At some point before each issue, I open up contributions from
writers. Since I have been doing themed issues, I typically don't
take anything until I know what the next issue will be about. As of
8/1/07, issue #12 is closed for contributions, and I haven't started
#13 yet, so stay tuned.
What is Air in the Paragraph Line?
First, before submitting anything, you should know what the zine is
and what we're doing here.
- Each issue is a 200-page(ish) print-on-demand 6x9" book color
cover/perfect bound that is published/fulfilled by lulu.com. It has a cover price under $15.
It has a barcode or ISBN/ISSN, and distribution on major online
booksellers (Amazon, B&N, etc).
- I edit the book and have the byline and copyright. The ISBN
belongs to Paragraph Line Books. Any
royalties come back to me to cover expenses, but the price is kept low to
make it affordable, and I aim to break even (but still haven't.)
- There are about a dozen writing contributors per issue that will
chip in stories. The total wordcount is about 80,000. I sometimes let veterans publish two shorter bits, but
I really don't want like 48 people each writing like one livejournal
post or something, though.
- Someone else does the cover (or every artist falls through and I
end up doing the cover) I used to have little pieces of art above or
after each story, but it is impossible for me to wrangle art these
days. I don't include pictures in a story.
- Contributors agree to give me one-time rights to publish the
story and then it reverts back. Same for art, although I might need
to re-use art in later stuff like fliers, web pages, etc, so that will
have to be figured out. You don't need to sign a contract or find a
notary; we can agree by email.
- The PDF is available on the site, usually right before the next
issue comes out.
- Each author/artist has a bio, plus URLs, email, whatever.
No writer photos, because that's stupid.
What kind of stuff do I want?
My goal has always been to have something that was very readable. Not
overly high-brow, not all just crap skimmed from web pages and
photocopied, but something that people will get immersed with, and
which has a lot of variety.
A lot of this depends on my tastes, and there are things I really like
to read, and things that totally shut me down. Here's an attempt at a
list of those.
Rule Zero and you must obey this rule or your submissions will not
be taken: when I ask for stories that match a theme and are
between X and Y words long, please don't submit a story that doesn't fit the
theme and/or is too short or too long. Seriously, if you can't read
the instructions, I can't read your story.
I like (in no order):
- Good rants
- Long, immersive travel journals
- Modernist stuff that really talks about life
- Fiction about real life
- Interviews of interesting people who aren't just trying to sell junk
- Obscurely funny stuff
- Heavy, emotionally draining short stories
- Hard science fiction that's not corny
- Dream journals
- Stories like how your car broke down in Kansas and you met Iggy Pop at
a Denny's, or other weird but true or just bad-luck-many-times stories
- Good parody
- Outsider culture
- Anything that's so weird that I could not even think of it to put it
on this list
I don't like:
- Most political stuff, especially generic "fuck bush" stuff that's
going to be dated in a few years anyway.
- Really genre-specific stuff (detective, horror, fantasy).
- Record reviews, zine reviews, and the other generic crap that every
other zine has.
- Fan fiction.
- Anything obvious. ("I'm so depressed and nobody likes me",
"everyone's so stupid and I'm a genius", "Look I just got a
- Anything that is so grammatically incorrect that I can't read it
Note:, even though I put the "anything obvious" thing in the
list, at least 50% of the submissions I get are obvious. The simple
rule is this: if your submission looks like a blog entry, and says
more than it shows, it's probably obvious.
I'm the final word on what goes in each issue (i.e. this isn't some
kind of hippie commune where everyone votes and we end up with the
worst of everything because it's supportive of the environment or the
plight of the native americans or whatever.)
How to submit
Email submissions or questions to info [at] paragraphline [dot] com.
- Microsoft Word is great. I use both a PC and a Mac, so don't
worry about that.
- RTF, HTML, or a text file are also good. Or cut and paste into
your email message works too.
- Your document will be reformatted to match the rest of the book.
If your story looks like you started with the default Word template
and typed everything in with no formatting, I will love you. If you
have heavy and extensive formatting and styles, and insist on having
all of your paragraphs right-justified and in 20-point bold and with
graphics of the Smurfs on the start of each line because you are the
center of the universe and that is your vision, there's a chance your
story might not make it into the issue.
- I generally can't use photos in stories. If it's really needed,
drop me a line first.
- I don't edit the text of submissions unless it's a really horrific
error, so please make sure to proof your work before you send it.
- Sorry, no snail mail or paper submissions. If you've got
something really neat to share or trade, email and I can give you my
postal address. But if I list it here, I will get hundreds of offers
to refinance my rental apartment.
- If you are an artist and are interested in doing a cover, send a
query and links to your work online, if possible.