We built Tahoma Literary Review because we want to ensure the publication of great writing in a way that’s monetarily satisfying to the writer, but we also built it because we wanted to play a part in our greater literary community.
What does “literary community” mean, anyway? Strictly defined, it means all writers, readers, and editors, but we like to think of it with a special emphasis on what you can do to improve the community. Our emphasis is on the latter of the two words.
To us, this means paying close attention to the blogs that writers and other editors read; the web sites that cover both the business of lit-mag publishing—and publishing at large—and the other publications that share our space. Sometimes, this task can feel overwhelming, but we’re happy we at least get to spend our days reading news and views on the industry we’ve chosen to live in.
So how does a publication like ours—editors like us, writers like us—contribute to and ensure a seat the communal literary table? We read. And we talk to our fellow editors and writers. You may have noticed, for instance, that we appear in places like H_NGM_N, Jennie Nash’s blog, Scratch Magazine, and on blogs like the Alchemist’s Kitchen and the Incompetent Writer. All of these come about because we’ve been either contributing to or talking to the blogs and venues that eventually decided to follow up with interviews with our editors or about our process.
What does that means for writers, though? Here are 3 must-dos to ensure your own healthy literary community. (Sounds like a biosphere, or a terrarium, and it kind of is: Keep everything in it happy and fed, and you’ll be rewarded with a lush, thriving environment.)
- Read your fellow writers’ blogs and web sites. No writer can exist in a vacuum. If you’re producing some kind of work and publishing it to the Internet, it’d be nice if you also took some time to read other writers’ work, and that includes their blogs. You might learn something, sure, but it’s always good for other writers to know that someone is paying attention to their work. And if you’re anything like a certain editor, you like to see your Google Analytics numbers jump when you post something new. No one ever said we’re not in the ego game.
- Comment on your fellow writers’ blog and web sites. Or, put more loosely, write! A comment is a sure-fire way of showing someone that what they’ve written resonates with you. It’s like a little virtual tip jar. Further, if the World Wide Web wasn’t built for conversation, we don’t know what it’s there for, and what better way to foster engagement than to open a conversation by telling someone you appreciate what they’ve written?
- Buy the literary magazines your writer friends appear in. Pass them around. Yes, yes, we know. This one should be a no-brainer. No, but really. Money may be the life blood of any literary magazine, but it’s also wonderful to spread the word around and let people know about this amazing compendium of work you found online.
BONUS: Get together in real life. We can’t underscore the importance of this one enough. Keep yourself active in your literary community. Be sure to put in appearances at readings and conferences. Show some support, and it’ll return to you ten-fold.
We know. We’ve been there.