Interview with Sarai Mitnick, Founder of Colette Patterns

November 20th, 2014 by
Sarai Mitnick - 1

Photo courtesy of Sarai Mitnick

At Submittable, we get the privilege and fun of working with many creative people in publishing, filmmaking, and more. I recently interviewed our client Sarai Mitnick, who is a rock star in the indie sewing world. A former Silicon Valley techie, Sarai moved to Portland, Oregon, in 2008 to found Colette Patterns, which has grown to be one of the most popular indie sewing pattern companies, especially for Gen X and millennial sewing aficionados. The patterns are known for their modern feel and user-friendly instructions, which makes sense, given Sarai’s background in user experience. Sarai also runs a thriving blog, published The Colette Sewing Handbook for new sewists in 2011, and will soon launch Seamwork, an online pattern magazine which is currently calling for submissions.

Asta: As a sewist myself, I’m a big fan of your blog and book. Can you tell us about Colette Patterns and why you started it?

Sarai: At the time, I was working at Google as a User Experience Researcher, meaning that I spent a lot of time observing and thinking about people’s everyday needs and problems around technology. I’d become increasingly interested in starting my own creative business, and had been sewing for many years. It seemed to me that most of the patterns out there were not designed to meet the needs of people like me. They weren’t modern or interesting, the fit was really baggy, and they just didn’t feel special in the way I thought a sewing project should feel. I mean, you’re investing so much time in each thing you sew, I thought it should really feel worthy of the investment. I also noticed that many people were learning to sew through patterns, but the patterns weren’t really designed to teach anything. It was sort of sink or swim, and that’s a time consuming way to learn a skill.

Asta: How does your background in technology influence your work as a founder, a sewist, a writer, a pattern designer?

Sarai: It helps in a few ways. First, my background in User Experience taught me a lot about what I think is the most important skill in my business – compassion. Having the capacity to care and the curiosity to investigate other people’s needs goes a long way toward building a sustainable business. Second, I think it’s made me less afraid of taking on massive projects, for better or worse. Third, it’s given me some insight into how people use technology to connect to one another, and that’s been incredibly valuable.

Asta: When did you start sewing? What appeals to you most about it?

Sarai: I began sewing when I was 16. My grandmother taught me, though much of my skill has been self-taught.

Clothing and fashion are often trivialized, but they’re such an important part of how we communicate with the world, and how we even understand ourselves. I like that sewing gives you so much power over this aspect of your life, the ability to create clothing that fits you in every way instead of just buying what you’re offered.

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Photo courtesy of Sarai Mitnick

Asta: What are your thoughts about the state of the sewing world? How is it changing?

Sarai: Like many niche communities, it’s really found a home online! There is a huge world of sewing blogs, pattern companies, and online shops that did not exist when I started. It’s thriving!

Asta: There’s been a lot of talk lately about gender inequality and a lack of diversity in the tech world. Do you see similar issues playing out in the sewing world?

Sarai: Not exactly, though I do think gender norms come into play in both cases. It’s true that there aren’t a lot of men active in the sewing community, though that seems to be changing. I will say there are a surprising number of men at the helm of some large sewing or craft-based companies, though. I’d like to see a world where more men felt comfortable getting into sewing. Historically, things that are traditional “women’s work” are not considered very high status for men.

 

Asta: In your blog and book, you like to use the word “sewist” instead of “seamstress” or “sewer” (which, well, sounds like a sewer). Can you speak about this preference?

Sarai: I don’t particularly like “sewer” for the reason you point out. And “seamstress” is a lovely word, but a gendered one, so I prefer the more inclusive “sewist.”

Asta: Tell us about Seamwork, your new online sewing pattern magazine. What made you start it?

Sarai: I’ve long been interested in beginning a new kind of sewing publication. There are some wonderful print magazines on the market, but I felt there was room for a new voice and aesthetic in the mix. What I really wanted to do is to mix patterns and articles in a way that makes sense to people. We’ve done that somewhat with our blog, where we post tutorials and other supporting content that can go with our patterns. This is sort of taking it to the next level. The idea had been percolating for years, but I didn’t know what form that would take until about a year ago. Even then, it’s evolved so much since and I imagine it will continue to change.

Asta: Who is the target audience for Seamwork? What kind of writing or submissions are you looking for?

Sarai: Our target audience is made up of sewing enthusiasts with an eye for style and desire to really enjoy their sewing experience. That’s the main thing I want to convey with Seamwork, the absolute pleasure that making your wardrobe can bring.

Asta: Lastly, what’s your favorite sewing tool?

Sarai: I have so many! But I love my thread nippers, which I wear on a ribbon around my neck whenever I’m sewing. Putting them on is sort of ceremonial for me.

 

asta__MG_6364_ML_color_final_V2 (1)BIO: Asta So is Submittable’s blog editor and editorial director. She has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Montana and a BA in English lit from Stanford University. When not writing or sewing, she’s hugging dogs or cooking from her dad’s many Cantonese-style recipes.

 

 

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New Feature: New Document Viewer

November 19th, 2014 by

We’re using a new viewer to display documents in the Submission Details page, which will enable us to add some exciting features around interacting with your documents. Our viewer renders documents more accurately and consistently, and you no longer have to switch between Google Docs and Adobe.

Our team has also made recent upgrades to the Submission Details page to make document navigation clearer. These changes include: 1) the ability to quickly switch between multiple documents within a submission and 2) the ability to easily page through a document. To view your document as a PDF, click the 3) printer icon in the right-hand side of the screen.

