In this series, The Art of Landing talks to literary magazine editors from around the world, picking their brains to see what they like and don’t like in submissions, how/if they work with authors, and their advice for publishing in literary journals. If you edit a lit mag, and would like to be a part of this series, please be in touch!
Name: Caitlin Chester
Lit Mag: The Round Table Literary Journal
What makes Round Table unique among lit mags?
Most notably, our publication has been in print for over 50 years. In the past, we have mainly featured work from the local Western Kentucky area, including students of all ages, faculty at our community college, and the community at large. This is our first year going live on Submittable, though, and we are now accepting submissions from across the nation.
What makes a submission pop out for you?
We strive to feature underrepresented voices, so thematically, we love anything that focuses on diversity and fostering a more accepting society towards all ages, genders, ethnicities, and sexual representations.
Do you work with writers to edit pieces you love or do you generally take pieces “as is”?
So far, we have taken pieces “as is,” but we are willing to work with writers to make a piece the best it can be!
What factors do you take into consideration when choosing to accept or reject a piece?
We like to identify writers from our local area, especially children in the local schools, so that our publication stays true to our roots, so to speak. We love discovering writers in our own community and fostering a creative presence in our area! At the same time, our goal of featuring underrepresented voices encourages us to accept work from a variety of writers and locations.
What are your pet peeves when it comes to submissions?
I think I can speak for the entire staff when I say poor grammar and spelling are high on the list, as well as writing that leaves us asking the dreaded question, “So what? What is the significance of this?”
What advice do you have for writers just beginning the process of getting their work out there?
Simply this: go. for. it. You have a unique voice and an amazing story to tell, so just go for it! In the prolific words of my mother, “If you try, you may fail. But if you don’t try, you’ll never know.” Don’t feel so discouraged when your work isn’t selected for publication that you never try again. Keep trying!
Caitlin Chester teaches English and literature at Hopkinsville Community College. She is primarily a nonfiction writer who is embarking on a journey towards fiction. She holds an MFA from Murray State University. She is a past contributor to Paducah Life Magazine, Christian Woman, and Archive of Our Own. Connect with her on Twitter @CaitlinChester4.