Facebook Cut-and-Pastes

by Barbara Westwood Diehl

--because there are a few BR FB posts that may be worth sharing with non-FB people. And, well, I want to.

May 31:

Our Submittable door has closed now for our current reading period and will open again on August 1. Much work ahead for the BR editors. A record-breaking day today: 76 submissions on May 31. 7,878 since August 2011. 2,083 in our current reading period (February 1 – May 31).

Thanks to all writers who submitted to our “Threes” theme contest. I look forward to enjoying your inventiveness, your ingenuity, your innovativeness—in all three categories of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. You always amaze us.

(Lots of incredible work in the regular categories, too.)

I’m especially happy to see comments in the cover letters like, “I had a lot of fun working with this theme!” and “Fascinating theme!” Writing should be a pleasure for both writer and reader. Sometimes work, but let’s love what we do. We can love work, yes?


Enjoyed Moira Egan's reading at Minas tonight. Passager Books just published her book, Hot Flash Sonnets. You don't have to be a woman of a certain age to enjoy. Preview here in the Summer 2012 issue of the BR: 


On Browsing the NewPages Big List of Literary Magazines:

Wondering where to send that story you just revised again, your latest batch of poems, your powerful creative nonfiction piece? Yes, you could sit there at your desk, slogging your way through the alphabet, and click twenty or thirty Submit buttons in Submittable and other online systems. Then you could type all of those into whatever tracking table you use, sit back, and wait for the responses to hit your email inbox.

Common results: a number of rejections, occasional acceptances by journals you have mixed feelings about, and, OK, sometimes you get lucky. As for the editors, they end up with a lot of work that’s not right for the journal, a bunch of daily “withdrawn” emails, and (grr) work they love but can’t publish because the writer forgot to inform them that it was accepted or—worse—published elsewhere. And, yes, sometimes editors get lucky too.

Or you could take a more considered approach. Take a little time, on some regular basis, to work your way through a large list of journals like the NewPages Big List. Yes, you can slog your way through the alphabet—*not* submitting, but taking notes. General impression—overall look and feel of that journal’s website. Nightmare? Easy to navigate? Front page showing a two-year-old deadline? Do you get a headache looking at the front page? Does it instill confidence? What’s your gut reaction?

Take a look at the general “About” and “Editors” information. Does the site have that information? Me—I like knowing who’s reading my work; I’m wary of journals with invisible editors. Read the submission guidelines. Hopefully, they’re there, and they’re clear. Take them seriously.

Read the poems, stories, etc., on the site. Would you like to see your work published alongside them? Many print-only journals do publish sample work on their sites. Read a lot of journals anyway, not just for research purposes. To learn, to become a better writer, to become a better reader, to have a better understanding of the world. Read for pleasure. Mostly, read for pleasure. Find journals that you can rely on to give you pleasure, issue after issue.


May 30:

For those of you who like statistics, there may be a few eye-opening numbers here.

For our current reading period to date, which started Feb. 1 and ends at midnight tomorrow (and we usually get a last-minute flurry of submissions), we have received 1,843 submissions. Fiction is our largest category, followed by poetry, then creative nonfiction, then contest submissions. Average of 16.34 submissions per day.

Let's see. Divide that by the number of BR editors and, crud, I think we're in trouble.

Google Analytics: During this same time period, Feb. 1 - today, 11,804 people have visited the site; there have been 17,072 visits and 53,013 page views. 90.41% of the visits have been from the U.S., followed by the U.K., Canada, "not set" (whatever that means, hovering in space? on the water?), India, Germany, Australia, France, Ireland, and the Philippines.

Pages per visit average is 3.11 minutes; avg visit duration is 2:35 (read and run, eh?). Longest avg time on the site - visitors from India; shortest avg time on the site - visitors from the Philippines.

Highest number of U.S. visitors - Maryland (no surprise there), followed by New York, then California, then Massachusetts, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Florida, Virginia, Ohio, and Texas.

Not surprisingly, the Submit page gets the most hits. The winter 2013 page is still pretty darned popular. Staff page, too. Then the spring 2013 pages. But hey, remember that all our online issues are archived for your viewing pleasure.

