This morning the announcement for the 2nd Annual CLMP Southern Literary Magazine & Small Press Fair arrived in my email. CLMP is the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses and once again the event will be at Houston’s Brazos Bookstore, a place that makes roaming through bookstacks and bookshelves a delight. I made a point of attending last year and found the event to be all it promised and then some. My advice: arrive early, stay late. (And don’t give up if the front parking lot is full; there is nearby on-street parking available.) While boxes and boxes of literary magazines are available and issues can be picked up for a song, they move fast and furious. For the best assortment get there as soon as you can. If you haven’t looked lately, the price of a single issue of any literary magazine is fairly high, usually ranging from $8-$15. Annual subscriptions are the best way to go–unless you are lucky enough to attend this conference. Bookstores generally have a limited title selection, with Brazos being the exception. For writers, who want to be sure and select the best target market for their material, this can prove to be a frustrating and expensive process. Being able to pick up recent issues for only $2 or $4 is like a gift from heaven. I confess I left last year with two very full boxes–and then I bought a couple of books from the bookstore.
Each magazine has its own distinct style, needs, and wants. Sometimes they’re subtle but they are there. Being able to collect material from a wide range of publishers allows a writer to read them critically and compare one against the other. Understanding the differences is crucial when submitting. A writer who can demonstrate a familiarity with the magazine when submitting a manuscript is someone an editor can appreciate. This year 75 publishers have signed up to be represented–a big increase over last year’s good turnout of 50.
The panel discussions last year proved informative and I’m sure this year’s, Beneath the Covers: A Look Inside Literary Book Publishers at 11:30 AM and Lit Mags 101: How Lit Mags Work And How to Submit at 2 PM, will be even better. If you are interested in submitting material to any literary magazine, you’ll want to attend this event for a rare opportunity to meet editors who are more than willing to talk to readers and writers and who are eager to share their likes and dislikes and offer their take on the literary journal and small press industry.
Gulf Coast, the local literary journal published by the University of Houston, will be well represented. Some other literary magazines I enjoy include Fourth Genre: Explorations in Creative Nonfiction, Mars Hill Review, Creative Nonfiction, Ploughshares, Belleview Literary Review, Tiferet, and The Missouri Review. In addition to the fiction and creative nonfiction pieces, many issues contain great interviews with writers that offer a glimpse into the ways they work and think. Most websites offer online archives and selections from current issues, but I do think that actually having a bound issue in your hand allows you to take in the variety of the offerings and gain some sense of an overall impression that helps you gain the subtle understandings of the individual journals and magzines.
So mark your calendars and plan to attend this free event:
Houston, Saturday, January 29, 2005: 11:00 am- 5:00 pm
BRAZOS BOOKSTORE GALLERY
2425 Bissonnet Street
For more detailed information, a list of participants and contact information, keep reading:
The Council of Literary Magazines and Presses, in conjunction with Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Art and Brazos Bookstore (and with support from the National Endowment of the Arts), presents the 2nd Annual Southern Literary Magazine and Small Press Fair showcasing America’s best independent publishers.
Last year’s fair drew over 50 indie publishers, and 75 have registered for this year’s
The Southern Literary Magazine and Small Press Fair offers the opportunity to purchase literary magazines for $2 and books for only $4. (Note: these prices don’t
apply to Brazos Bookstore Merchandise). It also includes two panel discussions:
"Beneath the Covers: A Look Inside Literary Book Publishers" at 11:30 AM, and "Lit
Mags 101: How Lit Mags Work And How to Submit" at 2 PM. These panels will feature editors from Trinity University Press, Wings Press, Winnow Press, Arte Público, Gulf Coast, Southern Review, and others. Audience participation is encouraged.
The fair is free and open to the public. Additional on-street parking is available on
South Boulevard and Wroxton Street (both running parallel to Bissonnet Street).
The Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) is the nation’s only organization devoted to independent literary publishers. The 37-year-old organization provides technical assistance to almost 500 literary magazines, presses,
and online publishers across the world. CLMP’s Lit Mag and Small Press fairs, funded by a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts, have taken place in such cities as Atlanta, Columbus, Buffalo, Miami, and New York.
Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Art
Department of English
University of Houston
Houston, TX 78204-3013
For Details, Contact:
David Ray Vance
Direct Phone: 713-743-3223