SQF: Why did you start this magazine?
Lisa Beth Fulgham: I started this magazine because I was on the staff for my university's journal, The Jabberwock Review. I ended up as the Associate Editor before I finished my MA. I didn't want to end my journey in the publishing side of the literary world just because I was graduating. Short of moving to New York and rolling the dice, this seemed like the best option. Plus, I love the concept of having a completely blind journal. I enjoy seeing how our issue and our submitters' bios turn out at the end.
SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?
LBF: In poetry, we look for strong, surprising imagery and sound quality. In prose, we look for stories that have such wonderful conflict that we can't stop reading them.
SQF: What most often turns you off to a submission?
LBF: I would have to go with bad grammar and punctuation as the first thing that we notice. Everyone on our staff has studied English, and most of us have taught it. Cliché comes in as a close second, though.
SQF: Do you provide comments when you reject a submission?
LBF: We haven't yet. Truthfully, this is something I wouldn't mind doing because we obviously always have some reason for rejecting a piece, and I always find that constructive criticism helps me with my own work. However, I don't think that a lot of poets and writers are seeking constructive criticism by the time they get ready to send out to journals. I guess it's something I'd feel most comfortable doing by request.
SQF: Blinders Literary Journal is preparing to publish its third issue. What has surprised you so far about editing and publishing an online journal?
LBF: The largest surprise for me has been how supportive the creative writing community has been in promoting our journal. For instance, Allison Joseph does such a great service to the community both on the publishing and submitting side by keeping up her Creative Writing Opportunities list-serve.
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?
LBF: "What do you want for the future of your journal?"
We're a pretty new publication, and we want to continue to grow. One day, we'd love to be a member of CLMP and have a table at AWP where we could hand you a physical copy of our journal.
However, being an online journal does have its advantages. I'd also love to push the envelope a bit more in terms of how some work is displayed or how readers interact with the work. If you're reading this as a submitter and you feel like you have some pretty crazy ideas that other journals can't facilitate (e.g. you have a choose-your-own-adventure story that you want to work seamlessly, you want readers to be able to replace certain words in your poem, you want to include video, or you want certain paragraphs of your prose to explode after a certain time), let us know when you send in your submission, and we'll take that into consideration.
Thank you, Lisa. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.
NEXT POST: 3/24—Six Questions for Katherine Mayfield, Editor, The Maine Review