When I was in college, a fair number of commercial U.S. magazines published short stories. Many of those are gone now. Those that aren’t gone, stopped publishing fiction–though I have seen rumors that Atlantic will begin including fiction again.
There are plenty of so-called “little magazines” that publish fiction. Competition is fierce. Payment is often low or in contributor’s copies unless you win one of the yearly contests where the competition is fiercer and requires an entry fee.
For thirty years, Glimmer Train Magazine (a quarterly) helped fill the gap. The Fall 2019 issue was its last as editors Linda Swanson-Davies and her sister, Susan Burmeister-Brown are moving on to (as folks say) the next phase of their lives. While the magazine had high standards and a lot of submissions (once again, meaning the competition was fierce), it included many emerging writers and paid fairly for stories that were published.
As Linda and Susan say on their website they hoped to:
- Publish literary short stories that were emotionally significant. We knew that at its best, a story could add depth and breadth to real life, and those were the stories we wanted to print.
- Present stories in a handsome physical publication that people would keep, giving the stories the long lives and future readings they deserved.
- Keep a keen eye out for new voices, favoring pieces by emerging writers.
- Pay writers well for stories we accepted for publication. (Each year we have paid nearly $50,000 to writers, almost 3/4 of that to emerging writers.)
While I’m sorry to see the magazine go, I think it accomplished what it set out to do. Fortunately, the magazine has not been told, so it won’t linger around under new management that may not keep up the high standards of the publication.
Thank you, Linda and Susan, for all of your hard work and for helping keep the issues coming out with contributions from personal finances.
A labor of love, I would say.