Fear & Expectations
Sucker Volume 2
a work in progress
A High Bar
When I started Sucker a little over a year ago, I had zero expectations and a glowing vision of what I wanted to do: Publish the best in edgy, emerging YA literary fiction and provide all submitters with feedback that would not crush their hearts. Creating a supportive environment, even among those we had to reject, was tantamount to the desire to publish stellar YA fiction.
As submissions rolled in for the first volume, I felt, dare I say, honored and privileged; these writers were handing me their work and in that act, trusting me to make a decision about it. Handing me their vulnerable, pulsing hearts and hoping I would keep them pumping but knowing that I may not.
From the very first submission, I thought about the writer on the other side of the submission pile. I was hyper-aware of them and imagined that he or she may have been sitting in front of his or her computer, just having hit send, heart beating with excitement, that this publication, this one might be IT. Might be the moment that someone they don’t know will read their work and say, for once, YES!
Even before I read word one from that first submission, I had, in the back of my mind that, that no matter what—rejection, acceptance, or mentorship—I wanted writers to feel acknowledged and supported and most of all, hopeful so that they will keep writing. I didn’t want the blood of another writer on my hands, didn’t want to be someone’s reason for throwing in the towel. I know how words can assault a writer, no matter who is the speaker of those words.
As time went on, and I read more and more submissions, uncovering the gems that came to be what made up the first volume of Sucker, I began to grow confident in my vision. Boosted by the positive response of both those who we rejected and accepted, I thought, I can do this. Soon my vision began to shine super bright and even more clear to me: Edgy, provocative, literary YA fiction that is not only the most engaging content, but edited so finely that each word, phrase, sentence, and punctuation mark is a reflection of careful, careful thought. I wanted the literary life of Sucker to be in all ways The Best. We wouldn’t publish monthly but yearly, so I could really focus on making our work truly awesome and shiny. Our first issue was filled with stories that, for the most part, had to be revised and in some cases, multiple times. I wanted my writers to reach the bar I set, and they all did. The level of trust, respect, and work was super, super high. All aspects of the magazine from process to product were better than I could have ever envisioned.
With expectations based on what I felt was a hit-the-ball-out-of-the-park first volume, I headed into reading submissions for the second volume of Sucker with a bar high enough that even a trapeze artist would cringe. Extending this somewhat corny metaphor, I had a lingering question: Would I be able to swing it? Or maybe swing from it without falling?
Part II Before I Could Swing From Very High Bars…click here.