Monday, May 21, 2012

Submission Bombers Seek New Target! Calling All Lit Mags & Editors!

UPDATE 6/22/12: I've added a page with more info on the Submission Bombers, how you can join as a writer, and how the group works in general. Check it out. 

A few weeks ago I started a little experiment on Facebook called Submission Bombers. The concept is simple: get a bunch of writers who all feel marginalized in some way and get them all to submit to the same market at once. Much like yarn bombing or seed bombing, the idea is to give editors what they claim to not get: submissions from us, the marginalized.

It took a few days to shape the specifics. Once I started inviting people to the private group, I told members to invite anyone that might be interested. I also made a public post about the group, telling people to comment if they wanted to participate. I didn't want to be the gatekeeper of who and who isn't marginalized.

Questions arose: Won't this just overwhelm the already thin-stretched staff of most publications? Will we piss of the editors? What does "marginalized" mean? Is this just a way to get revenge after a rejection? What publications will we bomb? All good questions, and I tried my best to answer them. I also developed a statement of purpose, parts of which are here:

What is the purpose of Submission Bombers?

To take positive action on a large scale.

LARGE SCALE = Big Facebook group of writers!

ACTION = writing awesome stuff! sending awesome stuff to editors hungry for your words!

Since other "bombings" like those above are centered around being stealthy, many people had concerns about stressing out editors. That shifted our definition of bombing to being about large scale action.

Based on those initial concerns, we decided to seek out an editor who was willing to collaborate on our first bombing, rather than stealth bombing an editor with tons of submissions. After two weeks of submission bombing our first target, I know at least four writers from the group got acceptances.

However acceptance isn't the goal of Submission Bombers. Submitting is the goal. Additional perks emerged including group discussions about marginalization, publication rates, frequency of resubmitting, and the airing of general frustrations or concerns about diversity in literary publishing.

But the most positive thing to come out of this group so far is something so obvious, I couldn't believe I didn't predict it. Motivation and accountability. So many members thanked me for giving them the boost they needed to submit their writing. Much like exercising with a buddy, we're all in this submission game together. It should become part of the routine. This normally solitary, hidden process of gathering together a manuscript to submit is now something we are doing together, as a community, for the sake of submitting and supporting one another as we each try to make our way as writers.

BTW: Writers, if you are interested in joining the Submission Bombers just request a FB friendship and message me for an invite.

Today marks the end of our first bombing. Our community is emboldened by the individual acceptances and overall participation rate. The group has almost 400 people and while a small fraction told the group about their submission, I'm sure a few others still did and kept it a secret. I imagine that with each bombing we'll have varying levels of participation, but I expect the next few to grow significantly.

Editors, this is where you come in.

We need a new target. We have work we want to submit. We are a diverse group and hopefully getting more so as we grow. We are the writers you might not hear from as often: women, writers of color, lgbtqia writers, writers of age, emerging writers, non-academics, varying socioeconomic backgrounds, writers with varying/different abilities, writers who want to be heard.

If you are an editor and you're interested in a participating in a Submission Bombing in the very near future, please leave me a comment below with your contact info and a link to your publications website. We're especially interested in publications that accept poetry and prose submissions and have some online content to help our writers become familiar with the work you publish.

SO, who wants to hear from us? Who wants some explosive writing? Who wants to read the freshest stories and cutting-edge poems? That's us. We have our words ready for you. We've got stamps. We're waiting to hit send.

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