I had the honor to sample a copy of their good-quality magazine for children, Spellbound, and I couldn't wait to learn more about it. She accepted to answer my questions in the interview below. Read on and enjoy!
What types of items do you publish in your magazines?
We publish fiction (up to 2,500 words), poems (up to 36 lines), and artwork (both color and black and white) in each issue of Spellbound. Each issue also has a recommended reading list of books that fit in with the issue's theme. I put the reading list together, and I love doing it because I find all sorts of new books and writers with each issue. We also include a lesson plan with each issue that is available for free from the website.
How do you select stories for each edition?
I pick four to six stories for each issue, and my focus is always on stories that are well-written and entertaining. One of our goals with Spellbound is to provide children with quality fantasy fiction, and to keep them reading, and so stories that talk down to the reader, or are twee, or need work get passed on. I actually keep track of submissions to issues and post an analysis of each issue on the website (for instance, you can find the analysis of submissions to our most recent issue here). The point of the posts is to give writers an idea of what is getting submitted and what is getting rejected. It's also a quick guide way for me to see if I'm fulfilling Spellbound's main goal of publishing diverse and inclusive content.
There are three of us working on each issue of Spellbound. Marcie Lynn Tentchoff is the poetry editor and she's in charge of selecting the poetry. Sam Haney Press is the art director and she's the one in charge of the artwork. I'm in charge of the fiction and everything else (contracts, payment, layout and design, distribution, etc.).
Because we have a short production schedule, I only select stories that are publication-ready. We have a copyeditor who goes over the stories and poems, and I will send proofs with suggested corrections and edits to the authors and poets for their approval or rejection. The real challenge has come from maintaining consistent grammar and spelling while still keeping the tone and flavor of pieces from outside the United States. Spellbound is a global magazine, and I want to represent that in everything we publish. I think, so far, we've managed to keep the balance, though.
Because the staff and contributors are scattered around the world, 99% of our communication is via e-mail. It makes you very aware of things like time zones when you are getting comments and questions in the middle of the night, but it's the afternoon for the sender.
How do you distribute your magazine and find readers?
Since we want Spellbound to be as widely distributed as possible, we not only sell it from our site, but issues can be bought from Amazon (for Kindle owners), B&N.com (for Nook owners), Kobo, iTunes, and several other online vendors. Subscriptions are only available from us ($24 for a year subscription). All of our issues are sold without DRM*, and we encourage readers to convert their copies to whatever format they prefer. We even include links to software and instructions with each issue we send out. And, for those who buy from us, we will always provide back-up copies in case a computer meltdown or internet gremlins manages to wipe the issue from their readers.
Most of our work to reach readers has been centered on reaching out to bloggers, reviewers and parent groups as well as libraries and teachers. I spend a lot of time at conventions, talking to people about what we're doing with Spellbound. I like the convention route, because I get to see the enthusiasm people have when I tell them what it is about.
What are the upcoming themes?
Currently we're reading for the Sea Monsters theme, which is for Summer 2014. The deadline for that issue is March 31, 2014. Then we head right into the Magical Cats issue. Click here for the full guidelines.
Thank you, Raechel, for taking the time to answer my questions!
*I looked up DRM to find out more and came across this short article that explains what it is.