Thursday, February 21, 2008

Asylum Magazine

From 1985 to 1995 I edited and published a literary and arts magazine called Asylum. Initially a quarterly, the first two issues of the magazine were typeset using a proportional spaced IBM selectric typewriter. I pasted up the copy on my kitchen table, photocopied the double sided spreads at Kinkos, and bound them together with a hand-powered saddle stapler. These earliest issues had a circulation of about 200. 
Over the years I continued to improve the design and production values of the magazine as it grew in circulation. Asylum eventually changed to a biannual format. In 1993 I renamed the magaine Asylum Annual and switched to a 160 page large format with Smyth-sewn bindings. By 1993 the magazine had become one of the biggest and best-distributed independant literary magazines in the country, with a circulation of about 2,500. 

Asylum was a one-man operation. Although the magazine managed to be "in the black" financially, it was always a labor of love that required a decade of long hours without any pay. At its peak, it was not unusual to receive more than 150 unsolicited submissions each week. That's a lot of mail to answer.

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