Welcome to the ARDOR Blog! My goal for this space is to discuss our editorial process, write detailed responses to your questions, share news about our publication and to announce contest winners. Additionally, I’ll occasionally review and bring attention to writing and books that I’ve recently enjoyed or comment on interesting articles. Today, in ARDOR’s inaugural blog post, I’d like to share why I launched ARDOR Literary Magazine and afterward, I have exciting news to share with those writers who have submitted their work (and those still polishing their manuscripts to send in the days ahead).
I've read and admired a number of great literary journals and magazines. I’m consistently impressed with publications like Ploughshares, The Paris Review, The Missouri Review, Zoetrope All-Story, Prairie Schooner, Narrative Magazine, Glimmer Train and too many others to mention. With so many editors finding and publishing great work – the question I asked myself when I considered launching ARDOR Literary Magazine was: Why bother? What can I offer readers, writers and this community that isn’t already available? My response to this question stemmed primarily from my relationship with literary publications as a writer and it has informed the mission and priorities of ARDOR.
I decided right away that two central tenets of ARDOR would be quick, consistent response times and payment for accepted work. These defining characteristics are important to me for several reasons. First – they tell writers: We respect your art and take what you do seriously. I understand how hard writers work to prepare their stories, essays and poems for submission and I know that it’s frustrating to send your work out into the world only to receive a form rejection six months later. Writers deserve to have their submission read in its entirety and they deserve for this to happen as quickly as possible. I’m proud that a month and a half in, I’ve personally read every submission at least twice and sent out every reply within two weeks of the date we received it. I'm pleased with the submissions we've received so far – plenty of variety, high quality across the board, and submitted at a manageable pace which allows for our (relatively) quick turnaround.
As a writer, I understand the elation a short acceptance note provides, and with ARDOR I want to extend that feeling of acceptance – of being heard and valued – and reward the writers whose work we accept with a physical check, sent by mail. This tells writers that ARDOR Literary Magazine feels their work is or could be more than a hobby. It says: What you have done has value. We see it, appreciate the effort, and we want you to keep going. While we certainly don’t pay much now, I’m optimistic that the sentiment behind payment will resonate and that once our first issue is published in January we’ll see an increase in donations and submissions which will allow us to increase payment for the writers that we accept. But even if that doesn’t happen and even if we continue to pay at these rates – I think buoying the spirit of the best writers we come across is a worthwhile task.
With this attitude and mission in mind, I’m pleased to share the news that we’ll have a special featured prose and featured poetry section in each new issue of ARDOR, beginning with Issue One in January.
I realize that most readers don’t read literary publications (or collections of short stories and books of poetry) cover to cover in their printed order. I don't. If I’m pressed for time I’ll skip ahead to the shortest piece in the book. If I'm having a bad day I'll look for something humorous and experimental rather than reading a heavy, heartrending tale of loss. Some lit journal readers aren’t interested in reading prose so they’ll skip it and just read the poems. I hope that by featuring and highlighting work by a writer in each genre (and by placing those pieces in the center of the publication) I will invite readers to break up their normal reading rhythm. Folks interested in poetry might take time to enjoy the featured short story that we felt was too good to miss and prose readers will be sure to read the poem or group of poems by our featured poet. I hope that inviting readers to interrupt their usual approach will also draw attention to the work which surrounds each featured piece – that, by inviting readers to step forward and into the publication in this way, the magic of the work that moved me as editor will be read, re-read and shared with others. I feel that this is the greatest thing I can do for the writers whose work I accept and publish: find it readers, make sure that their valuable art is noticed and read.
After submissions close for Issue One on November 30th I’ll reach out to the two writers I’ve selected to feature in Issue One and ask them to participate in a short, written interview in which they have the opportunity to discuss their story, essay or poems – its inspiration and origins. I plan to include these insights into their writing process within the publication to increase their presence in the magazine and to deepen their relationship with and connection to readers. Writing (and reading) is an individual undertaking, but I feel that strengthening the relationship between writer and reader in this way is valuable.
I hope that this inaugural ARDOR Blog post has given you some added insight into my goals and intentions with the publication and that news of our featured writers section whets your appetite for Issue One – that it demonstrates the care and attention with which I'm assembling it for you. I’m grateful for your help to continue spreading the word about ARDOR Literary Magazine and for your continued support by submitting to the magazine and through your generous donations.
Until next time!
– Joe Hessert, Editor