The Jersey Devil wants to burn your books and eat your brains

march 2014 coverSpring is just around the corner. The flowers are starting to push up and bloom, the sun is staying out longer, the weather will start to warm soon.

But don’t worry. Jersey Devil Press has one last blast of cold, eerie darkness for you before your winter ends.

We’re talking book-burning, war, zombies . . . a haunted penis. A SeΓ±or Frogs in someone’s closet. Mark Ruffalo living on the street and missing a hand. The horrors abound!

I kid, but seriously, folks, this issue has some of our finest stories. Read that first one and tell me it doesn’t take your breath away.

Plus gorgeous cover art from Betsy Streeter!

Published by Samuel Snoek-Brown

I write fiction and teach college writing and literature. I'm the author of the story collection There Is No Other Way to Worship Them, the novel Hagridden, and the flash fiction chapbooks Box Cutters and Where There Is Ruin.

9 thoughts on “The Jersey Devil wants to burn your books and eat your brains

      1. Really? I’ll check out the submission policy.

        On a separate note, I’ve been working on a comedy/ghost story for 2015’s ‘Fearie Tales’ competition. You’ll like it – it’s called ‘Burns Night in the Appalachians’ and features the Scroogefields and the McCratchits.

      2. Sam, I can never get along with Submishmash. Maybe you would let me send some stories direct to you by email, and you could see whether any of them are close to what JDP would want? If not, then you could give me some pointers.

      3. I think not, Sam. If there is one thing I’ve learnt by experience, it’s that one can tell quickly whether one writes the sort of stuff that a particular editor, editorial team, or publisher doesn’t like. That being the case, it makes sense not to try to write stuff that one thinks they’ll like (tweaking a story a little is another matter, as does writing to commission) because that entails not following one’s natural path as a writer, and not to waste too much time submitting and submitting stories that one knows will be rejected.

        I have tried two stories with JDP over the past couple of years, each one was rejected within 24 hours. What that indicates to me is that they simply don’t like my stuff and that’s that – hopefully it doesn’t mean they only give it a cursory reading. But then I checked out their aggressively-worded page about the sort of stories they don’t like, and had to chuckle and shake my head at the same time, because they shut the door on such a lot of potential. I emailed them about that, and my email to them finished by saying I felt like writing a story where a vampire, a mob assassin, and a horny college professor get stuck in an elevator! πŸ˜€

        Oh, they didn’t answer, by the way. That’s another minus point. It’s impolite.

        I think it would be different if JDP already knew my work, spotted something they liked, and said “You got any more like that?” – but they have a reactive rather than proactive editorial policy, sitting back and waiting for submissions rather than going and looking for writers. And they put on a load of extra conditions, like having to wait a month before submitting another story and so on. That’s okay, it’s totally up to them – if that’s what they’re happy doing and they get the material they want to publish, then who am I to gainsay them!

        If the above is overly critical, I exclude you from it. It’s not meant to be. It’s an honest reaction to the face that JDP presents. πŸ™‚

      4. Fair enough. I should point out, to address your “hopefully it doesn’t mean” and for the benefit of anyone else reading, that Jersey Devil Press does have a reputation for extremely quick replies, both for acceptances and rejections, and that this reputation comes from our content editor’s amazing ability to keep up with submissions, complete with thoughtful reading notes and deliberation. I wish I knew how she did it; it’s genuinely awe-inspiring. We’re not the fastest gang in the literary world — Eunoia Review, Bartleby Snopes, and a handful of others have equally impressive response times without sacrificing reputation — but we’re routinely in Duotrope’s top 25 list of quick responders, and as a writer, I’m kind of glad of that. Means less waiting-around time, so if we like your work it gets to readers quicker and if it’s not right for us, you can more quickly get it in the hands of other editors. Kind of a win-win.

        As for the “reactive rather than proactive” approach: I don’t know much about lit journals on your side of the Atlantic, but in my experience, that’s pretty well the norm. The only folks spending time and energy soliciting work are upstarts trying to make a name for themselves or the oldest of the Old Guard who won’t publish anyone who isn’t already A Name. The rest of us work on the traditional model of “send us what you got and we’ll print the best of it.” The rest of the guidelines, like most magazines’ guidelines, are rooted in experience and are intended to do two things: make our already-overworked lives as volunteers a little easier, and to ensure as much fairness in the submissions process as we can manage. So far, it’s served us and our writers and readers pretty well, but I’m glad to have the feedback and I’ll share it with my colleagues. πŸ™‚

      5. I do hear what you say, Sam, and although there’s a lot more I could add to the discussion (not least from the point of view of an editor) I won’t labour the point here. This is, after all, the comment thread to a post. πŸ™‚

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