Go Forth (vol. 4)

Andrew Gallix is editor-in-chief of 3:AM Magazine, which the Guardian credits as technically the first literary blog ever. He writes fiction and criticism, edits books, and teaches at the Sorbonne, and I love him.

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NICOLLE ELIZABETH: What is 3:AM, and how did it start?

ANDREW GALLIX: 3:AM is one of the oldest literary webzines out there, as it was launched in April 2000. We were among the first to make use of the international dimension of the web: the founder was American, our first webmaster was Canadian, and the rest of the team was located in Britain, France, Ireland and the US. We were the first, or one of the first, to launch a literary blog (if by that you mean a compendium of literary news links). We innovated by placing fiction in a wider cultural (artistic, in particular musical) context. We also pioneered the revival of live literary events in London, mixing music, art, and spoken word. 

NE: This is a collective thing?

AG: Very much so. The whole point of 3:AM was to foster a community of literary loners; to create a space where we can be alone together.

NE: Print ever or no?

AG: Two anthologies of 3:AM short stories (edited by Andrew Stevens) have been published, but the magazine itself is online-only. I think we were also pioneers from that point of view: we realized that online publications were the way forward. They cost virtually nothing, which means that only literary/artistic criteria apply, instead of financial considerations. There are no space constraints (a piece can be as long or as short as it needs to be). You can reach so many more readers than if you publish a story in a small literary journal. Christiana Spens has just launched 3:AM Press, which releases both ebooks and limited print editions, showing our attachment to both formats.

NE: Main concerns ethically?

AG: There is no party line, although we are rather contrarian, hence our tagline (a nod to Groucho Marx, the Ramones, and Adorno): “Whatever it is, we’re against it.” It sounds rather pedantic, I know, but what I consider to be real literature is always, at some level, a writing against itself.

NE: Main concerns aesthetically?

AG: Once again, 3:AM is a very broad anti-church. Personally, I think we should publish fiction that has the inevitability of death.

NE: What advice do you have for those who wish to start a magazine?

AG: Don’t give up the day job.

NE: Anything else you’d like to tell us here?

AG: Sure, but only things which cannot be told.

Megan Gustashaw is the Senior Online Editor of Glamour magazine. Also, we have been friends since middle school. I thought this, in combination with our Andrew Gallix interview, might be helpful for those readers who feel their talents and aspirations might be suited toward the editing end of the career spectrum, rather than the copywriting side. Here are words from people who continue to work hard, who continue their dedication.

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NICOLLE ELIZABETH: Hi Meg! We here at the Logger are running a series of interviews with writers, editors, publishers, and anyone remotely interesting, and we are very happy to have you. We are also interviewing interns because Tao Lin suggested it, and I agree that it’s a good way to talk about the amount of work and will it takes to work in the publishing world across any medium. You are the web editor at Glamour. Can you give a walk-through of advice for readers who are thinking about working at a magazine?

MEGAN GUSTASHAW: My advice is to start a blog or write for someone else’s blog, read every magazine from every country, intern at a magazine if you can, and collaborate with friends on creative projects. Community is so important—it helps you build confidence and make connections (in a real, not-sleazy way). Also, just be a nice person and work hard. And always tell the truth.

In college and right after college, I worked as a waitress and then wrote for different websites and collaborated with friends on fun projects in my spare time. My friend and I started an accessories line called “Boyfriend,” and we made a lot of money selling feather headbands, believe it or not. Not “a lot, a lot,” but enough to pay our bills every month. One of the sites I was writing for at that time was bought by a larger company and that company hired me to be a full-time editor. That was my first real-deal job.

NE: How does working at a magazine combine literary skills with a niche subject?

MG: Telling a story with pictures is something that’s really important in fashion and beauty. I spend more time working with photos than I do writing.

NE: What are some key differences in working on the web side versus working on the print side?

MG: The pace and the way you work with people on the web side is much different. I collaborate with my team on a daily basis, but it’s still sort of this solitary process of writing/editing/publishing, all day long. Putting a page together for the magazine is much more of a team effort.

NE: How is editing done, on InDesign or something?

MG: Online, we edit and publish blog content directly in Moveable Type. On the print side they use InDesign.

NE: Do you see the web as the future medium, or do you think print will exist forever?

MG: What’s really nice is seeing how print and digital are growing together and borrowing ideas from each other. We publish editor’s Twitter handles next to their bylines in the magazine, and there’s a whole page dedicated to hilarious images and quotes from the internet (a staff favorite). Online we are investing more time and energy in creating high-quality art for our site, whether that means commissioning an artist to do illustrations, working with an in-house graphic designer, or hiring a photographer to shoot stories for us. I don’t think either medium is going anywhere. It’s wonderful to see them intertwine.

Nicolle Elizabeth is a first-generation college graduate from the middle of nowhere and is a contributor at the Brooklyn Rail, Bomb, and a whole bunch of fine places. She is the poetry editor at Word Riot, also a bike mechanic. Follow her: twitter.com/thismighttank.