 

Box Viewer screenshot

 

Opportunities

November 15th, 2014 by

deadlines-mid-nov

11/19/2014  Quiet Lightning – Quiet Lightning @ The Emerald Tablet

11/20/2014  Finishing Line Press – Horse Anthology Contest

11/20/2014  Press Street – Antenna: Open Call 2015

11/20/2014  St. Lawrence County Arts Council – Art Market | Nov 29 & Dec 13

11/21/2014  CFCC Portals Magazine – Art 2015, Fiction 2015, Poetry 2015

11/21/2014  Chimes – Fiction, Poetry

11/21/2014  Geminid Press, LLC – Conspiracy Hour, Space Opera , Take Me to Your Leader – Short Story

11/21/2014  Helen Day Art Center – 2015 Play Exhibition: Open Call

11/21/2014  NonBinary Review – Unbound Octavo: Story 1

11/21/2014  Poetry International – The C.P. Cavafy Poetry Prize

11/21/2014  QWF Mentorship Program – I wanna be a mentor!, Give me a mentor!

11/21/2014  smoking glue gun magazine – smoking glue gun magazine

11/21/2014  The Eckleburg Project – Art, Poetry, Prose

11/21/2014  The Gambler Mag – Feeling Lucky – November

11/21/2014  Tulsa Artists’ Coalition – 2015 Calendar Year Submissions

11/21/2014  Western Humanities Review – Mountain West Writers’ Prose/Poetry prize

11/21/2014  YSU Student Literary Arts Association – Fiction, Poetry, Creative Nonfiction

11/22/2014  Hudson Valley Writers’ Center –  Writing for Children and Young Adults

11/22/2014  Overland – Applications for editorship of the online fiction edition

11/22/2014  Temenos – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, Art, Mythos, Monsters, and Madness

11/24/2014  AFAC Ltd – EDP Course 2015

11/24/2014  Promethean – Spring 2015 Submissions

11/25/2014  Eastern Writers Guild – Fiction/Creative Nonfiction, Poetry

11/25/2014  FAR ENOUGH EAST – FICTION , POETRY , CREATIVE NON-FICTION

11/25/2014  UTS Anthology – 2015 UTS Writers’ Anthology

11/26/2014  Electric Theatre Workshop | Big Burns Supper – Contracting for Big Burns Supper

11/26/2014  Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery – Art Call – 4th Annual “Open” Online Art

11/27/2014  Twisted Vine Literary Journal – Creative Non-Fiction, Fiction, Poetry, Artwork, Video

11/27/2014  Writing East Midlands – Writing East Midlands Mentoring Scheme, School Anthology

11/28/2014  A Murder of Storytellers – Rocket Ride

11/28/2014  Brunswick Music Festival – SYDNEY RD STREET PARTY APPLICATION FOR A STALL

11/28/2014  Dappled Things – J.F. Powers Prize for Short Fiction

11/28/2014  Power Awesome – Fine

11/28/2014 ELJ Publications – Poetry (Chapbook), Poetry (Full-Length), Prose (Longer Works), Prose  etc

11/29/2014 Slideluck – Slideluck Bologna I

11/30/2014 33 Officina Creativa – Artist Residency Spring 2015

11/30/2014 AIPF – Nominations for Feature Poets 2016, Call for Workshops

11/30/2014 Argus student literary magazine – Argus 2014-2015 Submission (Content)

11/30/2014 Art Omi International Artists Residency – 2015 Art Omi Visual Artist Residency

11/30/2014 ArtsWestchester – Dance , Film/Video, Literature, Music, Theater, Visual Arts Nomination Forms

11/30/2014 Baltimore Review – Contest – Poems, Short Stories, Creative Nonfiction, Poetry , Fiction, Creative Nonfict

11/30/2014 Barely South Review – Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Art, Flash Fiction, Flash Nonfiction

11/30/2014 Barrelhouse – Poetry Full-length Collection

11/30/2014 Bear Star Press – Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize

11/30/2014 Ben Trovato – Theme 1: Nostalgia

11/30/2014 Black Heart Magazine – ART!

11/30/2014 Black Lawrence Press – The Big Moose Prize , Short Story Coll, Poetry Coll, Novel, Poetry Chapbook etc

11/30/2014 Brandt Street Press LLC – Dammit, I Love You

11/30/2014 Chicago Literati – Feast: Chicago Literati’s special food issue

11/30/2014 Creative Nonfiction Collective Society – carte blanche/CNFC Creative Nonfiction Contest

11/30/2014 deadCENTER Film Festival – Documentary Feat, Narrative Feat, Documentary Shrt, Narrative Shrt, Student etc

11/30/2014 Dragon Tree Books – 2014 Indie Genius Contest for Self-Published Writers

11/30/2014 Driftwood Press – Fiction, Poetry, Visual Arts, Literary Criticism & Interviews

11/30/2014 Duende – Nonfiction, Prose: Fiction, Prose: Hybrid Work, Translation, Visual Art & Collaborations

11/30/2014 Eastern Oregon Film Festival – EOFF2014 Film Submission: Regular

11/30/2014 Embodied Effigies – Creative Nonfiction Submissions ISSUE FIVE

11/30/2014 ExFic – Fiction, Poetry

11/30/2014 Fence – 2016 Ottoline Prize

11/30/2014 Fiction Attic Press – Short Memoir Contest #2 (single entry)

11/30/2014 Ghost Ocean Magazine – Be an Editor for Ghost Ocean Magazine/Tree Light Books!

