On September 15, 2016, the literary journal Maudlin House published my flash fiction piece titled “Reply to an almost lover” online in their FICTION category. In this blog post I’m going to tell you a little more about them and what went into my decision to submit my work there. If you haven’t read the piece yet, the link’s in the prior sentence, over on my publication list, and directly below:
— Maudlin House (@MaudlinHouse) September 15, 2016
This journal only publishes electronically, which is a decision many editors have made in the age of e-readers, tablets, and other on-the-go reading devices. Many journals that specialize in flash fiction (<1,000 words), microfiction (<500 words), and even Twitter fiction (140 characters) prefer the online format because they know their readers are enjoying the short reads in between appointments and on the go. However, us flash fiction writers have got to be careful; many psuedo-literary startups take advantage of this trend, doing things like charging writers fees to submit (known as "reading fees"), publishing most or all pieces submitted to them, and putting in little effort to promote the work they publish. When I started submitting years ago, I got a subscription to Duotrope so that I could access data that would help me weed out the fakers and submit to legitimate literary journals. Another site that’s similar to Duotrope is the Submission Grinder, which doesn’t have as many markets or stats but is free to access, and many writers I know have success looking up literary journal data there. When it comes to qualitative data, the Review Review is fantastic; they tend to only list journals that have enough clout in the community, and if they’ve published an editor’s opinion, interviewed an editor themselves, or reviewed an issue, you can be fairly sure you’ve got a legitimate journal on your hands. Duotrope is good for that too, as they also post interviews with editors, but I’ve only seen them posted for journals I respect. Are you seeing a trend here? Legitimate journals will make the effort to explain their vision on multiple platforms, to expand their reach to more writers and readers. It’s what editors who care do.
Suffice it to say I love the efforts Mallory Smart, editor-in-chief of Maudlin House, has made to make Maudlin House as well known and respected as it is. She’s interviewed with Duotrope and written an article for The Review Review. She’s made her vision for the journal clear in its tagline: Life’s too short to be normal. When Duotrope asked her to describe Maudlin House in 25 characters or less, she answered: Word games of the obsolete. In Duotrope’s “About” section, this description blew me away: “Maudlin is slushy words and bathetic prose all wrapped into one mawkishly nostalgic literary journal. Maudlin House is a monthly literary publication that welcomes unsolicited flash, poetry and fiction submissions by both emerging, and established authors. We admire all forms of transgressive, absurdist, and minimalist literature. We encourage you to create literature that explores the human condition. We want to bear witness to the human circus, and the chains to which we are confined. Let your work drip with sentimentality, and emotion. At Maudlin, we want you to be zealous. Belong to where you don’t belong. Create art. Live, don’t make a living. Break down the barriers and make your words come to life. Show us the collected truth that makes us who we are. This publication is by writers, for writers. Together we can make something beautiful.” When speaking to Duotrope about the perfect submission, Smart said: “Does it elicit emotion? Does it challenge the literary status quo? Does it speak a certain truth? These are the core values of Maudlin House so we immediately look for those qualities in all our submissions. We want work that literally blows our mind like a handgun. The ideal submission is something we’ve never seen before, but can’t live without now that we’ve seen it. It’s like entropy. We just don’t know.”
The data speaks to Smart’s commitment to the journal’s aesthetic. According to Duotrope, Maudlin House only accepts 7.1% of the pieces submitted to them (this number does fluctuate some, and I believe when I submitted it was around 6%). This was a pretty tough market to crack at that percentage, so I feel honored to be one of the few.
I hope to get accepted by some paying markets one day, but I understand most journals are run by volunteers and can’t afford to pay anyone. Maudlin House is a non-paying market for this reason, but that doesn’t make it any less legitimate; Pushcart Prizes have been won by writers published in non-paying journals.
If you’d like to know more about Maudlin House, check out their social media on Twitter, Facebook, and more. If you read my piece, please click the appropriate reaction emoji on Maudlin House’s site below my piece and share the link for others to find on your social media; if the journal ever decided to publish a ‘Best Of’ anthology, my guess is page views and # of reactions would factor into their selection process.
Thank you to everyone reading this. I know I already said thank you in my announcement blog post, but it should be repeated that I am extremely grateful to have my work land in such a stellar journal that fits my story’s tone and style so beautifully. Heart emojis forever <3 <3 <3 !!