We’ve been quiet for a while, at least in terms of social networking and blogging. Behind the scenes, however, is (pun intended) another story. Our staff of 12 writers, 13 readers, 1 copy-editor, 3 artists and ME, combo editor/writer/layout lady have been extraordinarily busy. Over the last two months, we’ve been editing, arranging, and designing this first issue of Sucker.
As I write this, the items on our to-do list that have not been checked off are:
- 4 stories to copy-edit
- 9 stories to match with artwork
- a letter from the editor to compose
- a thank you page to create
As soon as the mag is released, I will be quiet no more. For now, I offer you some behind the scenes words from some of our contributors and staff about the process of working on Sucker:
My friend forwards an email about a new YA literary magazine:
“Maybe you’re interested?” she writes.
Interested? Of course I’m interested. I’m always interested in miniscule chances at achieving love and admiration. It’s what we writers thrive on.
And then something weird happens: I achieve…well…not LOVE, exactly, but modest admiration for something I’ve written! Me.
A nip and a tuck, and voilà! Published.
Okay. So the rewrites were a LITTLE more painful than a nip and a tuck, but when you’re heavily sedated and the doctor has you under the knife and says, “You SURE you don’t want me to remove this mole since I’ve already got you here?” you just do it.
Thanks Dr. Hannah, surgeon extraordinaire.
-Paul Heinz, Sucker Writer
I can’t remember how I first found out about Sucker Literary Magazine. Maybe someone shared the news on Facebook? Could’ve been Twitter. I know it was on the Internet somewhere. At any rate, it sounded like a fun ‘zine so I submitted something. I received an acceptance email 20 days later–lightning fast for any type of publishing response. A few brief emails followed over the next couple of months. Everything flowed so smoothly . . . until I got THAT email, the one requesting the author photo. No problem, I thought. Then I saw they wanted a lollipop in the picture. I was to be immortalized on the Internet for-ev-er with a lollipop shot? I think I was born without the “silly” gene so this news made my spine quiver. My husband and daughter said things like, “Aw, that’s cool. It’ll become, like, their signature thing.” I took a deep breath and said, “Yeah, I guess it’s cool.” I thought about how easy Hannah had been to work with and how enthusiastic she was about my story. So, I had my picture taken with a lollipop…Because I’m a sucker for a fellow hard-working writer with a dream.
Writing for Sucker was fabulous! The submission process was simple and clear-cut. I’ll admit, the (numerous) rewrites had me banging my head against the wall. Editor, Hannah Goodman encouraged me to delve deep into the quintessence of my characters / storyline. Why? That is my job as a writer. Was the Sucker staff supportive? Heck yeah! Will I do it again? You bet! Although timely, the ever-dreaded wait was grueling. When is it not? Hannah is a suckerlicious Editor, and her willingness to mentor her writers shows dedication to the craft and the magazine. *bows to Editor Goddess, Hannah*
I recall when Hannah first announced her idea for SUCKER on our YA group at She Writes. I knew immediately if she requested help, I’d be there. This was my first assignment as a reader and I will cherish my experiences. Helping other writers teaches us to develop our own writing skills. Simply priceless. Learning how to recognize an authentic YA voice was my invaluable gift this go around. Yes, yes, yes…I’d read (or anything else!) for SUCKER again. Working with SUCKER and Hannah confirm I’m on the right path. I’m grateful to Hannah for this tremendous opportunity!
-Candy Fite, Sucker Writer and Reader
I was thrilled when Hannah first requested a revise and resubmit on my story. But I won’t lie, there were some rough patches along the way. Hannah’s suggestions amounted to rewriting half the story, and after several weeks of work, I resubmitted it only to receive a second round of revisions that left my new and improved story covered in red. It was hard looking at everything Hanna had cut. But the truth is, all her changes were right on target, and by the time I was done, I had a story I could really be proud of. Thanks Hannah.
