I think I've mentioned in the past that I get a lot of critique help over at Scribophile -- which I really recommend for writers looking to iron out some problems they might be having, and those seeking a community. Great feedback and lots of good writing over there. One of the moderators of that site has launched a new effort called Spark: A Creative Anthology. Their mission -- stolen straight from their site:
Our mission is perhaps best summed up in the words of Brian Lewis, founder and Editor-in-Chief of Spark:
My goal was to establish a high-quality, paying market where emerging authors and poets can gain professional experience being published alongside respected instructors and older creative writing alumni who are now established authors. While Spark encourages submissions from alumni of the California State Summer School for the Arts, we are looking for quality writing and artwork from any source. We set the bar high in order to encourage young writers to continue to excel and develop their talents, and to maintain a publication to which established professionals are excited to submit.
I'm a fan of literary journals, both online and in print, and have been quietly submitting (though not as much as I should) for the last year or so. While this is an admittedly good way to practice being rejected, it's also a good way to make headway in a writing career that can otherwise feel like a pipe dream.
Right now, Spark is asking for support that will allow them to pay their contributors and produce the anthologies. I believe in this mission, and I agree that paying markets are rare and important. I just opted to support Spark here -- in part because they are offering a free membership to Duotrope, which will no longer be free as of January 1, 2013. I'd have bought a subscription anyway -- $50.00 a year -- and by donating $45.00 to Spark, I get my subscription AND priority ebook copies of the first four Spark anthologies that are published.
Finally, IF you are a writer and you're not tracking submissions through Duotrope, you might want to check it out. Being eternally disorganized, this tool has made it so ridiculously easy for me to research journals and track my correspondence and submissions! I don't think I'd do too well without it!
Which leads me to an announcement... but I think it deserves its own post. So you'll just have to wait until tomorrow.
I hope your holidays were wonderful. Ours were busy and crazy and fun. And now my living room is covered with Lego and Play-doh. And I'm not complaining!