Friday, August 25, 2017

Six Questions for Austin Shay, Editor-in-Chief/Founder, The Paragon Journal

The Paragon Journal publishes poetry, fiction, nonfiction, plays, and other (reviews, songs, etc.) Read the complete guidelines here.


SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Austin Shay: While I was in college, I wanted to start a career in publishing. I thought that I would give it a shot by myself. Therefore, my friends and I started The Paragon Journal to take the first steps into publishing. And since we are all writers ourselves we understand the troubles that go into becoming published, so we wanted to help other new writers get their first publication under their belt.


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

AS: First: I look for a wow factor. If your first paragraph does not impress me, I probably won’t want to continue reading. I have read a lot of literature during my college career, and the thing I dreaded the most is a novel that doesn’t interest me in the beginning.

Second: I always thought that I would be some big shot author with a few hundred publications under my belt. And that meant that I would read a hundred different authors to figure out what worked and what didn’t. When I review a submission, I usually compare it to other works that cover similar topics. This allows me to figure out if it is original or if it is just loosely following another piece.

Third: I think that the work should be unique. I have heard a thousand stories about a tree, but if you can make me interested in the tree, then you have made it. I think each piece of work should embody the author and not just tell a story. I don’t really care about a dog and a tree, but if you tell me a story about the time you were seven and your dog ran into a tree then we are talking.

So I guess my point is that I am really just looking for originality in your piece.


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

AS: I hate submissions with typos in them. The internet is a wonderful place, and quite frankly it offers free editing software. Grammarly.com will look through your pieces and put out spelling and grammatical errors, and hell Microsoft Word will do the same thing.


SQF: Do you provide comments when you reject a submission?

AS: I absolutely hate rejecting submissions. I really only offer comments if I truly believe that the piece can be saved.


SQF: If The Paragon Journal had a theme song, what would it be and why?

AS: If The Paragon Journal had a theme song, it would have to Superpowers (Acoustic Version) by SAARA. It might sound like a nice love song, but I think that it truly expresses the bond that my team has with the works that we read. But the chorus of the song repeats about doing something for the first time, and as I mentioned earlier we would love to read new and exciting stories.


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

AS: The question that I think that I wished would have been asked would be: What draws you to a submission? And my answer would be simple, the title. I love titles, and titles seem to be the hardest thing to come up with. I also think to myself and think about how the title would look compared to all of the other ones in the table of contents. Do I want my work to stand out? Would you rather read a poem called “The Girl on the Unicycle” or “Bathed Bombed Beauty Unicycling Boldly”?

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

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