Susan Harris knows online publishing firsthand. Her work as the editorial director of Words Without Borders, an online journal of literature in translation, includes trips to the Frankfurt Book Fair and exchanges with authors, translators and agents around the world.
Harris brings that experience to her role as faculty adviser for TriQuarterly Online, the international online literary journal. In her hands-on class, Seminar on Journal Publishing, Harris guides graduate students in the creative writing program through the publishing process as they serve on the staff of TriQuarterly Online: students read submissions, correspond with authors, contribute reviews and interviews, and market and promote the magazine. “Students can try out different roles in the magazine and stay involved in subsequent quarters,” says Harris. “It’s also valuable experience for students who wish to have their own work published.”
TriQuarterly earned great respect as a print publication, but Harris says publishing the journal online offers many extra advantages. “One great benefit is that we’re not limited to subscribers and bookstores,” says Harris. “We have readers all over the world.” The online format allows for multimedia discussions, with students contributing audio and video interviews of authors. The content can be easily updated and refreshed with reviews and essays, some written by students. “TriQuarterly Online is part of the literary conversation,” says Harris. “We’re in the thick of things.”
Since the journal went online in 2010, the staff has received about 3,000 submissions. Creative writing students not enrolled in the class can also volunteer as readers, and Harris says that sorting through the slush pile is instructive: “They learn when a story is ready, and that’s something they can apply to their own work.”