Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Six Questions for Max Halper and Jordan DeBor, Founders, Noncanon Press

Noncanon Press is an independent online quarterly publication designed with the intention to provoke, pursue, and accommodate compelling and trenchant literature. Learn more here..

SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?

Jordan: Honesty, innovation, and a sense of the unreality and surrealism of existence. Why? Because writing without those elements doesn’t reflect the way I see the world.  

Max: The number one thing is text, language, some kind of grammatic method. That type of thing should definitely be there. B) Poioumenonic circumstances: The only thing worth writing about is writers writing about writing writers. 3) Humor - because you shouldn’t take life too seriously. That’s no way to hurdle inconsolably toward death.

SQF: What most often turns you off to a submission?

Jordan: Imitation, usually. Unless it’s done well, stylistic reproductions falter. The anxiety of influence is a hard demon to vanquish. 

Max: Neediness, desperation. Stories about mazes, the forest, agony. Poetry about things and feelings.

SQF: Will you publish a submission an author posted on a personal blog? 

Jordan: We have done it before, but as a rule we like original content. For example, alongside the release of our second volume we published Theo Thimo’s ebook SFLISTW7.dat, which he had posted on the internet before but had since taken down. But we liked it so much we wanted it to have a permanent home, so he revised it for us and now it lives in our library. 

Max: We would never risk the copyright infringement violation redundancy issues. That’s why there’s no Penguin Books anymore.. 

SQF: What do you want authors to know about the submissions you reject and how authors should respond? Along this same idea, do you mind if authors reply with polite questions about the comments they receive?

Jordan: We do not send rejection letters. However we like to make it clear that just because a submission didn’t make it into a volume does not mean it is no longer under consideration. We recently launched the Noncanon Munition, a place we try to update weekly with new work. It is a way to publish the work we still liked that didn’t make it into a volume. We urge authors to keep us updated as to the status of their submissions, so that if it has been accepted by another publication we can take it off the table. Otherwise it may well find a place in Noncanon. Furthermore, if an author requests feedback we will try to give it to them. 

Max: NCP’s acceptance process is governed by an algorithm built to simulate spontaneous selection; every eleventh submission is accepted. All others are rejected outright. It’s the only way.

SQF: What magazines do you read most often?

Jordan: I recently read the latest issue of Voiceworks, an Australian quarterly that had some exciting work by young authors. Otherwise I am a regular reader of Rhizome, N+1, ClusterMag, and Shabby Doll House

Max: My shrink usually has some New Yorkers and Rolling Stones in his waiting room. Ever since David Foster Wallace killed himself, neither magazine is worth reading. 

SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?

Jordan: When it comes to small press’ and magazines, money is always in the back of one’s mind. So if you had asked how Noncanon is run financially, I would answer that Max and I fund the publication entirely out of our own pockets. We hope to move into areas that would eventually gain revenue to keep the production running for as long as possible, but that may be a ways off. 

Max: I can’t think of a single question you didn’t ask. But if it existed I would probably answer it with another question. . .

Thank you, Jordan and Max. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.

NEXT POST: 4/4--Six Questions for Al Kaspar, Editor-in-Chief, Uncharted Frontier EZine

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