New Year, New Issue, New Goals

December 30, 2014

With 2015 just days away, now seems as appropriate a time as any to reflect on this past year and consider ways to make the following year even better.

Some things we are proud of:

*The 2014 issue was released one week ago, and is packed with amazing work. You can purchase a copy here.

*For the 2014 issue, 26 out of our 38 poets this year are female, as are 4 of our 6 fiction writers, and 4 of our 7 “aphorists.” We read submissions blind, and are proud of our ability to support all writers whose work is a good fit for Paper Nautilus, but are especially thrilled that we can support women, who are still often underrepresented in literary magazines.

*Our 2014 Vella Chapbook contest generated a record 150 entries, which will allow us to take on three titles for publication this year.

*Supporting emerging writers: in every issue, we still have at least one writer tell us this is their first publication. It is the best feeling ever.

Some things we could do better:

*Faster turnaround time for the chapbook contest. Results are coming, I promise! As mentioned in a previous post, the current timing of our reading periods for both contests and the annual issue are kind of at odds with my life beyond Paper Nautilus, which accounts for the lengthy delay. As a writer myself, I know exactly how frustrating it can be to wait around for the “verdict” on my work. It’s a huge act of trust for most of us, and I have deep gratitude for all 150 writers who have trusted me to read their manuscripts, which I am reading (and re-reading) every day.

*Even greater support to emerging writers. While it’s always exciting to have the one or two voices who have never been published before – and equally exciting to become a more competitive, established space as a literary venue – there is a part of me that’s sort of…almost disappointed that it’s becoming harder for new writers to find room in our pages. Yes, it’s true that sometimes people who aren’t getting published still have work to do on developing their craft, but quite often, a lot of worthy work is turned away simply because there’s not enough space. This is, I think, especially true for manuscript-based publication, like chapbooks.

Some New Year’s Resolutions we’re adopting to address these items:

*New publication time for the annual issue. As of today, Paper Nautilus has a publication of “Fall,” which has been loosely defined as any time between October and December. Even though I have a stellar staff who handles the general submissions for the magazine now, this is quite possibly the worst time of year to try to release an issue. Some staff are linked to an academic calendar the way I am, but even still, with all the holidays and colds going around, and 16 hours of darkness a day, it’s not exactly a highly productive, serene time of year. Publication of the annual issue will now be more of a “Summer” release date, falling more around July or August. (Because we accept submissions year-round, reading periods are not affected, just the timing of the issue’s release.)

*New reading periods for the Vella Chapbook Contest, which will run from February 15th – May 15th for 2015. This makes so much more sense, because all submissions will be received and ready for the long summer break. Without other work like classes and grading to distract me, I’ll be able to get through these manuscripts much more effectively.

*New Chapbook contest exclusively for emerging writers. During the same time as the 2015 Vella Chapbook Contest, we’ll also be holding our first Debut Series Chapbook Contest. This will be open only to writers who have not yet published a full-length or chapbook-length collection in any genre. More specific guidelines will be released shortly. Reduced entry fee of $5 – and if your economic situation is not conducive to that fee, talk to me and we will make it work. This new contest is designed with a greater degree of inclusiveness and accessibility in mind, because I think it’s important in general, but also a crucial part of our vision for Paper Nautilus.

As we prepare to enter a new year, we are so grateful for your support of Paper Nautilus, and are excited to continue publishing daring, meaningful work in 2015.

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