11/30/2014 Global Women’s Leadership Network – WLW 2015

11/30/2014 Hammer Nutrition – 2015 Athlete Sponsorship Application

11/30/2014 Hermana Resist Press – Finding Gloria: En El Valle

11/30/2014 Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal – The Jane Lumley Prize

11/30/2014 Hudson Valley Writers’ Center – Trade Secrets: Writing for Children and Young Adults, Page Turning Fict

11/30/2014 Hugo House – Development Events Internship

11/30/2014 Interrobang – Poetry-1, Prose-1

11/30/2014 Jaggery – Fiction, Art, Essays, Poetry, Reviews

11/30/2014 Jovenes Adelante – Solicitude 2014

11/30/2014 LETTERS – Poetry, Fiction, Nonfiction, Visual Art

11/30/2014 Little Paper Planes – Apply for the LPP+ Residency in 2015 Due 11/30/14

11/30/2014 Marathon Literary Review – Nonfict, Fict & Flash Fict, Photos/Artwork/Multimedia, Poetry

11/30/2014 Motionpoems – “Arrivals and Departures at St. Paul’s Union Depot” Year 2

11/30/2014 Murphy Writing of Stockton College – 2015 Winter Poetry & Prose Getaway Jan-ai Scholarship

11/30/2014 NonBinary Review – NonBinary Review Issue #4: Bulfinch’s Mythology: The Age of Fable, Unbound Octavo

11/30/2014 Ovenbird Poetry – Poetry

11/30/2014 Portals Writing and Arts Journal (PNC) – Visual Art, Creative Nonfict, Poetry, Short Fict, Gen Essay

11/30/2014 Prism Review – Poetry Contest, Short Story Contest

11/30/2014 Psychopomp Magazine – Open Fiction Submission

11/30/2014 RiverLit – 2015 Writer Residency Application, 2015 Poet Residency App, 2015 Artist Residency App

11/30/2014 SHOCK TOTEM – Long Fiction, Short Fiction, Flash Fiction, Microfict, Poetry, Creative Nonfict, Artwork

11/30/2014 Slink Chunk Press – Visual Art , Poetry, Flash Fiction, Fiction

11/30/2014 Split Lip Magazine – CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Utter Foolery, The Best Global Literary Humor 2015

11/30/2014 The Burnside Review – Books

11/30/2014 The California Journal of Poetics – Poetry

11/30/2014 The Lingua Journal – Photography, Poetry, Prose, Illustration/Painting

11/30/2014 The Olivetree Review – Art – Fall ’14, Prose (Fiction/Non-Fiction) – Fall ’14, Poetry – Fall ’14

11/30/2014 The Pedestal Magazine – Hybrid/Multi-Genre Work, Mock- or Meta-Academic, Poetry

11/30/2014 Urban Farmhouse Press – Fiction Manuscript – Short Story Collection, Fiction Manuscript – Novel etc

11/30/2014 Vine Leaves Literary Journal – Poetry, Prose & Script, Art & Photography

11/30/2014 Wigleaf – Fiction

11/30/2014 Xanadu – Poetry

11/30/2014 Yuma Fine Arts Association – Southwestern Invitational Exhibit

12/01/2014 Angoor Press LLC – Phlox Share Online Christian Journal Submissions

12/01/2014 Apostrophe Books – 2014 Reading Period

12/01/2014 Aquarius Press/Willow Books – 2015 Willow Books Literature Awards Poetry, Prose

12/01/2014 Backyard – The Gentleman’s Companion: January 18th

12/01/2014 Beautiful Minds Challenge – 2014-15 Beautiful Minds Challenge

12/01/2014 Bellingham Review – General Fiction, General Poetry, General Nonfict, Photo

12/01/2014 Beloit Fiction Journal – Hamlin Garland Award for the Short Story, Fiction

12/01/2014 Bird’s Thumb – Poetry, Fiction, Essay

12/01/2014 Bomb Magazine – Submit to BOMB

12/01/2014 Book Prize Contests hosted by Prairie Schooner – Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets

12/01/2014 Cave Canem Foundation, Inc. – 2015 Cave Canem Retreat NEW APPLICANTS

12/01/2014 CLMP – Magazines

12/01/2014 Clockhouse – Creative Nonfiction, Dramatic Works, Fiction, Poetry

12/01/2014 Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art – WRITING CONTEST

12/01/2014 Contemporary Verse 2 – Poetry Lives Here – Youth supplement

12/01/2014 Denver Center for the Performing Arts – 2014 Regional High School Playwriting Comp

12/01/2014 Dewpoint – Poetry, Fict, Creative Nonfict & Critical Work, University of Alabama Undergrad

12/01/2014 Eclectica Magazine – Word Poem Challenge

12/01/2014 F&M Alumni Arts Review – Visual Art, Poetry, Nonfiction-Essay-Memoir, Fiction 15 EDGE

12/01/2014 Fiction Southeast – The Ernest Hemingway Flash Fiction Prize

12/01/2014 Fictionvale – Episode Seven: Open Genre Call

12/01/2014 Folio Lit Journal – Poetry Submissions Issue 2015 (Vol 30)

12/01/2014 Fourteen Hills – Fiction, Poetry, Flash Ficti, Creative Nonficti, Experimental/ Cross Genre

12/01/2014 Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters – U.P. Poet Laureate Nomination

12/01/2014 Great Plains Writers’ Conference – Great Plains Emerging Writer Prize

12/01/2014 Green Writers Press – Subscription on-line/print “GWP | Magazine”, Short Fict/Environmental Essays, Poetry

12/01/2014 Greyrock Review – Cover Art, Fiction , Poetry , Non-Fiction , Art

12/01/2014 Hurston Wright Foundation – 2015 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, Founding Members Award for College Writers

12/01/2014 International Print Center New York – New Prints Program: 2015/Winter

12/01/2014 iO: A Journal of New American Poetry – General Submissions

12/01/2014 Iron Horse Literary Review - IHLR Trifecta: Poetry,Fict , Nonfict

12/01/2014 Nat. Brut – Issue Five

12/01/2014 no tokens – fiction, non-fiction, poetry, art, other

12/01/2014 Pathos Literary Magazine – Fall 2014 Issue

12/01/2014 Permafrost Magazine – 1st Annual Book Prize in Fiction, Fiction, Non-fiction, Poetry

