Welcome to Remixt Volume 2. This magazine was conceived as an experiment in publishing and editing. In Volume 1, 9 editors read 172 unique author submissions and chose three poems each for their individual issues. We were interested to see what overlap there was and how it presented. In that first volume two individual poems were chosen twice, but everything else was unique. The first volume came together very quickly, everything from submissions call to publication happening in just about one month. This time, things worked out a bit differently.
For Volume 2, we started with 6 editors, but one had to drop out early on (but not so early that we hadn’t already announced that we would have 6 editors and 6 issues in Volume 2). The editors for Volume 2 also expressed a preference for prose over poetry, so we called for flash pieces up to 500 words. All of our stats are likely incomplete and contain some errors, however we find the exercise of trying to assemble them interesting. In the end we got 50 unique author submissions, of which:
31 were from women
3 were from non-binary or trans* authors
16 were from men
10 submissions were from authors who self-identified as people of color
5 submissions were from authors who self-identified as LGBTQIA
9 submissions came from out side of the United States
0 authors in this set self identified in the cover letter as disabled
5 of the 50 unique author submissions did not meet our guidelines (3 from men, 2 from women). So in the end our editors chose not to consider those and chose from 45 unique authors.
As with last time, the editors for Volume 2 did not know the identities of the submitting authors when they read the submissions. They only learned author identities for the pieces they accepted after acceptances were sent (they never learned the identities of authors whose pieces they didn’t accept). Unlike last time, this round, I did give them details of author identities easily deduced from cover letters (for example if the author self identified as a person of color, or as an immigrant, non-binary, etc.). In the end we could not tell how much having these details affected the editors’ choices, though certainly in at least one case, the personal experience of the author did make some editors feel more strongly inclined to want a piece than they thought they would be if they believed the author did not have that experience.
We accepted 20 pieces from 16 authors (to fill a total of 22 slots) for Volume 2, of which, as far as we could tell:
13 of the authors were in the US
2 of the authors were not in the US
12 of the authors were women
4 of the authors were men
1 of the authors identified as trans* in the cover letter
2 of the authors identified as people of color in the cover letter
When we chose poetry for Volume 1, none of the editors had any large revision notes. There were a few small line edits, but by and large, poetry tends to come in in a very deliberately polished state, so it’s possible to select multiple poems from a large batch of submissions without feeling the need to revise them much. Prose is a little different. In Volume 2, many of the editors found they wanted stories, but only with significant changes. This meant the editors needed to get in touch with authors and work with them on revisions—a process that can take a significant investment of time on both sides. This also meant something really fascinating happened: some of the editors chose the same piece, but wanted different revisions to it!
Volume 2 had one very popular story. “Tucked in the Folds of Our Eyes” by Allison Thai was chosen by three separate editors, all of whom had different end visions for the piece. This left me, as the publisher, in the position of asking the author if she wanted to let us run any version of her story, and if yes, how many different versions. She had a preferred text, but in the end she also agreed to work with each of our editors to create three different versions of her piece. This whole process was an emotional roller coaster for everyone involved. The editors loved the piece and really hoped the author would say yes. The author was personally attached to the piece and wished to protect key elements of it, which she felt were central to her identity and lived experience. I was hyperaware of the need to respect the author’s intent and experience. All of us were on tenterhooks as we navigated this process, but in the end, it was all worth it. I think everyone involved felt really excited about the unique opportunity to participate in such an experimental publishing process. During this process, at one point we believed the author would not want to be published in at least some of the editors’ chosen versions, so those editors chose a different piece. When Allison Thai agreed to have all the versions published, we decided to go ahead and take all the pieces, and offered the chance for each editor to choose 4 pieces instead of 3. Some editors wanted to do this, while others wanted to stick with three pieces. One editor chose to accept a second piece by an author they’d already chosen, making that issue (Issue 3, edited by Myrea Schmidt) composed of 50% single author material.
Four authors were chosen twice, but in each case, the editors chose different pieces, so while there was significant author overlap, there was no other single piece overlap in Volume 2.
Overall, this experiment continues to be interesting, and to show that editors, even those with significant taste overlap, most often seem to choose different content, and to curate it differently. This is, of course, a very small sample size, but an interesting outcome regardless.
I’m not sure what the next step for Remixt will be. It’s an experiment that’s been through two iterations, and I think it’s possible I’ll put it through at least one more, but I also expect the theoretical third experimental iteration to be substantially different from the first two. I hope you find Volume 2 interesting in the individual details of pieces as well as in the larger context of the experiment. Every piece was chosen because an editor felt it was something that resonated strongly with them. Hopefully you’ll find that some of these pieces resonate strongly with you, too.
Publisher, Remixt Magazine