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Editor Interview: Gigantic Sequins: A Literary Arts Journal

Q: Describe what you publish in 25 characters or less.

A: aesthetically great work

Q: What other current publications (or publishers) do you admire most?

A: I love, passionately, the other lit journals Canteen, the Agriculture Reader, Barrelhouse, Stonecutter, and Big Lucks a lot. I love the magazines The Believer and Bomb as well. I love, love, love small presses such as Splitleaves Press, Belladonna, Ugly Ducking Presse, Magic Helicopter Press, and Word Riot. I am sure my genre editors & designers would have others to add to this list.

Q: If you publish writing, who are your favorite writers? If you publish art, who are your favorite artists?

A: We have a fiction editor and a poetry editor. As the editor in chief, my favorite classic poets are Cummings, Eliot, Stevens and Frost. Of all current poets I've read, Matthea Harvey is my favorite. Some of my favorite fiction writers are Zadie Smith, J.D. Salinger, Mark Twain, Jennifer Egan, Roberto Bolano, and Mike Young.

Q: What sets your publication apart from others that publish similar material?

A: Gigantic Sequins is a print journal that is uniquely designed. Our journal is always the same size, always in black & white, and always one of the most aesthetically pleasing journals around. We also are intent on publishing both those who are blossoming writers and artists as well as those who have been previously published. We strive to print something worth printing. In this era where information is so easily transmitted, to raise money to print something is not easy. We make sure that friends of our magazine as well as our subscribers and contributors get their money's worth. The journal that they receive in the mail is a beautiful object, not just because of its written content, but also because of its art and its design.

Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?

A: Buy a copy of Gigantic Sequins!!! We sell them for $5 at bookstores in New York City, Boston, Chicago, and Pittsburgh, as well as at other locations around the country. We also sell issues for $5 at events we attend, such as in Brooklyn on 9/25/11, we will be at Pete's Mini Zine Fest. Our journal is inexpensive in comparison to others, but it's just as good as the others! We understand that it's difficult these days to give your money to things you may WANT when it's difficult to buy things you may NEED even. With Gigantic Sequins, you're only spending $5 on something great that you want. If you order from us online at our order/subscribe page, we charge you for shipping & handling, but your total is still under $10. Without a copy of Gigantic Sequins in your hands, you will not be able to tell what kind of poetry/fiction/non-fiction/art our editors like best.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: The ideal submitter has read and followed our submission guidelines. If he/she refers to our journal, he/she REFERS THE NAME OF OUR JOURNAL CORRECTLY. An ideal submitter also understands and utilizes proper grammar and spelling and knows that his/her past publishing credits are not of interest to us; rather, a good understanding of what we like to publish is what we want you to have. Surprise us and tell us something you loved about a past issue of ours!

Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?

A: When our submitters do get something "wrong", which we don't find obviously happening too often, they have very clearly not read past copies of our magazine and have sent us work that does not fit within our editors' aesthetics. The other big thing that bothers us is when we are referred to as "Giant Sequins"-- this specifically shows that the submitter is more interested in publishing his/her work than in the existence of our journal.

Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?

A: We do not ask for cover letters and we don't care about previous publication credits. We just want to see your best poetry, fiction, non-fiction & art. We will judge your work based on your work.

Q: If you publish writing, how much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?

A: With poetry, we often read the pieces more than once in order to be sure. With fiction and non-fiction, more than likely, we read the entire piece. If a piece is clearly amateur (awful grammar, too much "tell" not enough "show", too much exposition [such as, "Mary was thirteen years old. She lived in Boston, and her hair was red"]), there is a chance that we will not read the entire thing.

Q: What additional evaluations, if any, does a piece go through before it is accepted?

A: We read pieces more than once and discuss them before we send an acceptance letter. We may have certain copyedits we need to be sure a writer is willing to allow us to make, formatting issues or, simply, a question for the writer. If one of these things comes up, we decide whether to accept as is, or talk to the writer and find out the answer before accepting. Other than that, there are no additional evaluations.

Q: What is a day in the life of an editor like for you?

A: Our editors live in four different cities in the USA, and our designers in two different countries. We communicate mostly via email during the submissions process as well as using the great features on Submishmash. We love gchatting about submissions after we've read things, and then gchatting again after we've sent a few emails about certain pieces.

Q: How important do you feel it is for publishers to embrace modern technologies?

A: I, personally, as a poet and the editor and chief of Gigantic Sequins, feel that online submissions are necessary at this point, unless a magazine or press would like to alienate the modern writer for specific reasons. Having a website is important and so is keeping up with social networking tools online. However, Gigantic Sequins uses these technological advantages to put out a traditional, print magazine. We love the book as a physical object, not just as a transmitter of art and information; we appreciate the kinesthetic experience of holding a beautiful bound book.