep abreast of the bazillions of worthy lit mags that are out there quietly working for the love of words.
I’ve had a few people tell me not to bother with litmags–they’re seldom paying markets, they’re often obscure, etc. Conversely, I’ve been told that they’re sometimes the resource that many editors and literary agents go to when scouting for fresh voices. Regardless, I have a lot of affection for them and, damn what they say, if I find one that I think fits with what I write, I’ll try to get a story in.
This is what happened with Structo magazine, a UK-based lit mag. They publish bi-annually and are running up to their eleventh issue now. The guys there do really beautiful work, and are very supportive of their writers, which is always a huge plus. My story ‘Sweet Old Men’ made it into Issue #10, and I was super proud to be a part of it. (For a great example of a quality litmag, check them out here: http://www.structomagazine.co.uk/)
And then… The Review Review did what the name says, and reviewed it! Becky Tuch herself (who I once sent a gushy email to, thanking her for her entertaining newsletters and the joy they give me–and which she actually replied to!) said lots of nice things about my story, which made me even happier, naturally! Check out the review here: http://www.thereviewreview.net/reviews/uk-lit-mag-offers-translations-absurdism-horror-and-
And while you’re at it, take a look around–and if you’re new to the idea, and you think litmags may be something you could get into, subscribe to the newsletter. Let Becky be your guide!