Friday, May 5, 2017

Six Questions for Dr Ho Cheung LEE, Founder/Editor-in-Chief, BALLOONS Lit. Journal (BLJ)

BALLOONS Lit. Journal (BLJ) publishes poetry and fiction (to 2,000 words) appropriate for its audience. "We are primarily looking for quality materials for school-aged readers from around 12 years onwards. Having said that, we won't be too excited seeing conventional materials for children. Rather than writing anything specifically for BLJ's readers, you should consider if we could find in your submission, however complex and philosophical, the elements that could enlighten and amaze the young minds." Read the complete guidelines here.


SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Ho Cheung LEE: First, I love writing, and I have been submitting my literary works to different journals, and I think it's an exciting thing to do. So, when I had accumulated some experience in publishing my work, I wanted to contribute to the literary world from a higher perspective - as an editor/publisher. Second, I have had a lot of joy managing websites and editing magazines for my school; I thought it would be a great idea that I do these things for my own independent project as well! Third, as a language educator, promoting reading among the young is one of my key missions.


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

HCL:

  1. Whether or not the submission shows that the sender has read BLJ with interest. Why? It's because if they don't care about BLJ, why should I care about their work?
  2. Whether or not the piece(s) of work is/are accessible. Why? It's because BLJ aims at a younger audience.
  3. Their bio note. Why? It's simply because a person's background may have an impact on how readers read his/her work.

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

HCL:  This is easy - many submissions are rejected and deleted without a word from me because they ignore the submission instructions. If they don't even read BLJ's website, I don't think I should spend time considering their work. (I hope I don't sound too harsh here, but I think it's just common sense.)


SQF: Are there any subjects/topics you’d like to receive more of in your submissions?

HCL: As BLJ is a youngster-oriented magazine, we do prefer topics that are of interest to the young. Having said that, we have accepted and published a lot of beautiful pieces which touch the heart of adults as well.


SQF: Based on your experience as an editor, what have you learned about writing?

HCL: How you present and/or package your writing to a publisher is as important as the writing quality of the entry itself. Also, read as much as you can in order to produce something good.


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

HCL: I always ask this question to myself - What do I want BLJ to grow into? Well, actually there can be endless possibilities but one of my visions is that BLJ can be a widely used material in language classrooms, where teachers and students can enjoy the fun and depth of the art and literature offered by BLJ.

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

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