Interview With SmokeLong Quarterly

Cover of SmokeLong Quarterly

Authors: Nancy Stebbins and Tara Laskowski

What makes SmokeLong Quarterly a unique part of the publishing community?

We are celebrating our 10th anniversary next year, which is huge for an online publication. I think because of that the publication has a good solid reputation for publishing consistently good flash fiction, and therefore we keep getting amazingly good submissions.

I also like to think that we stand out in highlighting artists as well, for a piece of art accompanies each story we publish. We also do author interviews in the quarterly publication and have guest editors read occasionally for us.

What sort of qualities do you look for in a manuscript or piece of work that you are considering for publication?

In our guidelines we probably say this best:

The SLQ aesthetic remains an ever-changing, ever-elusive set of principles, but it most likely has to do with these kinds of things:

* language that surprises
* narratives that strive toward something other than a final punch line or twist
* pieces that add up to something, oftentimes (but not necessarily always) meaning or emotional resonance
* honest work that feels as if it has far more purpose than a writer wanting to write a story

When we have guest editors reading for us, we also post their bio and some information about the kinds of stories that appeal to them.

What is the readership like for SmokeLong Quarterly? What do you imagine your typical reader is like?

Hm…interesting question. I think we have a pretty steady following of readers, and I hope that will continue to grow. I think we attract mostly writers of flash fiction and possibly experimental fiction. I’ve heard from many people who teach our stories in their high school and college classes, which is super cool. I love the idea that our writers are providing inspiration for students. I would hope we wouldn’t have a “typical” reader, but that many different kinds of folks would find something in our issues that appeals to them. One of the reasons why we ask guest editors to take over the reading of our submissions occasionally is so that we are diversifying our publication. We don’t want to ever fall into a rut where we’re publishing the same kind of story over and over again.

What is the next exciting thing happening at SmokeLong Quarterly?

Great question! In honor of our 10th anniversary, we are putting together a print anthology of the best of SmokeLong Quarterly. The anthology will be released by Matter Press ( early next year and we will have copies for sale at AWP in Boston. We are really excited to showcase all the amazing fiction we’ve published over the last 10 years.