• West Cork Literary Festival 8-15 July 2022

How to Start a Literary Magazine

Writing.ie | Magazine | The Big Idea

By Gráinne O'Brien and Alex Dunne

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Gráinne O’Brien and Alex Dunne had a vision to create a magazine that would show off new and emerging talent alongside established artists. Teaming with Una Hussey that vision became Silver Apples Magazine. Initially intended to be a magazine that published just literature, they soon became consumed with the idea of creating something that published all forms of artistic talent. They say, “We are the magazine you can pick up and read on the bus, the one that makes you laugh out loud and turns you into the crazy person no one wants to sit next to. The magazine that you can recommend to a friend and bond over, perhaps even creating a little fan club where you meet once a month to discuss how amazing it is… We all have dreams guys.”

If you are thinking of launching your own arts magazine, they have composed this handy list for you of things they learned during Issue One…

  1. Submissions Guidelines are more often than not viewed as ‘casual suggestions that you should not in any way feel inclined towards following’ by your submitters.
  2. Themes are often viewed with the same attitude.
  3. You will read a LOT of sex scenes, many of which are in some way, shape, or form illegal-in-most-countries.
  4. Just because Gmail lets you create lots of colourful tags for different categories and subcategories doesn’t mean you should.
  5. Being witty over Twitter is exhausting.
  6. Being witty over Facebook is exhausting.
  7. Some people REALLY hate Oxford commas. And will email you to tell you such.
  8. You will be pleasantly shocked at the level of talent that exists out there, especially in the young ones.
  9. You will be only slightly jealous of their talent and youth.
  10. Pushing send on the acceptance emails is the best feeling ever!
  11. Sending out non-acceptance emails is the worst feeling ever (we don’t like the term ‘rejection’ around these parts).
  12. Typesetting is the devil, created by him to make your life a nightmare.
  13. You will typeset the whole magazine in one epic, caffeine-fueled haze before realising that the leading on one story is completely different to every other damn submission. Then you will weep.
  14. You will briefly consider leaving it that way and hope no one will notice.
  15. You will eventually cave and fix the whole bloody thing because knowing that the error exists is driving you nuts and it would haunt you forever.
  16. You will collapse into bed at ungodly hours a LOT. And you will dream of submissions.
  17. You will have five or six ‘final’ drafts, because inevitably you will notice yet another typo that managed to sneak by. These typos will be discovered just as you hit ‘Save as PDF.’
  18. You become overly attached to the final product, clutching it to your chest Gollum-like, and rocking back and forth in the corner.
  19. You will thank the Old Gods and the New that the technology exists that allows you to bring together diverse talents from around the world and mush them together into one epic e-zine.
  20. You will be very glad that you are finally finding some use for your English degree.
  21. You will congratulate yourself for exactly one day before asking, ‘How could this have been better?’
  22. You will do it all over again.

(c) Gráinne O’Brien and Alex Dunne

For submission guidelines and more info on the fabulous Silver Apples Magazine, check out our article here Silver Apples Seeking Submissions.

Gráinne O’Brien 140x210Gráinne O’Brien is known for her love of many things, but mostly academics and Harry Potter. Graduated from University of Limerick with a BA in English and History, and an MA in Gender Culture and Society, she has spent the last six years bouncing between conference organising, office managing, fiction writing, academic writing, and blogging. She has been published academically several times. Her latest accomplishment is the soon to be published Good Madness: A Collection of Essays on the writer Neil Gaiman, which she co-edited with Alex.

alex_dunne140x210Alex Dunne is many things – Irish ex-pat, prolific tea drinker and errant writer of SF & Fantasy. She graduated from the University of Limerick with a BA in English and History (where she met Gráinne and bonded over crosswords and shared nerdiness) and went on to obtain an MA in Literature and Publishing from NUI Galway. Alex has previously been on the publishing team of ROPES 2010 (the annual literary magazine of NUI Galway) and some of her writing has been featured in What We Didn’t Know Existed (the anthology of the Toronto Street Writers) and Congruent Spaces.

una_hussey140x210Una Hussey has a degree in Fashion Design and a Masters in Fashion and the Environment from one of those fancy London colleges. She loves but is not limited to fashion in her desire to make the world a more beautiful (and sustainable) place. She currently writes a fashion blog and takes photos of beautiful things in her spare time. She has been known to do some volunteering with young people, as well as styling fashion shoots and making clothes into the small hours of the morning for London Fashion week. She is big into art and technology fusion and has collaborated on projects with other artists in order to bring that to the world. She loves illustration, and her own work is usually old fashioned pen on paper.

  • www.designforwriters.com
  • allianceindependentauthors.org

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