Revolution John publishes fiction/nonfiction/creative nonfiction between 1000 and 5000 words, flash fiction to 1000 words, poetry of any length, and photography/artwork. Read the complete guidelines here.
SQF: Why did you start this magazine?
Sheldon Lee Compton: I started it because I enjoy publishing and sharing work I'm excited about. There's no reason not to do it, especially with an online journal. There's no cost (until the domain is bought anyways, which I've yet to get enough money to do) and honestly, reading submissions isn't that time consuming if you just stay on top of them. I started it because it's fun and easy. That simple.
SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?
SLC: I look for a strong voice first of all. Then, I skim through and check for any beginner mistakes that are quickly obvious. Once I've done that, I read through and ask myself if the story had that ring to it for me. I can't explain what that ring is, I just know it after I've finished reading a piece. My aesthetic isn't much more complicated than that. I do pay close attention to Appalachian and southern literature that comes my way, but that's because that's what I write and that's what I prefer most to read.
SQF: What most often turns you off to a submission?
SLC: Bad poetry will get my rejection brain working the fastest. But I'm also not a fan of stories that sort of have this preamble beginning that take up the first three paragraphs where some character's not doing anything other than pondering life's big questions. That's just poor storytelling, and if there's no story I don't care if it's the most beautiful writing I've ever read, it's out.
SQF: Your site also contains book reviews. How are the books selected?
SLC: I wish I could say there was a set selection process, but that's not the case. Most often I schedule a review if a writer gets in touch with me about their book. But if there's a book out that I'm really into I'll write a review of that one to show support and jazz up interest for the writer. I guess there's the built in admission that I don't really review books in the normal fashion, which is why you'll see mostly positive reviews at RJ. I'm reviewing books I'm into, not just titles that are coming out from houses at random. It's an act of appreciation more than a showcase for critique.
SQF: If Revolution John had a theme song, what would it be and why?
SLC: John Cougar Mellencamp's "Jack and Diane," because I'm all about the memory of a thing.
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?
SLC: I'd like to have been asked about the stellar group of contributing writers who have come on board at RJ since last year. Stacia Fleegal, Gabino Iglesias, Barry Graham, Ryan W. Bradley, Steph Post, and Barrett Warner. You guys rock it like Chuck Norris on a tilt-a-whirl.
Thank you so much for asking these questions, Jim. I greatly appreciate it!
Thank you, Sheldon. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.
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