DOUG LANGILLE, Ezine Owner/Editor
“The idea behind Reader’s Carnival is to provide that publishing experience, to build writing credits and to start to build readership for Writer’s Carnival members.”
We spoke with one of the owner/operators of Reader’s Carnival, Doug Langille. Doug discusses how he ended up running an online magazine and gives advice on how to get out of the slush pile and onto the acceptance list. He also discusses the time commitments and passion behind this type of project.
Doug has also agreed to answers some of your questions. Don’t be shy! This is an incredible opportunity and you should take advantage.
I love many things. Selecting stories and poems and finding cool art to go with them are near the top of the list. But the best thing is laying it all out and seeing the final product. Each issue has its own character, and sometimes it doesn’t become clear until it’s finished. I love those kinds of surprises.
CARNIVAL: What is the number one thing you look for when it comes to accepting stories or poetry?
Stories that are layered and well-conceived stand out for me. If when I finish a story and say ‘Wow, I want to read that again,’ then I’m sold on it being a winner. I’m not much of a poet myself, but I look for poems that evoke some emotion or send my mind spinning off on a tangent.
CARNIVAL: How hard is it to send a rejection letter? And how much feedback do you try to give the person on the receiving end?
It is gut-wrenchingly hard because I’m an empathetic person. I’ve felt the sting of being told my word-baby doesn’t pass muster or isn’t a ‘good fit’. No one wants to hear that message. Delivering the bad news in a helpful way is somewhat of an art. I’ve been doing it in my non-writing career for twenty years. I still struggle.
Writer’s Carnival is all about writers helping writers improve their craft. Reviewing is a big part of that, and at Reader’s Carnival we try to do the same, deadline allowing. So if I have a good read on the person, I’ll provide some detail to help. Otherwise, I’ll leave them the opportunity to follow up when they are ready.
CARNIVAL: What, exactly, is Reader’s Carnival and how do people get involved?
Reader’s Carnival is an e-zine, specializing in short fiction: stories and poems. Each month is themed, but the interpretation can be as obscure as needed. Because Reader’s Carnival showcases indie talent at Writer’s Carnival, only upgraded members of Writer’s Carnival are eligible to submit. Once all hooked up there, surf over to http://readerscarnival.ca/how2submit
And don’t forget, we’re a paying market now and offer .02 CAD per word, up to 1,500 words, for accepted prose and a flat rate of $7.00 CAD for accepted poetry.
CARNIVAL: When and what made you decide to pursue the ezine path? How do you balance the time commitments?
A year ago this month, I approached Anisa with the observation that many Writer’s Carnival members were looking for ways to develop readership. Writer’s Carnival itself isn’t about that; it’s a safe-zone to give and receive feedback on improving one’s writing craft. The idea behind Reader’s Carnival is to provide that publishing experience, to build writing credits and to start to build readership for Writer’s Carnival members.
I hold down a full-time job, have a busy family and love writing. Anisa and I share the workload of Reader’s Carnival, taking turns each month on leading the tasks for the issue. It’s hectic and high-pressured fun as each launch deadline looms. We have different skills and organizational styles, but somehow they all complement each other.
I love them all! Jeepers, what are you trying to do? Make me choose my favourite child? If you held a gun to my head, I think it would be a toss up between February’s romance issue and July’s kids issue. They are so different from each other and show the range of talent at Writer’s Carnival very well. Of course, ask me in five minutes and I’ll give you a different answer. Honestly, they are all individually awesome. The issues coming out this fall all look to be stellar.
CARNIVAL: How can people avoid the slush pile when it comes to submitting to Reader’s Carnival?
Pretty easy. Spell check, grammar and a reasonable degree of clean formatting go a long way to staying on my good-list. Seriously, take the time to edit your work before submitting. I want to evaluate your stories and poems; I want to fall in love with them. Hook me with a great first paragraph or stanza and finish the piece strong.
CARNIVAL: Where do you plan on taking the project from here?
Anisa and I have been talking about making a quarterly print edition. How’s that sound? I’m pretty stoked.
Interested in learning from Doug?
Checkout the classes he teaches in on Writer’s Carnival by clicking HERE
Send him a friend request on his Writer’s Carnival profile: @DougLangille