-Josh Prokopy, Sucker Writer
I am so very thrilled to be working on the debut issue of Sucker! When my friend passed along the link on Twitter, I knew it would be a fantastic endeavor to get involved with. The fact that Sucker Lit is so involved with the mentoring process is something I find truly inspiring. I’ve truly enjoyed working with aspiring writers, and discovering the gems that make me want to run out into the streets squealing with delight. I am so very grateful to be involved in this endeavor, and to be working with such wonderful people.
-Sarah Blair, Sucker Reader
“…September 19, 2008. How crazy to be afraid of my writing, like it will bite me.” These words are taken from my journal during the writing of my YA story “Waiting for Alice”, and describe the complete opposite of how it felt for me to submit the piece to Sucker Literary Magazine. Before submitting, I went on Sucker’s site, and Editor-in-Chief Hannah Goodman’s “Welcome” made me feel exactly that way—that my writing would be welcomed, and treated with care. I couldn’t have sent a story like my “…Alice” to any other kind of publication. Thanks for the welcome Sucker; thrilled to be part of your launch!
-Mima Tipper, Sucker Writer
“This is the first time being included in a magazine completely dedicated to YA, which seems pretty rare—at least, I haven’t come across many publications for that. I was super excited when I found out I would get to be part of it. Then came time to work with the editors—another first for me. My original submissions were both around draft #15. And yet: expand here, more emotion there, revise based on editorial critiques while still keeping the voice intact. Tedious? Necessary? Eyes glazing over? Yes, yes, yes. And I loved the end result!”
-Natalia Jaster, Sucker Writer
July 26, 2011
I’m packing up to exit my publishing job for the day. I pop open my personal e-mail one last time.
“WE HAVE ACCEPTED YOUR PIECE”—Sucker Literary Magazine.
Me: much jumping up and down.
My co-workers: heads craning around cubicle walls. “What’s up, Claudia?”
“My first story is going to be published!”
The interior dialogue starts: Was it really good enough? How much re-writing do they want? Was it too edgy? Not edgy enough? Will anyone else like it?
Hannah’s compliments and support have kept me going so far.
Next: publish it. Then…repeat?
– Claudia Classon, Sucker Writer
Working with Sucker was different and interesting. From my experiences of submitting material to other journals
it is very rare to have a staff member who is willing to read your work and respond with suggestions on how to improve
the piece. I also have the impression that Sucker’s vision is very clear and their approach to reaching the final product
is organized and systematic. Such is the case with some journals, but certainly not all. This was a great experience.
–Aida Zilelian, Sucker Writer
“What a great resource! A YA author friend led me to Sucker Literary after the release of my first YA book, Blackbird Flies. This is an awesome platform for young writers as well as authors who write for young people. I am so proud to be part of this amazing team.”
-Chynna Laird, Sucker Reader
I don’t read YA. That’s what I thought until I got involved with the Sucker project, first as a hopeful contributor and later as a reader. After learning about Sucker from the editor I remembered I had a story in the trunk that I thought could be simply dusted and polished. Getting, “I Can Jump”, into submission shape turned out to be work. Then I still had to pass two revisions. I learned much from that process/opportunity and more becoming a reader. Stories were amazing and stories were terrible, but even the terrible ones got feedback. The chance to revise is rare.
-R. F. Brown, Sucker Reader and Writer
It’s all thanks to the Internet. If Susan Dennard hadn’t linked to Sucker Lit Mag on her blog, I probably would never have found Sucker. As it is, I clicked through and found a venture worthy to be linked to a dozen times over. Becoming a staff reader was almost a no-brainer; not only would I be getting to read up-and-coming YA, I’d be supporting young adult lit online. As an MG and YA writer, having my feet in both the young adult and middle-grade online communities (I contribute to http://project-middle-grade-mayhem.blogspot.com) has been a tremendously edifying and enjoyable experience. Long live kidlit!
-Yahong Chi, Sucker Reader