From Hannah, our editor and founder.
1. I’m serious about revising. Like to the point of pain. Like it’s my religion. No kidding. I come from the school of a piece isn’t finished unless you have revised it—minimal— five times. Once I signed with my agent, we revised my manuscript several times. This was in addition to the 5 times I had already revised on my own and with some beta readers. FYI: I also spent 2.5 years in an MFA program where I revised so much, I injured both elbows . . . permanently.
2. No, seriously, I’m serious about revising. If you can’t hang with a potentially intense revision experience, then you aren’t a candidate for Sucker Literary mentoring. Even though it may hurt (physically or emotionally) to revise for/with us, we do it because we believe in your piece. Also, revise with us and keep your own version. If anything, the process can be a learning stretch. Why not? Also, FYI, I may accept a piece immediately, but it doesn’t mean revisions won’t be part of the process. Conversely, I may revise with you 2-3 times but ultimately not accept it.
3. When making decisions about accepting or mentoring a piece, I ask for help. If I have read a piece too many times and can’t be objective any more, I call upon my Top Readers. This has happened a few times where I have gone for two or more rounds with a writer and still can’t say no but also can’t say yes. At that point I know I am not seeing something. I am unable to see things as they are because I have worked on it too much. Maybe it’s more ready to go then I think. So, this is when I reach out to my Top Team because they know my taste and understand my vision for Sucker yet have their own perspective and set of critical eyes; they can help me to see the piece clearly again.
4. I have rejected some of my favorite writer friends, staff members, and supporters. Even though it’s a more painful process to reject people I care about, I am able to separate the work from my emotions.
5. Sucker Literary is MY vision. As in, MY vision of YA short stories. While I do have a large staff of readers and some PR folks and our awesome Webmaster, the pieces that are chosen to be published are ones that I feel reflect what I want to read. I definitely tend to read more contemporary, realistic fiction but sci-fi is my secret obsession, specifically, gritty, character-driven sci-fi. Ender’s Game, Feed, The Giver, Fahrenheit 451, and Brave New World are some of my all time tops. However, genre does not dictate what I will accept, the quality of writing and the compellingness of the main character supersede all other elements.
6. I created Sucker Literary for HUGELY talented, emerging writers who believe in and are committed to their work and craft. Sucker writers know that what they have to say is important and are willing to work really hard to make their stories amazing.
7. I also created Sucker Literary for teens. I was a classroom teacher (middle and high school) and my day job now is a writing coach and tutor to elementary through college students. Majority of my high school students express HUGE dissatisfaction with the required reading lists and literary anthologies they are assigned to read. Most feel that contemporary short fiction is LACKING in the “cannon”. It’s not that students don’t like to read the classics, it’s that they also want to have the option to read more contemporary work, stories that they can directly connect with and talk about.
8. But I didn’t create Sucker Literary to be taught in high schools. Let’s be honest, some of our stories are too edgy to be used in the classroom. If schools are removing Perks of Being a Wallflower , Sucker Literary doesn’t have a chance. We are here for the teen readers who seek edgy, contemporary short fiction.
9. I like when you show me some love. When you submit, it doesn’t hurt (in fact, it helps) if you tell me what your FAVORITE Sucker Literary story is.