On Cover Letters & Bios

Hello! As you know, antilang. is now open for submissions for issue 2. And, if you’ve clicked our submittable button, you’ll see that there’s a section for leaving a cover letter. But what does a cover letter for a literary magazine entail? If you’re just starting to send out your work, the cover letter and bio can be the worst part of submitting. Thoughts of “but I’m not that interesting,” “now they’ll know I’m an amateur,” and “I just like writing” leap into your mind, and leave you staring at a blank screen until you panic and abandon the whole endeavour. Right?

But we want to see your work! So we’ve created a helpful guide to get you started on your cover letter and bio.

  1. Don’t stress over the cover letter! We care about your work first.
  2. Begin your cover letter like you would a paper letter: a block in the top left corner with your name and contact info (mailing address, email address), then date and address the letter (“To the Editors” works for a generic letter, but you can personalise it with “To Allie & Jordan”)
  3. Begin with “Please consider my [word/page-count] story, [“title”]” OR “Please consider my poems [“title”], [“title”], [“title”]” OR “Please consider my short work of mixed genre, [“title”]” (you get the point–be polite, and identify your work).
  4. Follow this up with a quick explanation (about one-sentence) of how your piece is a good fit for us (this is not mandatory, but we hear other publishers like this, and it’s good practice indicate how your work fits with what a magazine likes to publish–it demonstrates that you have read the magazine)
  5. Bio (belongs in a separate paragraph and should be fittingly concise (~30 words). Clearly label it as your bio by starting: “Bio: [your bio here]”. Most bios include: your name; what you’re studying (if still in school); if you have any previous publications, then list the magazine names; any completed degrees. As we encourage anyone who feels comfortable to disclose any intersectional/minority identities, then you can include this alongside your name. Your bio can also contain your preferred genre of writing. Alternatively, we love clever anti-bios (example: “Allie pretends to write poetry” OR “Jordan studies the intersection of the housing market and avocado imports”). Check out the end of antilang. no. 1 to see a range of bios!
  6. End with “Thank you for your consideration, [your name]”

Now that you know how to do a cover letter, you’ll send us your work, right?

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(Fun fact: this anti-bio appeared in a chapbook of collected poetry by the advanced poetry class at the UofC in 2015)

On Juvenilia: A Decade of Short Writing

OUAM cover
Sooo deep… and look at that font!

Clearly I had yet to become a fan of Tolkien, but what strikes me is that a decade prior to co-founding a magazine of literary brevity I had already rallied to concision.

Just over a decade ago, a creative, ambitious, and “super deep” adolescent named Jordan Bolay self-published a book of poetry titled Once Upon a Mind. It’s about as abstract, angsty, and melodramatically poetic as the title suggests (complete with randomly capitalized nouns onto which I was trying to impose deeper meaning, a rejection of sensible punctuation, and a proto-hipster refusal to capitalize the pronoun “I”). I’d all but forgotten about the book until recently, when some friends busted out their copy at a house party, showed it to my partner, and had her read from it as they recorded a video, which they promptly sent to me so that I might experience the spectacle despite being in another province at the time.

A few weeks later I came across it again, this time in the archives of my hometown’s newspaper, which had written an article promoting the book’s launch (I won’t bore you with the odd chain of events and happenstance that lead to this rediscovery). It’s through this article that I realized I had just missed the publication’s 10th anniversary and that the date nearly coincided with antilang.’s inaugural issue launch. More to my delight, I read that when asked why I chose poetry as my medium, I had responded: “You write simply with a small amount of really powerful descriptive words. My favourite thing about poetry is you create a lot of imagery without writing 20 pages.”

Clearly I had yet to become a fan of Tolkien, but what strikes me is that a decade prior to co-founding a magazine of literary brevity I had already rallied to concision. Perhaps not to good writing, but to short writing. I was two-thirds of the way there, and while it took me a decade to find good short writing in others, I’m still not sure I’ve made it the last third of the way myself (I have, for instance, yet to publish another book, save in the role as co-editor of antilang.).

I leave you now, in an act of ultimate bravery (or perhaps just incurable folly), with a piece of juvenilia from Once Upon a Mind (I notice now that this short poem is very Kroetschian, another delightful surprise as Kroetsch is one of the subjects of my ongoing dissertation research):

As i wrote

As i wrote
more and more
i came to realize
two things
Firstly
that a lot of my poems
can hardly be
considered poetry
And secondly
that i like them
a lot better that way

You know you wanna click that button!

Do you love to click buttons? Of course you do, it’s half the reason any of us are on the internet! Well, we’ve got a fancy new button for you to click on our submission guidelines page, which will lead you to our Submittable page where you can click a plethora of new buttons.

And while you’re there, you might as well submit a piece of good short writing to be considered for issue no. 2. Oh yeah, did we forget to mention we’re now accepting general submissions for our next issue!? Click the links above or the button below, brush up on our guidelines (they’re newly revised) and send us your best in brevity.

We can’t wait to read your wonderful writing!

submit

Preview: Nicole Haldoupis’s “Somewhere Near Danforth”

Good morning! We hope your Sunday is full of brunch and good conversation, and what’s better as a conversation than something you read recently? Oh, but you haven’t had time to read? Don’t despair! Here’s a quick preview of Nicole’s flash fiction that you can read on your way to brunch and we’re sure will spark some great dialogue over whipped-cream laden waffles.

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Find the rest on page 94!

Preview: Jeanette Lynes “The South Saskatchewan”

Happy Monday! Here’s hoping your work day is just about to wind down and you’re heading home to curl up with a glass of wine (or maybe to sit outside on a patio with a cider). And if your work isn’t done, well, then we think you should still take a break and check out this poem. As it seems spring has officially come to Calgary and Saskatoon, we think this poem will remind you of the winter that will be back (but hopefully not until October).

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Find the rest of this poem on page 87 in issue 1! And while you’re there, feel free to keep reading 🙂