12/01/2014 Pilgrimage Magazine – Winter 2015 Issue (38.3)-Sleep

12/01/2014 Poets at Work – Poets@Work Book Prize

12/01/2014 Portland Review – Poetry, Fiction, Flash Fiction Feature, Nonfict, Flash Nonfict Feature, Artwork & Photo

12/01/2014 Purple Passion Press – Flash Fiction, Poetry

12/01/2014 Queens Univ of Charlotte MFA in Creative Writing – Stage and Screen, Poetry, Non-Fiction, Fiction

12/01/2014 Reed Magazine – Leslie Jacoby Honor for Art

12/01/2014 River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative – River Teeth Journal

12/01/2014 Sarabande Books – Flo Gault Student Poetry Prize

12/01/2014 Sierra Nevada Review – Cover Art

12/01/2014 Skin to Skin – POETRY, PROSE/ESSAYS/FICT/NON-FICT, ILLUSTRATIONS/ART/PHOTO

12/01/2014 Soundings Review – Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Children’s & Young Adult Literature

12/01/2014 Split Rock Review – POETRY, CR NON-FICT, SHRT FICT, GRAP NARR/VIS POEMS/COMICS etc

12/01/2014 Storyscape Journal – Prose, Poetry

12/01/2014 Talking Writing – Poetry Spotlight 2015: “Digital Poets and Nature”

12/01/2014 Tammy – poetry, fiction, nonfiction, other, expedited

12/01/2014 Target Gallery – In the Flesh 5

12/01/2014 The Conium Review – Flash Fiction

12/01/2014 The Iowa Review – Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry

12/01/2014 The Molotov Cocktail – Flash Future Contest

12/01/2014 The Normal School – FICTION,POETRY,  NONFICTION

12/01/2014 The Quotable – Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, Poetry

12/01/2014 The Southern California Review – Fiction, Flash Fict, Non-Fict, Poetry, Screenplay, Stageplay

12/01/2014 The Waywiser Press – Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize Submission

12/01/2014 Thin Air – NEW! WEB FEATURES, FICTION, NONFICTION, POETRY, VISUAL ART

12/01/2014 University of Arizona Poetry Center – Bilingual Corrido Contest for High School Students

12/01/2014 Utterly Engaged – PRINT MAGAZINE VOLUME 4

12/01/2014 Vicki Hudson Writing – Victoria A. Hudson Emerging Writer 2015

12/01/2014 Virginia Quarterly Review – Nonfiction Pitches

12/01/2014 Water Stone Review – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction

12/01/2014 Wesleyan University Press – BAX 2015 – Best American Experimental Writing

12/01/2014 WNMU Humanities Department – WNMU Writing Contest

12/01/2014 Yale ISM Congregations Project – Summer Seminar Application

12/01/2014 YesYes Books – Poetry Submission for Vinyl Poetry, Fiction Submission for Vinyl

12/02/2014 New Issues Poetry & Prose – New Issues Poetry Prize

12/02/2014 Office of the Vice Provost for Online Learning – 2014-2015 VPOL Faculty Seed Grants

12/02/2014 Rose Metal Press – NINTH ANNUAL SHORT SHORT CHAPBOOK CONTEST

12/02/2014 Seizure – Viva La Novella 3

12/03/2014 LAUNCH – The Incubator

To find more opportunities, try Submishmash, an index of every artistic outlet on Earth.

Guest Post: Stop Complaining About Celebrity Book Deals

November 12th, 2014 by

Whenever a celebrity book deal is announced, it’s generally greeted with disgusted outcries from aspiring writers of all walks of life. Recently, the target has been Tom Hanks and his forthcoming short story collection. Regardless of what the ever-growing community of online writers thinks about Hanks as an actor, it’s collectively pissed off about the book deal.

Celebrity Book

Illustration by Josh Quick

This is yet another case of “He only got that book deal because he’s famous.” File it under James Franco, BJ Novak, and many other actors-turned-fiction-writers. In most cases, the celebrity book is judged long before it’s released. Without reading a word, writers everywhere know that “Celebrity X sucks at writing.”

Well, guess what? The celebrity’s book is going to sell copies whether it sucks or not. Why wouldn’t the publishers offer the book deal?

The aspiring writers respond with the universal complaint: “Because it takes away a spot from a real talent!”

This argument carries with it two major implications:

1. So-and-so celebrity isn’t a real talent
2. The number of book deals is finite

For the most part, we should ignore this first implication. We don’t need to debate the merits of so-and-so celebrity, or any other writer for that matter. Chances are, the celebrity book won’t be a masterpiece. Then again, neither are the vast majority of published books. Is it fair that a celebrity gets a book deal while writers with incredible talent don’t even make it out of the slush pile? Maybe not, but it’s not any less fair than Gone Girl selling an absurd amount of copies while many books of equal or greater merit go wholly unnoticed.

So let’s take a look at the second implication. Did Tom Hanks’s book deal really take a spot away from someone else? Are there actually a finite number of slots available?

The answer is not as simple as you may think.

Yes, the number of books that can be published is finite. This is clearly true. After all, there are a finite number of publishers to release them, a finite number of editors to proofread them, a finite number of trees from which to produce the pages, and a finite number of many other finite things. Not every author can get a book deal. Period.

But is that finite number set in stone somewhere? If Tom Hanks got a book deal, does that really mean we are one spot closer to zero remaining book deals?

News flash: Tom Hanks did not steal your book deal. In fact, Tom Hanks may have just improved your chances.

Publishers have to make money. If they don’t, they can’t publish anything. Not every book makes money. Some books don’t recoup the printing and marketing costs, let alone the advances. While there is no exact data telling us how many books are total failures, we can assume it’s a pretty high number. Just take a look around a bookstore. How many of those books do you think are actively making money for the publisher? Former Random House CEO Peter Olson admitted back in 2007 that “many books are unprofitable.”

