Tag Archives: submitting

Brevity Magazine: Concise Literary Nonfiction

 

Brevity is another good venue for nonfiction writers.

Essays published on Brevity are 750 words or less. Flash nonfiction, a twist on flash fiction, which Wikipedia tells me has been popular for about twenty or more years, meaning it’s a form that’s really come into its own with the advent of the Web and (presumably) online journals. You won’t find too many journals devoted entirely to nonfiction, and fewer still are nonfiction journals that impose a word count on essays. I can think of only Brevity.

Brevity also has a blog, which is a good place to read about publishing opportunities for nonfiction writers, the latest nonfiction furor or book, and—best of all—brief blog posts from authors who appear in the latest issue of Brevity magazine. These author posts are my favorites, offering insight or commentary on some aspect of the published story—think of it as an author reading in print.

Dinty Moore (Between Panic and Desire and The Accidental Buddhist) is Brevity’s editor. Warm, generous, smart, Dinty has published some of my pieces, turned some other pieces down, and even helped me with my childhood memoir project, which I’m still hammering away on. He’s a great guy.

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Modern Love in the New York Times

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The New York Times’ Modern Love is one the best non-fiction venues available today. I call your attention to this week and last week’s columns, both of which are excellent.

When I started to submit my work, I was largely focused on literary magazines. I was not familiar with Modern Love, but fortunately for me someone in my writing group was. Some writers say you shouldn’t submit a story to a big name venue until you’ve amassed some publishing credits, but I think that’s crazy. What makes more sense to me is to look for where your work will best fit, regardless of the publication’s size or prestige.

My Modern Love story prominently features a Yankee’s cap, which (I’m sure) improved its chances for publication in the New York Times. The story explores the challenges an estranged father faces, building a relationship with his son. I submitted the story in January, which offered plenty of lead time for a Father’s Day publication, although I (oddly) hadn’t even considered this at the time.

Modern Love doesn’t appear in my Writer’s Market, which may explain why I was not familiar with it. Sometimes you learn the best place to publish your work by networking with other writers. The only submission guidelines I’ve found for Modern Love were from a Q&A, hosted by Dan Jones (Modern Love editor) on the New York Times blog site.

Here is Mr Jones on submitting:

Modern Love is open to anyone and we welcome unsolicited submissions. You can send submissions to modernlove@nytimes.com. They should be no more than 1800-2000 words in length (final run length is closer to 1700 words) and the essay should be both pasted into the email and attached as a word document.

UPDATE: The New York Times has publisehd an official submission page for Modern Love essays: How to Submit Modern Love Essays. Good luck!

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Inching Toward Publication

07-05-2005 (137)

Some small success to report on the publishing front.

One of my stories has been selected as a finalist for an anthology about fathers, My Dad is My Hero (Adams Press, Spring 2009). My story is one of 53 selected, but only 50 will be published. I’ll find out in July or August if I made the cut. Keep your fingers crossed, people.

The story I submitted is an excerpt from a current post on the blog (the contract I signed allows me to continue to publish it here, even if it’s selected). And that post is actually an excerpt from a longer chapter in my memoir. It’s ironic that the the anthology is about heroic fathers: the full chapter from the memoir offers a somewhat different sensibility about Dad, or at least it juxtaposes a heroic Dad against a more needy Dad. Despite this irony, Dad still makes out pretty good in my memory (as he does in my book).

If you’re wondering (especially you people at home), my childhood memoir isn’t meant as an attack on Dad or anyone else. The more I write, the more I learn about the story, but from what I can tell right now it’s learning to appreciate your own talents and sensibilities, instead of trying to be someone you’re not.

If you want a memoir that’s an attack on fatherhood, read Augusten Burroughs’s Wolf at the Table. I’m only 100 pages in, but Mr. Burroughs is so bitter with his father, it’s hard for me to read.

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