I’ve recently discovered The Review Review, which, well, reviews the latest issues of literary journals and interviews their editors. It’s such a perfect idea I wonder why nobody thought of starting a publication like this before. It fills a need that intermittent journal readers like me didn’t realize we had.
Founding editor Becky Tuch explains that her idea for the magazine came when she realised that after years of submitting short stories to literary journals, neither she or her writer friends subscribed to them or knew much about who published what, or who edited which magazine. On the About page she writes:
At first, this discovery was comforting. I’m not alone, I thought. No one reads these things! But the more I considered the situation, the worse I began to feel. How could we expect lit mags to care about our work, when we didn’t care about theirs? Why would anyone make time or pay money for our stories if we were unwilling to take a lit mag on our morning commute or shell out the twenty bucks a year for a subscription?
So The Review Review was born. Already I’ve found useful pieces such as James Scott’s personal story about fiction editors (in the practical Publishing Tips section), a piece on what editors want*, and in the illuminating Interviews section, discussions with the editors of publications as diverse as Timothy McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and The Bellevue Review. (I’ve been considering submitting to one and have already been rejected from the other, which makes it helpful at either end of the submission spectrum.)
*Oddly enough, it turns out that an editor wants you to read her magazine before you submit to it. Which makes the case for the existence of The Review Review stronger than ever.