Friday Feature: Interview with Clara Ray Rusinek Klein

Each week, the editors of Jenny Magazine sit down with either fellow literary magazine editors or past Jenny contributors for short interviews. This week’s interview is with Clara Ray Rusinek Klein, Founder and Editor in Chief of A Quiet Courage Journal.

What style of work do you prefer, if any?

There isn’t any one particular or specific style that’s preferred. I just like whatever I like, the same as everybody else. Everybody has their own things they like and dislike and creative writing is highly, highly subjective. Pretty much 100% completely and totally subjective. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, and vice versa.

What other literary magazines do you admire?

There aren’t any specific magazines in particular; we’re always looking at a lot of websites and reading a lot of different sources.

What can a writer do to increase chances of being accepted?

Follow the submission guidelines.

Be courteous and be professional.

Only send writing that’s 100 words or less. We don’t publish anything that’s over 100 words, so it’s a total waste of time sending in anything that’s over 100 words and expecting it to be published, period. You’d be surprised how many people have ignored the very clearly stated word count limit. It’s arrogant to expect that we’re going to publish your writing regardless of the fact that you’ve ignored the guidelines and the very clearly stated word count limit.

Addressing your submissions appropriately is a plus. While it won’t increase your chances of being published, it does make a much better first impression than saying “Dear sir” or “Dear sirs” or even saying nothing at all and just dashing off a random submission just for the heck of it. That’s really irritating and unprofessional and shows you don’t take writing and submitting seriously. Addressing your submissions inappropriately (or not at all) already gives a bad first impression immediately as soon as I open the email, and a bad first impression’s going to make it highly unlikely that your submission will be published at all.

Also, don’t capitalize the first letter of every line of your piece or pieces when it doesn’t need to be capitalized, and don’t use the “&” symbol in your pieces instead of the word “and.” Use the actual word “and,” write it out, don’t use the “&” symbol, it’s just annoying.

Don’t have horrific and unreadable formatting.

Rhyming poetry is really highly unlikely to be accepted.

Don’t send unreadable, unpreviewable, and/or unopenable attachments. It’s annoying and irritating to have to ask submitters to resubmit their attachments. Also, remember to actually attach your attachments. Don’t make me have to ask you to resend because you forgot to actually attach your writing to your submissions email.

Don’t send submissions without titles or submissions called “Untitled.” We can’t publish pieces without titles and it’s irritating to have to ask you to resend your pieces with titles included.

Don’t send another or multiple more submissions immediately after your first was declined. Wait a minimum of one month before submitting again.

Don’t send highly religious and/or highly sentimental pieces, it’s just not what we publish.

Poetry and other writing that doesn’t follow the rules of punctuation and capitalization is unlikely to be accepted. Only send poetry and other writing that’s punctuated and capitalized correctly in the exact right places where it should be.

Give a good first impression. Show that you actually care about the journal that you’re submitting to and you’re not just dashing off another submission without even bothering to at least take the time to even look around the journal at all.

Don’t make your attached Word documents uneditable and don’t put a copyright notice with each of your pieces. We need to edit your pieces and we’re not out to steal your writing. Professional editors aren’t out to steal your writing.

Send well edited, professionally formatted submissions. If I have to do a lot of editing before I can even think about publishing a piece, it won’t be published. Don’t make me do more work.

Don’t send offensive, inappropriate pieces, they’ll never be published.

Flattery won’t increase your chances of being published.

And don’t make the editor feel like they’re just being used for just another publication credit. It shows the submitter couldn’t care less and has no real interest in the place they’re submitting to.

What do you feel makes your journal distinctive?

We only publish pieces that are 100 words or less, and there aren’t too many other places that are doing that.

What types of submissions are on your wish list?

We’ve been getting only a ton of poetry lately, we’d like more microfiction stories. We’d like more 100 word stories and also more microfiction that’s less than 100 words. Just send us more microfiction in general. Send us your absolute best, most excellent writing that’s 100 words or less.

What made you want to be an editor?

It’s hard to answer — it’s hard to say any one specific or particular thing. It was a lot of different things I guess.

What kind of things do you write?

Microfiction, micropoetry, fiction, poetry, short stories once in a while sometimes.

I really like microfiction, especially 100 word stories, and also stories and poetry that are less than 100 words, so that’s mainly what I’ve been writing lately.

(By the way, just in case anyone’s interested, a full list of current publications can be found here.)

Where did you get the name of your magazine?

I like the idea of quiet courage, of having a quiet courage.

What inspired your aesthetic?

I don’t have a specific answer, I don’t know that A Quiet Courage even has any particular specific aesthetic. Everybody’s going to see the journal in their own way anyway, everybody’s going to see everything differently.

What do you hope to accomplish with your magazine?

I don’t have a specific answer right now; I’m not sure how to answer. I just want to focus on the writing — the writing’s what’s important.


Are you a past Jenny contributor or an editor at a literary magazine and interested in an interview? Send us an email.

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