We know Tom Hanks’s book will sell. We don’t know that it will make back the money invested in his advance, but chances are that the publisher expects to see some type of return. A celebrity book is easy money. The name sells itself.

So how does a Tom Hanks book deal help your chances as a writer? Easy. It brings in money for the publisher. That gives the publisher more opportunity to publish other books. Books by people just like you.

Ultimately, Tom Hanks is good for the writing world, even if his book ends up not being any good. A Tom Hanks book gets the general population excited about reading. In this case, we’re talking about short stories, a market that is already a tough sell. If the general population gets excited about a short story collection and the book becomes profitable, then the publishing industry will have more money to invest in short story collections. So how exactly does the publication of a Tom Hanks book hurt you again?

Celebrity book deals aren’t even where publishers make the most money. Celebrity advances are too high to bring in the big bucks. That’s why publishers always have to be on the lookout for other authors, the ones they can sign for a three-book contract and reap the benefits when the first book becomes a blockbuster.

Yes, Tom Hanks has joined a growing legion of celebrity authors. Instead of getting pissed, do what you were doing before you heard the news: write like a motherfucker.

Nathaniel TowerBIO: Nathaniel Tower is the managing and founding editor of Bartleby Snopes Literary Magazine and Press. His short fiction has appeared in over 200 online and print publications. In 2014, Martian Lit released his first short story collection, Nagging Wives, Foolish Husbands. He is a former high school English teacher and the former world record holder for the fastest mile running backwards while juggling. He currently lives in Minneapolis with his wife and daughter. Visit him at nathanieltower.com.

 

If you have a counter opinion or would like to write anything for us, please send us your work.
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New Feature: ‘Allow Edit Requests’ Checkbox for Organizations

September 9th, 2014 by

Note from 9/18/14: We’ve updated this feature so that, by default, the ‘Allow Edit Requests’ checkbox is unchecked. Also, in the submitter’s submissions list, the ‘Edit’ link will only appear next to his/her submission if the organization allows edit requests. The content below is edited to reflect these changes.

 

This week, we added an ‘Allow Edit Requests’ checkbox to the Organization Profile page that allows organizations to turn on or off the ability to accept edit requests from submitters who want to open their submission for editing.  If you are a level 4 or 5 administrator and want to turn on or off the ability for submitters to send an edit request to you, follow these steps:

1. Click the Settings tab > Profile.
2. Scroll down to the Allow Edit Requests checkbox. If you’d like to enable submitters to send an edit request to you, check this box. Otherwise, leave it unchecked.

Allow Edit Requests checkbox - highlighted - large
3. Click Update Profile.

 

Note that, even if you uncheck the Allow Edit Requests checkbox, you’ll still be able to manually open submissions for editing by following these steps.

If you have any questions about this feature, please email support@submittable.com or call (855) 467-8264.

Guest Post: Pearls Before Swine

August 29th, 2014 by

Note: This post was originally published on July 27, 2014, at George Wells’ blog Icantbelieveitsablog.

 

Years ago, I applied to Rivoli, a four-star restaurant in Albany, California. Of course, I had delivered my résumé to several restaurants, but I was very interested in this job, as I had eaten there several times, and it was genuinely deserving of its reputation as one of the finest Mediterranean restaurants in the East Bay.

01PearlsB4swineRejected

It doesn’t mean you’re a total loser.

The chef thanked me for my interest, but told me that she had decided not to offer me the job at the time. Of course, I had to respond.

Dear Chef Wendy,

You’re an idiot. If you can’t see the value I would bring to your third-rate eatery, maybe you should go back to cooking school.

At any rate, I was hired at Bucci’s, so obviously they know quality when they see it.

Good luck with your little Italian chuck wagon.

Sincerely,

George Wells

You are now horrified that I would do such a thing, aren’t you? Why would I do that? Why would I insult this chef, throw it in her face that I got another job, risk any chance of working with her in the future—indeed, anywhere in the East Bay, given how people in the same industry tend to run in the same circles and tell these stories?

The answer is I didn’t. I wouldn’t. Would you? Have you?

I am Writer Liaison at Spark: A Creative Anthology, which means I’m usually the guy giving you the bad news if you submitted to us. The above letter is actually a rewording of several responses to our rejection letters to submitters. Now, we’re not perfect, but we do offer personal feedback and do our best to make sure that it’s constructive and encouraging. I’m sure that we’re closer to that now than when Spark started. However, just as opinions on a story or poem are subjective, so are writers’ reactions to those opinions.

02PearlsB4swinePearls

We’re not swine, and those pearls need a good polishing.

But here’s the thing: you are better off keeping those opinions to yourself. Nothing good will come of telling the editorial staff of any publication that you disagree with their assessment of your writing. Those notes are offered to help you make your writing better, to improve that piece and hopefully future efforts, or at least find another market more suited to your style and vision in your writing. It is not an invitation to open a dialog.

That last statement sounds a bit harsh, I know, but please keep in mind that we are volunteers. We don’t get paid for this, it takes time away from other activities, such as family obligations, hobbies, cleaning the house, scratching our bellies while we eat a jumbo bag of chips during a Twilight Zone marathon, whatever.

Or even worse, we can’t watch the Twilight Zone marathon due to circumstances beyond our control.

Or even worse, we can’t watch the Twilight Zone marathon due to circumstances beyond our control.

So what do you say to that rejection? If you want, a thank you would be just fine. Most people don’t respond at all, but some reply with, “Thank you for the feedback. While I was hoping for an acceptance, this is the next best thing.” And we’re always happy to hear that. We probably won’t respond, but it does bring a smile to our faces.

