- MSR changes and opportunities
- Strategic planning retreat
- Stories By the Fire online and on TV
- Podcast workshop scheduled
- Congratulations & thanks
Mud Season Review aims for long-term sustainability & invites more BWW members to join the staff
As announced at our annual meeting in November, the BWW board and Mud Season Review staff have been meeting over the past 2 months and discussing how to help ensure the journal’s long-term sustainability while staying true to all aspects of its mission. We are now in a position to share our collective plan to help Mud Season further its objectives as an integral part of the BWW. Some very promising changes are afoot.
[expand title=”Click here to read the plan“]
Adding professional development for our staff
The main goal of Mud Season Review is to help interested BWW members learn how to become editors, better understand the publishing world of literary journals, and build connections with authors and artists outside of Vermont. To that end, the BWW will now offer at least 4 professional development workshops throughout the year, with in-house and outside editors sharing their knowledge with MSR staff as well as editing staff of the BWW annual anthology. The first will be later this January.
Adjusting the publishing schedule to allow for more community building
As part of the Burlington Writers Workshop, Mud Season also serves as an extension of the BWW community and learning initiatives. To that end, we are modifying the publishing schedule significantly to allow staff more time to meet, mentor and be mentored, and attend workshops so they can continually develop skills and build stronger connections with each other as a team.
Going forward, Mud Season will publish 6 online issues per year, one every other month, with discrete one-month submission periods.
Paying contributors in lieu of an annual print issue to save resources and adjust to a changing media climate
Because the print issue requires a significant investment of funds and time-intensive work, as well as the work needed to raise those funds, Mud Season will not be doing a print issue unless staff members decide in a particular year to take on this challenge and make it happen. Instead, with the money raised through manuscript reviews, Mud Season will begin to pay contributors, $50 for each featured author and artist and $15 for each illustrating artist.
This decision was made based in part on the following considerations:
- While these are nominal amounts, payment of any amount shows respect for the work that goes into writing and art, and provides a strong marketing tool.
- Paying contributors is seen as an even greater draw than having a print issue in today’s changing media climate.
- Our MSR contributors have consistently expressed a preference to be online rather than in the print issue, because being featured online gives them the spotlight through an interview and allows them to share their work on social media.
- The BWW already provides the experience of designing and working on a print journal through our annual anthology of member work.
Expanding and strengthening our staff
Mud Season can also strengthen our connection to local communities and receive their support in turn. We will continue to provide internships for Champlain College students and hope to draw on the resources of other local universities. But our hope is that the bulk of the journal’s staff will come from the BWW itself. To that end, we would like to put out a broad call now, to invite more members to be involved in the capacity that best meets both their needs and the journal’s.
If you are interested in being part of Mud Season Review, please respond below with:
- Any relevant experience, from editing to proofing, to website design and social media aptitude, to community building and marketing
- A statement of your interest, whether in a particular genre (nonfiction, fiction, poetry, art) or in a particular role (reading, editing, interviewing, social media, marketing)
- What you hope to gain from involvement with Mud Season
- An assessment of how much time you could give to the journal (hours per week) and whether you would be available to meet 4-6 times a year
This call will be open for 2 weeks, and then will look to match applicants with the roles best suited to them, or modify roles accordingly.
Finally, a note on mission
In the annual survey and at the annual meeting, questions were raised about the connection between the BWW and Mud Season. We would like to share a few thoughts on this.
By giving BWW members the experience of a literary journal and putting it in touch with the broader literary world beyond Vermont, we enrich our organization in 2 primary ways:
- Voices new to us become part of our community, whether virtually or by coming to lead workshops and retreats or by giving time and money to the organization (all of these have happened to date)
- Mud Season volunteers come back to workshops with new perspectives, more experience reviewing stories and poems and essays, and more experience with the process of submitting and getting work into publishable form. Better writers and readers enhance the quality and reputation of workshops, result in better feedback to submitters, and draw in more community members and funding that allows the organization to expand its offerings. We are hopeful that with the new workload balance, everyone in the community will benefit from the symbiosis between the BWW and Mud Season.
Frigid day, hot ideas at BWW strategic planning
The weather outside was a frightful-15°F, but inside the Fletcher Free Library, the BWW was cooking Saturday morning when 2 dozen dedicated volunteers participated in a strategic planning retreat. The commitment, creativity, and collaboration on display suggest a very bright future for our all-volunteer organization. A summary of the proceedings will be available in a future edition of O&A, but in the meantime, here’s what the group looked like hard at work.
View Stories By the Fire streaming and broadcast
“Stories By the Fire December 9, 2017,” presented by the BWW in cooperation with the Hotel Vermont and RETN, is now available to watch online and on television.
ON TV: The show premiered on RETN Channel 16 on Monday, December 25, 9:00 p.m. And on BTVHD Channel 216 on Monday, December 25, 8:00 p.m. Additional air times will be posted online as they are scheduled. RETN is also distributing this show over the Vermont Media Exchange for statewide cable TV distribution. If you have any questions or would like to request a digital copy of the program, contact the RETN distribution coordinator.
Saturday, February 3, 10:30 a.m. in Burlington
Do you enjoy listening to and participating in literary conversations? If so, please sign up on Meet Up to join us for a Saturday morning conversation sparked by an attentive listening to a podcast interview with an author. Before the workshop, participants will listen to David Naimon’s conversation with Eileen Myles, poet, writer and, most recently, author of Afterglow (a dog memoir). The group will continue that conversation to start the workshop, read aloud from Myles’ work, and allow time for writing based on questions or prompts that arise from the podcast conversation. RSVP now >
Celebrated poet performs at Higher Ground
On Thursday, January 18, Higher Ground presents celebrated slam poet Andrea Gibson. Here’s more info on the event.
Congrats & thanks
Thank you to Lauren Bender, Erin Post, Rebecca Starks, and the entire Mud Season Review staff for their hard work on putting together the Mud Season Review changes proposal.
Thank you to the dedicated volunteers who served as an initial strategic planning group at Saturday’s retreat. And thank you to Liz Dallas of the Coaching Center of Vermont for expertly facilitating the session.
Thank you to Vermont Poet Laureate Chard deNiord for coming all the way from Putney, VT, to lead an inspiring poetry workshop this week.
Thank you to Karin Ames for generating the idea of a new literary discussion workshop inspired by timely podcasts.
Thank you to Mindy Wong for her work in solidifying our winter space volunteer schedule and process for keeping the space warm, inviting, and well-stocked.
Congratulations to Barbie Alsop, whose poem “Making Loaf” will appear in the spring issue of Buck Off magazine.