Issue 1 Lessons Learned

Now that the dust has settled and the ink has dried, we have time to look back on the past couple of months and take stock.

Creating a literary journal is a lot of work. I mentioned it before, and I’ll say it again: lit journals are a lot of work. It’s not that there were cats to herd or goats to rodeo, or that we lacked for drive, gumption, can-do attitude, or vision. We knew where we were, and where we wanted to be. The terrain between the two had been charted exhaustively.

But the map is not the journey. We didn’t know, for instance, that when you upload a new design to our printing service you had to first delete the old version, or the new one wouldn’t take. I discovered, almost too late, that when one adjusts a line break or word spacing in a piece of text, InDesign re-flows the entire document up to that point. Typography is, apparently, recursive, and therefore layout is equal parts art and science.

Incidentally, this also means that development and line edits should done BEFORE layout begins.

Lessons like this are to be expected at the beginning. Even editors-in-chief should have other eyes look over our work. The full mea culpa will be printed in the next issue.

Response to the release of issue 1 has been overwhelmingly positive. My favorite comment so far is “Holy shit dude! An interview with David J?!?!?”. So, yeah. We’re making a splash. The design has received many compliments from readers and from our own contributors, and as people sit down to read, praise for the authors and photographers are beginning to appear.

All of this adds up to a successful project! Submissions for issue 2 (to be published in November) have increased from a brook to a crick, and (as of this posting) are approaching a stream. Tremendous thanks to The Sparrows coffee house in Grand Rapids for being the first local outlet for the journal. We expect to be on the shelf at several of the regional independent stores by the holidays.

We have some projects in the works for the upcoming few months – web exclusives and new offerings for the Review, and collaborations with local venues and literary establishments. Keep an eye on this space!