Goodbye to Glimmer Train

Not another one!

I recently found out that the short story publication I always wanted to get into is no more.  It’s sad but true: some of the best literary journals are gone.  The end of Glimmer Train is a loss especially close to my heart, which says a lot, since they rejected my work a whole bunch of times.

I started out writing literary short fiction (under another name).  Like a lot of foolish and optimistic young writers I shopped around for a journal I “felt comfortable with.”  That was Glimmer Train, and over the years I just kept trying, both by working on my craft and periodically submitting a story.  There was something about them I just craved to be a part of, like a really good book whose world you just wanted to dive into.

Submitting your work is scary and frustrating, and it’s also true that you don’t get a professional reply every time (if you get any at all!).  It’s a competitive world, and it’s not the writers’ fault.  But read a lot of the advice out there and you’d think every burden is on them.  (Either that or you’re just moments away from publication, if only you take this advice.)  It’s a business, and the truth is that sometimes you just don’t get the job.

It hurt less with Glimmer Train, though.  In fact, it was almost nice.  They made a kinder, gentler world for everyone who submitted.  Replies were always courteous and encouraging.  Submission deadlines were never hard.  Their newsletters contained free advice from writers who’d made it.  And they always, always replied.

What also made Glimmer Train so special is that they paid authors they published (I mean really paid).  It was a set payment for publication ($700, when I was submitting), not pennies per word or in copies.  Plenty of first-time authors made it onto their pages, too.  They weren’t just a respected journal; they respected all writers.  Heck, they even encouraged them.

Glimmer Train’s last issues are out after 29 years of publishing.  I know it will be a lot worse for aspiring writers without them.

Cheers to you, Glimmer Train!  I’d say you’ll be missed, but you are already.

PS: Their web content and all its wisdom (including Writers Ask and their Resources for Writers) will still be available for at least the next year.