Because many of the writers who have had work accepted for publication in Spark have also had work rejected by Spark, yours truly included. But nobody has been accepted after responding to us with anger and insults.

Food for thought.*

*Speaking of food, if you find yourself in the East Bay Area, Rivoli in Albany and Bucci’s in Emeryville really are amazing restaurants. You should check them out.

 

George Wells 1 BIO: George Wells is an American expatriate living in Guadalajara, Mexico, where he teaches English as a Foreign Language and writes. His fiction has appeared in the Shadow Road Quarterly and in Spark: A Creative Anthology, where he is currently a regular contributor and Writer Liaison.

 

 

If you have a counter opinion or would like to write anything for us, please send us your work.
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Deadlines Staring You in the Face

August 13th, 2014 by

Submittable_August_2014_deadlines_1

 

09/09/2014  Buffalo Almanack – Fiction

09/09/2014  HRDCVR – #HRDCVR INTERNSHIP APPLICATION [deadline: monday, sept. 8th]

09/09/2014  PRX – PRX’s Second Ear

09/10/2014  Creative Writing @ Fordham – Creative Writing Program Assistant Job Application

09/10/2014  Newswomen’s Club of New York – Spot News,  In-Depth Reporting, Feature,  Digital Video etc

09/10/2014  Norman Arts Council – Norman Open Studios – September 26th – 28th

09/10/2014  Porkbelly Press – Love Me, Love My Belly – Creative Nonfiction,  Poetry, Fiction

09/10/2014  St. Lawrence County Arts Council – Plein Air Festival registration, Remington Arts Festival

09/10/2014  The Players Theatre – Players Theatre Short Play & Musical Festival – Boo!

09/11/2014  Litro Magazine – Horror: October 2014 (Print Magazine)

09/11/2014  Rocky Mountain School of Photography – Professional Studies Portfolio Application 2014

09/12/2014  Center For Book Arts – 2014 NY Artist Book Fair

09/12/2014  DAISY Consortium – Apply now: The DAISY Consortium is seeking a CEO

09/12/2014  Diverse Voices Quarterly – Personal Essays/Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Poetry

09/12/2014  Helen Literary Magazine – Short Story Comp, Short Story, Flash Fict, Creative Nonfict etc

09/12/2014  Houston Poetry Fest – Younger Poet Submissions

09/12/2014  Miscellany: Magazine of the Arts – Early Bird Submissions Fall 2014

09/12/2014  Northwest Film Center – 41st NW Filmmakers’ Festival, Fresh Film NW Youth Film Festival

09/12/2014  Painted Bride Quarterly – Issue 91: Humor/Prose,Humor/ Fiction, Humor/ Poetry

09/12/2014  Prairie Fire – October 2014 Essay Submissions

09/12/2014  Skift – Best Branded FB Page, Instagram Account, Twitter Account, Best Social Media etc

09/12/2014  The Circus Book – Poetry, Fiction, Nonfiction

09/12/2014  Vine Leaves Literary Journal – Art/Photography for the cover of 2014 anthology.

09/13/2014  Desi Writers’ Lounge/Papercuts – DWL Poetry Workshop (Lahore) – Application

09/13/2014  Hugo House – Youth Leadership Board, Young Writers’ Mentorship Project, Internships

09/14/2014  Concrete Literary Magazine – Online: Poetry (October Issue)

09/14/2014  Hawai`i Review – MULIWAI: Creative Nonfiction, Poetry, Fiction,Translation,Visual Art

09/14/2014  The Subterranean Quarterly – Art., Short Fiction, Flash Fiction, Poetry

09/15/2014  10,000 Tons of Black Ink – Creative Non-fiction, Fiction

09/15/2014  3Elements Review – Art, Photography  – Extended deadline (Doppelganger, Bludgeon, Dirge)

09/15/2014  Bartleby Snopes – 6th Annual Dialogue Contest

09/15/2014  Blast Furnace – General Submissions

09/15/2014  Boston Comedy Festival – Boston Comedy Festival Submissions 2014

09/15/2014  Cobalt – Gabriela Mistral Poetry , Frank McCourt Creative Nonfict, Zora Neale Hurston Fiction

09/15/2014  Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art – Poetry, Nonfiction, Fiction

09/15/2014  CONSEQUENCE magazine – The 2014 Consequence Prize in Fiction

09/15/2014  Creative Currents – Festival del Nazareno Photography & Artist Retreat

09/15/2014  Dance Films Association – Dance on Camera 2015

09/15/2014  Eclectica Magazine – Word Poem Challenge

09/15/2014  Fictionvale – Episode Six: Pick Your Punk!

09/15/2014  Finishing Line Press – Open Chapbook Competition, Finishing Line Editions: Fiction & Nonfict

09/15/2014  Fractured Atlas – Arts Entrepreneurship Awards Trophy Design Application

09/15/2014  freeze frame fiction – flash fiction—q2

09/15/2014  IN FLUX – IN FLUX Cycle 5 Request for Qualifications

09/15/2014  International Studio Program, ACC Galerie Weimar – 21st International Studio Program

09/15/2014  Jentel Artist Residency Program – WRITER, VISUAL ART -WINTER/SPRING RESIDENCY

09/15/2014  Kelsey Street Press – Kelsey Street Press Announces 2015 Firsts!