Top four browsers used are, in order, Safari, Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. I think we look pretty good on most browsers. Easy enough to read on an iPad. Phones, not so much. Me, I'm fine with the lunchtime reads on my computer. For paper-lovers, we'll be putting Baltimore Review 2013 together in the summer. BR, online and on the shelf.

May 21:

We just added a poem to our spring issue, "When They Go," by Elizabeth Spires. Hope you enjoy. Recently, Elizabeth Spires sat down for a filmed interview with BR poetry editor Michael Salcman. Very soon, we hope, we will be able to include that interview in a new "Interviews" section on our website. I'm pretty darned excited about that. I'll let you know when it's live.  baltimorereview.org/index.php/spring_2013/contributor/elizabeth-spires

BR editor Seth Sawyers was given a scholarship to attend the Sewanee Writers' Conference this summer. He will be one of the Tennessee Williams Scholars in fiction. Congratulations, Seth! Well deserved!









May 16:

Reading non-theme, regular submissions as well as “Threes” theme submissions through May 31. *So* much you can do with “Threes.” Content. Form. Familiar and innovative uses of the “Threes” theme. Think about it. Will post some ideas now and then until the deadline. For poets: Consider the tercet, terzanelle, terza rima, Irish triad, French triolet, triplet, or the triversen stanza. (Yes, I’m referring to Turco’s “The Book of Forms.”) Not familiar with the triversen? Read this:



May 15:

Congratulations to Wendy Oleson, whose story "Man Skate" was in our winter 2012 issue. Wendy's story "Bodies of Water" was selected by Karen Russell for the 2013 Washington Square Review fiction award. Congratulations, Wendy! Can't wait to read this one.


May 14:

About 9% of submissions to the Baltimore Review are withdrawn by the writer, for a number of reasons. Usually, because the work has been accepted elsewhere (sometimes a disappointment but, hey, congratulations!)--and we're very grateful when writers withdraw their work promptly. Saves editors a lot of time and energy. Bad form to leave your work in Submittable queues when it's been accepted elsewhere or, worse, been published elsewhere. Not that work languishes in our system too long; we're sticking with our stated response time.

Sometimes work is withdrawn within a few days of submitting; I know that's the nature of the game, part of accepting simultaneous submissions. Again, not a problem. We simply click and archive.

Sometimes a group of poems is withdrawn because one poem in the group was accepted elsewhere. Note: Poets don't need to withdraw the submission unless they really want to. They only need to put a note in Submittable about withdrawing that one poem.

Lately, I've noticed that work is being withdrawn because the writer states that the work is in need of editing. I just want to say that this is absolutely no bother at all. This is a actually a good thing. Let me be more emphatic. An excellent thing. Yes, it would be better if writers revised the hell out of their work before sending it out into the world. But I'm glad to know that writers are taking second looks and thinking, "Yikes, I should have caught that." Or "I should have waited until I got some feedback from my trusted readers before I hit the Submit button." Always better to withdraw, revise, and re-submit than leave something in the system you know deep down needs spit and polish. One of the beauties of the whole online submission system.

But I did say that's it's better to revise and revise. And then revise again. Right?

Speaking for the BR only, of course.

April 18:

Facebook wants to know where Baltimore Review went to high school. I have these images in my head of the early print issues slouched against a brick wall and smoking Marlboros, face down on a cafeteria table for detention, stripping off a yellow gym suit in the locker room, French kissing in the lighting booth, cowering in front of the algebra II teacher, getting into a fight with the school newspaper on the parking lot, stuck on the uneven bars during Phys Ed, tearing off poetry pages for the cute guy to turn in for his English class . . . Thank goodness the BR never had to go to high school, eh?

(OK, this is no pearl of wisdom, but many FB friends found this amusing. Go figure.)

April 2:

Poetry Editor Michael Salcman recommends "How To Read A Poem and Fall In Love With Poetry" by Edward Hirsch, president of the Guggenheim Foundation and last year's guest at the CityLit Festival in Baltimore, as a great introduction to poetry for newcomers.

Did you know that the first chapter of this book is reprinted on the Poetry Foundation website?