Ever since I finished up as Managing Editor for The Pinch Journal in January 2012, I’ve wanted to start my own journal. With other former Pinch editors, I’ve bandied around the idea multiple times, even going so far as to quit serving as Reader and Social Media Editor for Fjords Review in late 2012 with the real intention of starting one very very soon, but, you know, life and stuff, and I wanted a partner and a good partner is hard to find.
Fast forward to April 2016. I was talking to my good friend Ruth Baumann, another former Pinchie, and bemoaning that it had been four years–four whole years!–since I’d last made a go of starting a journal, and then this brave little thought occurred to me, “what about asking HER?” So I asked her AND SHE WAS DOWN.
Starting a literary journal is no easy matter. There are literally thousands of journals all beating the same well-beaten path, so how were we going to carve out something special?
But before we even worried about that, we had to handle the business side:
- picking a name for the journal
- deciding on what genres we wanted to publish
- deciding on how many issues we would put out per year and how many poems we would put out per issue
- deciding on when our reading periods would be
- starting a website (freebie version)
- setting up a listing with Duotrope
- setting up a Facebook and Twitter page
- putting out feelers for helpers and enthusiasts on our personal social media pages/sites
What we found out quickly is that we are friends with a lot of people who are passionate about literary journals. We were blown away by how many people offered to read or solicit authors for us and even offered to be editors of other genres if we added in other genres later. We felt more secure that maybe our project was viable. Maybe it was even a good idea.
After those major confidence boosters, we purchased a domain name and moved our site to a host, so we could have more control over the layout and making it look more professional and consistent. We started throwing ourselves into soliciting well-known and emerging poets whose work we loved. We conceived another aspect of our journal that will be revealed at a later time and started the necessary footwork for that.
We also did our homework, like listening to a recording of the AWP Panel: “So You Think You Want to Start a Lit Mag: Straight Talk from Editors About Launching Mags and Keeping Them Afloat” found here. We nailed down aesthetic and discussed our future: kickstarter? contests? new genres?
There’s still much that can and will be shaped as we find our own way, but I’m excited. Here’s to new endeavors, po-friends. Here’s to our new little space. Meet and love Nightjar Review.