Blue Marble Review is a quarterly online journal for young writers ages 13-20. The magazine publishes fiction and non-fiction to 2,500 words, poetry and art. Read the complete guidelines here.
SQF: Why did you start this magazine?
Molly Hill: I started Blue Marble Review with the belief that writing is for everyone and to encourage young writers both novice and experienced to submit good work. My intent for Blue Marble was to showcase the creative talent of these young artists and writers and to let them know that submissions are welcome even if they don’t have a long list of publication credits. We’re proudly small time and big hearted.
SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?
MH: There are a lot of factors that make for a quality submission but some that stand out are originality—a fresh take on a familiar topic, authentic voice, and what I’d call inventive use of language, or good sentence building. This sentence building encompasses things like word choice and clarity, but we’re also impressed by skillful story telling. We read a lot of submissions and writing that’s original, authentic and creatively constructed rises to the top of the pile.
SQF: What most often turns you off to a submission?
MH: Gratuitous violence that seems unnecessary to the story.
SQF: Do you provide comments when you reject a submission?
MH: Usually not, unless the writer asks us too. Sometimes if we really love the writing but it’s too long or maybe a bit confusing, we’ll let the author know how much we like it and invite them to take another look at revising the work. Other times we’ll mention what parts might have been highlights for us as readers. We don’t correct or critique unless specifically asked, and even then, our goal is to encourage future submissions.
SQF: You’ve published four issues to date. What has surprised/excited/elated you the most?
MH: We’ve been impressed by the quality work from our submitters, and elated about the reach of our online journal—we get submissions from all over the world. It’s an absolute highlight to read submissions and correspond with these young writers and artists via email. Another happy surprise is the support we’ve received via grants and gifts from generous donors that enables us to keep paying our contributors.
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?
MH: I wish you’d asked us about our plans for the year ahead:
We’re still exploring additional sources of funding but likely will increase payments to individual writers from $20 per published piece to $25 in 2017 if funding sources come through. We also hope to expand into the community both locally and beyond, ‘spotlighting’ groups of young writers from specific schools, clubs, community and arts organizations. We want to hear from a diverse group of contributors and continue encouraging and showcasing their creative work.
Thank you, Molly. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.