Friday, January 19, 2024

Six Questions for Veronica Kirin, Cofounder, Anodyne Magazine

Anodyne Magazine publishes poetry, flash fiction to 1,000 words, long-form fiction, and nonfiction to 5,000 words, artwork, photography, video, and music/audio. “We are a magazine focused on personal health experiences, including (but not limited to) physical health, doctor visits, mental health, chronic illness, and more.” Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Veronica Kirin: Katarina [Yepez] and I both struggle with medical conditions that are not well-recognized or well-supported by the medical establishment. We both have experience with two health systems — the American and the German system. While general access is improved in the German system, we both found that the same gaps in treatment applied. Frustrated, but also wanting to use our situation to the benefit of others, we decided to create Anodyne Magazine. We know FLINTA* (female, lesbian, intersex, nonbinary, trans, agender) people all over the world face similar problems, and we believe the community will find relief in seeing their concerns, discoveries, and wins published in a compassionate periodical. We are delighted to find the community supportive and hungering for this kind of discourse!

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

VK: First, we look for a fit with our theme. We exclusively publish work by those identifying as FLINTA* and addressing the topic of our health in some way. Then, we consider quality. At Anodyne, we believe everyone deserves support, and work with some contributors on fine-tuning their pieces within reason; still, there is only so much guidance we can offer when processing 100+ submissions each round. We ensure all selected works adhere to our guidelines and meet our quality standards. Finally, we consider the content. Does the piece have depth? How does it make us feel? Does it linger on the inside of our skulls and compel us to tell all our friends about it?

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

VK: It drives me nuts when people don’t look to submission guidelines. We try really hard to be supportive and provide information if a new submitter needs it. But we also worked to make the basics clear so busy creatives can submit quickly. For example, a recent submission was 1,500 words longer than our guidelines allow. I didn’t even read it (Katarina believes I’m a bit of a stickler that way). I’ve been on both sides of the process and know sometimes mistakes are made, but I view disregard for guidelines as disregard for the effort we’re making to publish and promote your work.

SQF: What do you look for in the opening paragraph(s)/stanza(s) of a submission?

VK: Are we hooked? Is the basic thesis clear early in the piece? I don’t need to know everything that’s going to happen, but a well-thought-out piece will seed their idea very early, and then build it throughout the piece. I love that!

SQF: Many editors list erotica, or sex for sex sake, as hard sells. What are hard sells for your publication?

VK: Of course, if it’s not on the theme of FLINTA* health, it doesn’t fly. If the work is extremely explicit, we may be weary of publishing the piece. Otherwise, we’re pretty open to whatever we’re sent. We understand that it can be difficult to encapsulate the emotions of health conditions and related experiences, and we’re a diverse community. Put together, we get some pretty creative stuff and love it.

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

Why do you pay in dividends?

VK: First of all, Anodyne Magazine represents an underserved community, not just in healthcare, but in all walks of life. We firmly believe that creative endeavors ought to be paid, and paid well, and perhaps we can play a role in changing the way money flows in the literary world. We pay in dividends so we are able to pay even our first contributors and guest editor. But it also means that we can continue to pay them, even years into the future. As long as the issue they worked on sells, they will receive payment for it. If we the founders of Anodyne do our jobs well, everyone will benefit. Here’s to hoping!

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

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