This week’s Greyrock session was open to the public to maintain our status as a club at Colorado State University. Although the only people at the meeting were Greyrock interns and our graduate adviser, it was a very interesting class period and I learned a lot about the submission process.
Our graduate adviser, Kristin, began our meeting today encouraging all of the interns to challenge ourselves to submit at least one piece of writing to a literary journal (outside of the Greyrock Review) this semester. She went over websites we could use to look for open and unsolicited places to submit work throughout the year, such as Entropy, PoetsAndWriters.org, and Writer’s Market, and tips for getting our submissions read. Kristin emphasized the importance of thoroughly reading through the submission guidelines, because if the word count is off, the formatting is wrong, or the cover letter is written incorrectly, a submission will most likely not even be read. She also encouraged us to do some sincere research on each literary magazine before submitting so that our cover letters would provide something we like that’s unique to a specific journal, which might make the editors more inclined to choose our work.
Kristin also suggested logging each submission that we make — including the date submitted, the date that submissions end, the contact information of the litmag, and the name of the piece we submitted. Logging submissions will save us the trouble of trying to keep track of many submissions over several months that we’ll most likely forget about, and keeping track of the dates will provide a time frame for following up with litmags on our submissions before they’re chosen (or not).
One of the most important topics Kristin covered in Greyrock today was the concept of rejection, which most people consider a painful and shameful thing. However, Kristin said, “I’m honestly hoping that all of your first submissions to literary journals will get rejection letters, because it’s something that every writer has to go through — it’s like a right of passage.” She told us that rejection is a perfectly normal part of the submission process and that it’s always important to keep a sense of humor when you’re trying to get published. She told us, “It’s never a good thing when authors take themselves too seriously.”
This week’s session affirmed my assumptions from last week that the student interns at the Greyrock Review consider this internship a valuable stepping stone on the path to a career in the publishing industry and want to make it unique enough to stand out from past years. As Kristin discussed submitting to literary journals, I observed that every intern around me was attentive, interested, and often nodding in affirmation of Kristin’s advice. Several of the more extroverted people asked useful questions in front of the group and nearly everyone, when prompted about whether they would be attempting to submit a piece of their writing this year (with the exception of one intern), said they would. It truly seems to me that this internship is made of a team of students who are passionate about learning about both the writing and publishing sides of this magazine and want to cultivate their skills behind the scenes as they learn how the other side of the submission process works for their future careers. Like me, it seems that these students want to build a professional portfolio (in both editing and writing roles) before they graduate and enter the “real world.”
As managing editor, my task this week is to edit and update the Greyrock Literary Club’s constitution as part of our application to be an official CSU club. I’m excited to take Kristin’s advice about submitting pieces of writing along with me as I represent the Greyrock Review in front of other student organizations at my club officer orientation this week, and I will make sure that my editing, rewording, and changing of our constitution will reflect well on our team, as well as my new and growing submission skills. I’m excited to submit my own work and start obtaining submissions from students for Greyrock, beginning October 3 (next Monday!), which will mark the true beginning of our work as editors.