Closing Up Shop

At the end of 2019 Caffeinated Press, the publisher of The 3288 Review, will be closing. Issue 5.2 of The 3288 Review will be the last issue published. Back issues are still available from the Caffeinated Press store, and will be until we run out of inventory.

We, the members of Caffeinated Press and all of our editors, writers and interns, thank you for your support and encouragement over the past five years. It has been our sincere pleasure to serve the writing community of West Michigan.

The Turning of the Seasons

It is now the middle of October. We just passed the deadline for submissions to Issue 2 of The 3288 Review, which means we are now accepting submissions for Issue 3. Issue 2 is still on track to hit the shelves in about a month. Issue 3 will be published in February 2016.

This is an amazing thought! We started this publication less than six months ago, and already we are planning for a new calendar year. I have not been this busy since my time at Grand Valley State University in the late 1900s, studying Russian philosophy and working fifty hours a week.

Why are we so busy? I’m glad you asked! Now that we are on the down-side of the learning curve, we are looking back at what went right, what went wrong, and where we can improve. A sort of post-mortem for Issue 1 (which is still available for purchase, by the way). We are fiddling with the design for issue 2; exploring style and typography options which better fit our content. As beautiful as Issue 1 is, Issue 2 will be even better.

However, the physical artifacts of The 3288 Review are only part of the endeavor. We have several ancillary tasks and side projects happening right now which are intended to increase our visibility, support our contributors, and, frankly, bring in some money.

First, we have started an interview series with the contributors to Issue 1, which will be posted here as and when each is complete. For each of the dozen contributors we engaged in a brief conversation, starting with “How did you get started doing what you are doing”, or words to that effect. Each included total of 7 questions exploring creative processes, literary and artistic influences, current projects, and anything else that comes up. Photographer Tammy Ruggles will be the first, later this week.

Next, we have been hard at work connecting to the larger writing community. Social media has of course helped. We have had quite a bit of exposure on Facebook, posting regular updates and developing relationships with the myriad local and regional writing and literary groups. Twitter fills in the nooks and crannies where Facebook doesn’t reach.

As of ten days ago, we are listed at DuoTrope. This was a big win! In the first five days of our new listing, we received as many submissions as in the previous two months. At the beginning of 2016 we will become eligible for listing at Poets & Writers, which will provide another big boost. Suddenly we need to start planning, not just for success, but for being successful. It’s hard work!

As mentioned in the previous post, The 3288 Review is on the shelf at The Sparrows in Grand Rapids. We are also now available for purchase at The Bookman bookstore in Grand Haven. As we gain visibility we are introducing ourselves to other bookstores, from South Haven to Ludington. As other retailers pick us up we will post the necessary information here.

The most important part of what we are doing, though, is getting personally involved with, and supporting, the local literary community. There is a lot happening here in West Michigan. The Drunken Retort, Mondays at Stella’s Lounge. Poetry & Pints at Harmony Brewing. Open Mic night, Thursdays at The Mayan Buzz Cafe. Multiple events every week at the Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters. Electric Poetry, Tuesday evenings on WYCE.

And let us not forget that Caffeinated Press has regular open writing hours in our offices in Grand Rapids. With NaNoWriMo just around the corner we are hosting a NaNo Prep/Hit the Ground Running evening on October 31 until the wee hours of November 1. You should come. Daylight Savings Time ends November 1, so you can sleep in an extra hour after busting out your first 1,667 words.

So, yes. All of that is enough to keep us busy, 30 or more hours a day.

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!

Copies of The 2188 Review Issue 1.1

Issue 1 Has Arrived!

After a summer of hard work, long hours, strained eyes, and tremendous sleep deprivation, issue 1 of volume 1 of The 3288 Review is released and available to order.

We would like to offer congratulations to those poets and writers, artists and photographers who made this possible:

Lisa Gundry for her poems “Learning to Swim With Daddy” and “Visitation”.

Craig Baker for his short story “Wanderlust”.

Roel Garcia for his essay “My Father, the Stranger in the Room”.

Robert Knox for his short story “Commitment”.

Morris Lincoln for his essay “Portland on the Grand”.

Anthony Carpenter for his artwork titled “The Inquisitor”.

Tammy Ruggles for her photography collection “First View of the Ocean”.

Morgen Knight for her short story “Lessons of My Brother”.

J.M. Leija for her essay “Tacet”.

Gilbert Prowler for his short story “The Walk On Bye”.

Elyse Wild for her photo collection “Not the Whole”, and her interview with David J.

Emma Moser for her short story “This is How We Mourn”.

Dawn Schout for her poems “Docked” and “June Flurries”.

Sommer Schafer for her short story “A Final Affair”.

Thanks also to Abigail McClung for her superb design skills, and to Elyse Wild and Alaric Reinstein for excellence in editing.

And finally thanks to our publisher Jason Gillikin of Caffeinated Press, whose experience and editing expertise saw us through the last few frantic hours as the deadline loomed.

With Issue 1 out the door, we are hard at work on Issue 2, to be released in November of 2015. Two pieces have already been accepted and several others await editorial review. We have room for many more, so spread the word that our submission window is always open.

Now the Fun Part Begins

Back when we first floated the idea of starting a literary journal, I though all I would have to do was set up a website and sit back and just let the money roll in. I was, to put it delicately, mistaken. As it turns out, creating a publication from scratch requires a lot of work and a not inconsiderable investment of time and money. I have no one but myself to blame for this oversight.

With well over a thousand literary journals printed in the United States, finding a niche can be difficult. Most are published through, or associated with universities. The independent journals run the gamut of form and reach. Many have moved to online-only models. Some pay cash money. Others offer contributor copies.

Through all of this runs a steady current of writers looking to get published, which vastly outnumber the journals. A graph of this global conversation would show a multitude of clusters around the Big Names – The Paris Review and Ploughshares on one end; Li-Young Lee and Joyce Carol Oates on the other. The one tends to attract the other, and smaller voices and venues can get lost in the eddies.

The 3288 Review stands off to the side of this conversation. We are based in Grand Rapids, and we intend that a plurality, if not a majority, of our talent come from West Michigan. Consider these names: Patricia Clark. Jack Ridl. David Lubbers. Susan Blackwell Ramsey. D.R. James. Jacqueline Carey. Kathleen McGookey. Debra Reid Jenkins. Chris Van Allsburg. Poets and photographers, writers and artists. All are regionally well-known, and several have established national reputations. And they are all, to some degree, West Michiganders.

Our first issue will hit the shelves next month. We have four poems, several short stories, a novelette, artwork, two collections of photography and an interview with bassist David J.

I call that a good start.