09/15/2014  Kill Screen – Editorial Interns Fall 2014 (Applications due 9/15)

09/15/2014  L A M P – L A M P

09/15/2014  Lawndale Art Center – Fall 2014 Call for Exhibition Proposals

09/15/2014  Les Figues Press – Les Figues Press NOS Book Contest 2014

09/15/2014  Newfound – Gloria E. Anzaldúa Poetry Prize

09/15/2014  PANK – Special Issue Submission: Queer Issue

09/15/2014  Princemere Poetry Journal – 2014 Princemere Poetry Prize

09/15/2014  Quiet Lightning – Quiet Lightning’s social media book contest

09/15/2014  Red Mountain Press – Red Mountain Press Poetry Prize 2014

09/15/2014  Red Weather – Red Weather 2015 – 34.1

09/15/2014  Salt Hill Journal – Philip Booth Poetry Prize

09/15/2014  Science Fiction + Fantasy Short Film Festival – Film Submission – Late Deadline

09/15/2014  Scottsdale Public Art – Request for Proposals – Summer 2015 Civic Center Library Installation

09/15/2014  Springfield Writers’ Guild – PROSE, Non-Fiction, PROSE, Fiction, Humorous, POETRY, etc

09/15/2014  Texas Review Press – 2014 George Garrett Fiction Prize

09/15/2014  Texture Press – Fiction for SHALE

09/15/2014  Whitefish Review – Fiction: Rick Bass/ Montana Prize for Fiction ($1000 award)

09/15/2014  Willamette Writers – Six Word Halloween Story Contest

09/15/2014  Word Riot Inc. – Travel Grant Applications – Q3 2014

09/16/2014  MAGNET – ProtoTech 2014 Pitch Competition Submission

09/16/2014  Table Talk – Table Talk Issue II: Dyno

09/16/2014  The Greensboro Review – Fiction, Poetry – Robert Watson Literary Awards

09/16/2014  Writers Rising Up – Carol Bly Short Story Contest $150.00 Prize

09/17/2014  Hudson Valley Writers’ Center – Exploring New Poems with Amy Holman (Session 2)

09/17/2014  Northwest Film Center – 41st NW Filmmakers’ Festival, Fresh Film NW Youth Film Festival

09/17/2014  Yangtze Rep – 2016 Manhattan Community Arts Fund

09/18/2014  AKA Literary LLC – Mid Grade Madness 2014 with Sharon Mayhew – closed

09/18/2014  Arizona Commission on the Arts – Artist Research and Development Grant, Arizona Art Tank

09/18/2014  Southern Exposure – Alternative Exposure Round 8 (2014)

09/19/2014  ArtsWestchester – Dance, Music, Theater, Visual Arts Nominations

09/19/2014  Electric Theatre Workshop | Big Burns Supper – Primary Schools – Lanterns for Burns Night

09/19/2014  Hennepin Theatre Trust – Brilliance! Made Here

09/19/2014  Iron Horse Literary Review – Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry: The Bedroom Issue

09/19/2014  Souvenir Lit Journal – Poetry

09/19/2014  Whistler Film Festival Society – CAN Narrative Feature, International Narrative Feature etc

09/20/2014  JMWW – Poetry

09/20/2014  Mad Scientist Journal – Fictional Classified Ad for Anthology

09/21/2014  About Place Journal – Voices of the Human Spirit

09/21/2014  HousingWire – HW 2014 Women of Influence in the Housing Economy

09/21/2014  The Gambler Mag – Feeling Lucky?

09/21/2014  Woodstock Artists Association & Museum – The Under 40 Show

09/22/2014  Creative Nonfiction – Waiting, Waiting: Reading Fee + Subscription (U.S. addresses only)

09/22/2014  Hospitalfield Arts – Hospitalfield Interdisciplinary Programme, 17 – 30 November 2014

09/22/2014  Pen 2 Paper – Fiction 2014, Non-Fiction 2014, Poetry 2014

09/22/2014  The Garden of Unearthly Delights – Artist – Expression of Interest

09/22/2014  The Riding Light Review – Halloween Horror Issue

09/23/2014  Nashville Film Festival – Action/Adventure – Feature (2015), Drama – Feature (2015)

09/23/2014  Number: Inc – No: 80 Art As Community Builder – Cover Artwork

09/23/2014  The Lascaux Review – Enter Poetry in the Lascaux Prize Competition

Customize the Look and Feel of Your Submittable Site

August 5th, 2014 by

We encourage you to personalize the look and feel of your Submittable site by uploading a header image containing your organization’s name and/or logo and by customizing your site’s colors, font, and button text.

Click on Settings in the main navigation bar and select Look & Feel


In the Header Image section, click Select file and navigate to the file you’d like to upload. 



Our maximum recommended file size is 870 px wide by 170 px high, and files are automatically resized if needed. Accepted file types are PNG, GIF, and JPG.

After selecting your file, the name of the file will display to the right of the Change button. Click Upload image.



In the Page Styles section, choose your preferred colors, font type, and button text. All colors must be entered using hexadecimal values, or you can click on the blank box next to each style category and use our popup color picker. As you make your selections, the Quick Preview box on the right will show a sneak peek of what your Submittable pages will look like.



Click Save Styles. To clear and reset your selections, click Cancel and reset.

Questions? Contact our friendly support team at 855-467-8264 ext 2 or email Support@Submittable.com

Guest Post: The Space Between Poems

August 1st, 2014 by

Eons ago, in a graduate workshop at the University of Miami, the late poet Maxine Kumin was explaining a crown of sonnets to us. At the time, the form – seven stanzas of fourteen lines each, linked to each other by repeating lines – sounded impossibly difficult, but nonetheless intriguing, at least to those of us who liked to play with prosody.

What she said next was decidedly disturbing, however. “A friend of mine,” she began, “wrote a crown of sonnets that was so good, he believed he’d never write another poem. He didn’t think he’d have anything left to write about.”

What? Never write more poems? What kind of fatalistic nonsense was that? Our egos were young and healthy, and it seemed at the time we’d never run out of either desire or subjects when it came to crafting poems.

