Episode 28: Publishing a Literary Journal with Cynthia Reeser

July 13, 2016

Today on the show we have Cynthia Reeser, publisher of Aqueous Books and Editor-in-Chief for Prick of the Spindle. Cynthia was a font of knowledge on a topic we’ve never covered here on BOA before, Literary Journals.

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Here is here bio from www.cynthiareeser.com:

On Writing

 Cynthia Reeser Constantino is the Founder and Publisher of Aqueous Books, and Founder and Editor-in-Chief for Prick of the Spindle literary journal. Her published nonfiction includes How to Write and Publish a Successful Children’s Book: Everything You Need to Know Explained Simply (Atlantic Publishing, 2010, honorable mention in its category for the Independent Publisher Book Awards), and others. A poetry chapbook, Light and Trials of Light, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2010. She has published more than 100 reviews in print and online, and some of her poetry and fiction can be found at such places as Thunderclap, Dogzplot, Metazen, Glossolalia, Corium Review, Artifice Magazine, Liturgical Credo, and more. A dystopic short story appears in the Daughters of Icarus Anthology (Pink Narcissus Press, 2013). Another short story appears in Follow the Blood: Tales Inspired by The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew (Sundog Lit, March 2013). She was interviewed for an essay in Women, Work, and the Web: How the Web Creates Entrepreneurial Opportunities, Ed. Carol Smallwood (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014). She earned her MFA in Creative Writing (fiction) from the University of Tampa in 2015. She lives near Birmingham, a city undergoing a cultural renaissance, where she works as a freelance editor and writer and raises the world’s most wonderful child.

Regarding Art

 Cynthia Reeser Constantino is an artist working in various media, including oils, acrylics, graphite, oil pastels, photography, digital media, and others–but primarily oils. She is self-taught as a visual artist, her degrees being in music and literature. Having long harbored a fascination with creativity and acts of creation, she continually seeks ways to unite literature, art, and music. Her work appeared in the 2008 Christus St. Patrick Foundation Invitational Art Show and Auction in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and in shows throughout the state of Louisiana. She was the July 2008 featured artist at the Art Associates Gallery in Lake Charles. Her painting, “Music for the Damned,” appeared in the Femme Fest 2013 art exhibit, organized by the Women’s Caucus for Art of Louisiana, exhibited at The Midcity Theatre in New Orleans, LA. One of her commissioned paintings will appear on the cover of Secrets of Men…In a Lifeboat, a novel by Todd R. Baker, forthcoming in April 2016.

On Music

Cynthia Reeser Constantino taught herself to read music at the age of nine. The piano is her first and most enduring love. Self-taught in classical piano, she majored in piano performance at the University of West Florida, where she studied under the late Belgian pianist Pierre Huybregts. She composes for the piano and her guilty musical pleasure is electronica and all things lo-fi.

I met Cynthia at the LA Times Festival of Books in April, and thought I was going to have her on to talk about Aqueous books, but time makes fools of us all and we ended up talking almost exclusively about her literary Journal, and what makes a good literary journal.

What we really focused on is what it takes to make it into a literary journal. One thing that Cynthia knows is how to make a journal great because hers is fantastic. Not only is the content fantastic, but so is the design. Design is so important in a good business. If you don’t have a good website then people will be immediately turned off to everything you do. How can you have a great book if you have a crappy website, to paraphrase something Cynthia said.

She talked a lot about what mistakes she sees in submissions. The most of which was people that didn’t spellcheck their work and people that didn’t improve over time. The spell checking is baffling to me still. How can people send submissions in that haven’t been spell checked with information is ubiquitous? I don’t know how it’s possible, but it happens to me all the time and it happens to Cynthia more.

We touched on the people not growing a bit more than the spell checking. We talked a lot about why people don’t grow as artists and decided it came down to not evaluating your work and not reading enough. Sometimes you need to take a break from your work and evaluate it later. Other times you need to go back and read a lot more other content to help yourself grow.

Reading is one of the most important parts to writing. When you read you understand the mechanics of writing from the masters. I have never read a book without learning something about writing. The more books you read the more you learn. It’s as simple as that.

This is a great interview. You’ll learn a lot from it. You can check out Aqueous Books at http://www.aqueousbooks.com/ and Prick of the Spindle at http://prickofthespindle.org/. Cynthia is online at http://www.cynthiareeser.com.

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2 comments on “Episode 28: Publishing a Literary Journal with Cynthia Reeser

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