On Why You Hear “Yes” Before You Hear “No”

We all know how lit mags work: you send something in, and the longer you go without hearing anything, the longer they are taking to decide if they want your work (so, if you hear “no” just before the issue comes out, well, then at least you can take comfort knowing that your piece made the editors’ long-list). On the flip side, if you get a “no” within a month of submitting, then you know they really didn’t like it. Either way, with a “no” it’s rare to receive any type of feedback (so if you do get an encouraging note about your work, celebrate!)

By contrast, when we read submissions to The ALP, we categorise each piece and then go through work we’ve flagged for our issues (antilang. and soundbite). We do the edits for these pieces (the ones we accept for publication) before we send out our rejections. We also adhere to a tight schedule—we give ourselves around a month to edit and send out our acceptances and to put together both publications.

Because of this quick turn-around, things can get a bit awkward—sometimes we’re still sending out rejections after the issue has launched online. However, we post on our social media accounts (@antilangmag) when we have completed all our acceptances. So, if you haven’t heard back from us by then, you’ll be receiving a “no” with feedback.

Do we edit or give feedback on every submission? No. We are a publisher that prioritises editing, but we are not a free editing service. When people send us work that is not even close to being polished (obvious first drafts, an abundance of clichés or abstractions, etc.), then we send a generic “no thanks.”

For our “no with feedback” submissions, we put comments in the body of an email and typically address the strongest element of your work (the spark we see in it!) and any major issues. We do accept work that requires edits, but usually we don’t accept work that requires structural changes (i.e. switching the tense or perspective, rearranging scenes, or other edits that would take substantial time). So, our feedback will not be line edits, but rather comments and questions about the construction of the piece. These are pieces we feel are so close to being what we want, but need some sort of change that would take longer than our one-month deadline to incorporate (but that’s just us—a lot of these pieces do get scooped up by other lit mags that focus on elements outside of concision).

At The ALP, we do things differently. We know good work doesn’t emerge from a vacuum—while you sit down and physically write by yourself, the rewriting and editing are often done by sharing your work with trusted readers and editors. We want to highlight this communal element that is inherent to the writing process (and often overlooked).

 

Summer Va-cay! (sort of)

Hello!

Just a quick note to let you know that we will be a bit unreachable until August 22nd because…we’re going on a working holiday to Iceland! Technically, both of us are going to a conference (Exploring Canada: Exploits and Encounters hosted by the Nordic Association for Canadian Studies) then spending some time camping around the island. But when we aren’t doing that, we will be promoting antilang. abroad (hard-copies are packed and ready to be shared).

However, we have an announcement and an On Editing blog post scheduled to be released while we’re away, so it won’t be complete radio-silence on our end (Our Patrons on Patreon will have immediate access to these posts–another reason to consider donating). We won’t be responding to emails, but we will be documenting sightings of antilang. on our Instagram page (@antilangmag), so be sure to check it out!

For those of you interested in what we do when we aren’t vetting submissions or writing blog posts, here are brief descriptions of our conference papers:

Allie’s presentation is cryptically titled “North” and is an excerpt from her creative manuscript Best Before with a critical introduction informed by spatial theory. As expected, one character goes North. The others do not.

Jordan, on the other hand, has a very detailed title: “Becoming Lost: Exploring Absence Through the Guy Vanderhaeghe Fonds.” This paper explores archival absence through a Derridian lens, using a failed genetic criticism of Vanderhaeghe’s Ed stories (“Man Descending,” “Sam, Soren, and Ed,” and My Present Age) as a case study.