Today, I understand far better what Kumin was trying to tell us. She was referring to the valley that’s on the other side of that exhilarating peak. There’s no getting around it. If you’ve climbed as high as possible, you have no choice but to descend. And the descent will make you anything but delirious with imagery and language, as you were on the way up.

Submittable_July_2014_breaks

I call this gnawing absence “the space between poems.” It happens when you’ve expended a huge amount of energy on work you feel is significant in some way. It’s an emptiness that can occur after a single poem or story or essay. Or after a hundred of them. It’s an individual space, and each writer has a unique level of work tolerance before reaching it.

But have no doubt: The space between poems is real, and sooner or later it affects everybody. You can’t avoid it with skill or expertise or even knowing that it’s lying in wait. Poet laureates and college freshmen alike have lived an un-writing life in this purgatorial place.

You might be tempted to call this phenomenon “writer’s block.” Don’t.

While the space can turn into a block if you treat it the wrong way, there’s a fundamental difference between them. Writer’s block, you run away from. You do everything you can in your power to avoid sitting down at the desk, where you’ll fail to pen a word. You drink, you smoke, you go to the gym, you quit the gym. You live in denial and hope for amnesty. You feel guilt and the fuzz of failure start to coat your mind like plaque on teeth.

The space between poems, on the other hand, you run towards, compulsively writing lines and stanzas even when you’re supposed to be doing something else, headlong and ecstatic until your subconscious mind has deleted the impulses that started you on the path. The space between poems, you reach with almost a sense of relief.

You can find plenty of cures and recommendations for writer’s block – go for a walk, do a load of laundry. Psychologists say writer’s block is largely about fear and anxiety, and anything you can do to take the pressure off yourself or re-direct your mind is positive. It’s even better if whatever you do produces results, like walking the dogs. Either way, you may end up with crap. But at least it’s something accountable.

If writer’s block is about fear and anxiety, the space between poems is about rest. Your mind is telling you what you need: Get out in the world, live a little. Find some inspiration.

Like writer’s block, the space between poems can be frustrating. You want to write, or maybe you have to write (for a living), but you can’t. The space, however, is necessary. The space tells you that you’ve tapped the well and drained it dry, and before you can embark on the next project, you must let some storms fill it up again.

The concept of re-investing in your own creative energy is not a new one. I first learned about it as a student at Tufts, in poetry workshops commanded by the late Deborah Digges. “Take time to refill the well,” she’d say before a weekend, or holiday season, or spring break.

Restocking the well isn’t as easy as simply having a good meal or taking a nap. There’s no fish farm of creativity where we can buy some freshly bred ideas for release, growth and recapture. Instead, it’s a drop-by-drop process that can be as slow as writing itself. Nothing short of intentional life experience moves it along.

Is it cheating to, say, go bungee jumping not because you’re an adrenaline junkie but because it might jump-start a piece of writing? I don’t think so. It’s what travel writers do: check out a place and its activities – fishing for piranha in the Amazon, for example – then pen an experiential article about it.

I followed this advice when I was traveling solo as a wine lecturer on a cruise through the Panama Canal. I’d just finished a big project, writing a cookbook for a pair of New York City chefs, on the cruise itself. My lectures weren’t scheduled until the last days at sea. I was bored, and I wanted to write poetry. But I was also burnt out.

So I signed myself up to kayak on a river when we docked in Dominican Republic. I was the only single person on the shore excursion. I didn’t speak to anyone and no one spoke to me. At the end of it, my hands were blistered and my skin had been made into Braille from mosquitos. It wasn’t, to be honest, that much fun.

It was enough. The next day came a solitary lunch of conch fritters and grilled grouper in a restaurant on the island of Grenada. And then, also, came the poems.

 

1-Jen Karetnick headshot-version 3 BIO: Jen Karetnick is a freelance food-travel writer and the Creative Writing Director at Miami Arts Charter School. Her full-length debut, Brie Season, is forthcoming from White Violet Press, and her cookbook, Mango, is currently available for pre-order at University Press of Florida. Jen’s fourth chapbook of poetry, Prayer of Confession, is available from Finishing Line Press.

 

If you have a counter opinion or would like to write anything for us, please send us your work.
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New Feature: Reference Letter Handling

July 25th, 2014 by

Let’s say your organization has an application form and require that the applicant ask three people to send reference letters for the applicant. Organizations on Premier, Premier Plus, and Enterprise plans can add special Reference Letter fields to the application form. During the application process, the applicant will enter the email address of a reference letter writer into each Reference Letter form field. When the applicant submits the application, Submittable automatically sends a Reference Letter Request email to each reference letter writer. The email contains a link to a simple reference letter submission form where the reference letter writer will enter his or her name and submit a file containing his or her reference letter.

 

How to Add Reference Letter Fields to a Submission Form


1.  Create or Edit a submission form
2.  Select the Form Designer tab

3.  In the Tool Box, click and drag the Reference Letter form element onto the submission form.



4.  In the Reference Letter form field, optionally edit the default Label and Description (top two green arrows). Choose if the applicant is Required to enter an email address of a reference, and choose whether you want the reference letter to be Blind (i.e. hidden from reviewers). 

5.  Add additional Reference Letter fields if desired.
6.  Click the Save Category button at the bottom of the page.


How to View Reference Letters


1.  From your Submissions page, open a submission to view its details.
2.  Click the Summary tab on the left.
3.  The screenshot below shows a section of the Summary tab, including one reference letter (green arrow). Click the Download link to view a received reference letter. The requirement to Download a reference letter for viewing is short term. Reference letter content will be viewable in Submittable shortly.

4.  If a reference letter has not yet been received, you will have the option to Resend a reference letter request to the reference letter writer. The applicant can also Resend the request from his or her own interface.

If you have any questions about the Reference Letter feature please email support@submittable.com or call (855) 467-8264 ext 2.