Lakeshore Literary crossed its hard-launch date on January 3, 2022. Today, one month later, a ton of exciting stuff has happened that we’d love to share with you.
The Lakeshore Review
The inaugural reading window for The Lakeshore Review opened Feb. 1. We’ll read until March 31, then process acceptances in April for a May release. TLR is co-edited by Jason Gillikin and Garrett Stack, and supported by readers Allison Hawkins and Lisa McNeilley. We’re excited to publish three times annually, in an editorial spirit similar to the late, great The 3288 Review. For people adjoining the Great Lakes, there’s no reading fee; for others, we charge just $3. We welcome submissions — and also, inquiries about joining our team of readers.
(We really do welcome self-nominations for readers. We’ll conduct an editorial team meeting in the second half of February, so use our Contact Us form ASAP to let us know of your interest.)
Our publishing wing has also seen its first few submissions, as well. We now offer traditional contracts under one of three imprints: Lakeshore One (general fiction and creative non-fiction), Lakeshore Technical (technical non-fiction), and Lakeshore Verse (poetry). On the poetry front, for now we’re looking at books of 40 or more pages, although if there’s enough demand, we may consider chapbooks in the future.
We’ve simplified our editorial guidelines, too, and normalized the royalty frameworks across the imprints.
We’re pleased to announce that we’re launching a new anthology series titled Surface Reflections. Although it’ll eventually be a periodic thing open to general submissions, this year’s edition is invitation-only. Any author who is either a member of the Grand River Writing Tribe, or had been previously published in any form by the now-defunct Caffeinated Press, is welcome to use the Contact Us form to reserve a slot in this collection or to obtain more information.
The debut edition carries a light, generalized theme of “surface reflections.” What does that idea mean? You decide! It could reference superficiality. Or the depths below the surface. Or a mirage cast by an imperfect reflection. Interested contributors should reach out before Feb. 15. Content in the form of short stories (2,500 to 7,500 words) will be due June 30, with a release in September. If we don’t see enough interest, we may cancel the invite-only option and reschedule a general-submission version for later in the year.
Grand River Writing Tribe
Speaking of GRWT: 2022 is already off to a great start. The Tribe presently hosts two in-person groups (one of which meets every other Monday at our office, and the other which meets every other Wednesday at the mall) and one virtual group (which meets every other Saturday on our Discord server). All three of these groups are focused on critique, leading to publication. A fourth group, which meets in the office monthly, is more social and focused on networking, word games, and occasional writing challenges.
Looking to join a publication-focused critique group? Check out more information about the Tribe on its website. We’re also open to questions about existing groups using our infrastructure (forum server, Discord server, office space) as new distinct communities within the Tribe.
Plus networking, all-Tribe in-services, and … wait for it! … possibly an open-access GRWT writers’ conference later this year.
Retail and Events
You see the cover image for this blog post? That’s the west wall of our bookstore and café. As of this month, we’re open Mon/Tue/Thu/Fri 10a to 7p, and Sat 10a to 2p, for retail. We’re closed Wed and Sun. The café serves coffee (Keurig pods), tea, and water; we also sell bags of chips, cookies, and fruit. Free Wi-Fi is also available.
During our hours of operation, we welcome drop-in visitors to shop, write, or read. We’re also happy for small groups of writers (or just friends!) to drop into the café without notice, provided there are six or fewer of you.
Our retail goal is to eventually build the largest collection of literary journals in the Midwest, as well as to offer a bricks-and-mortar retail location for small presses and (select) self-published authors. When we’re done assembling all the shelving, we expect to have roughly 600 linear feet to play with … with an option to add more if we need to!
But for now? The bookstore and café is still in soft-launch mode. The food-and-beverage stuff is ready to go, but the bookshelves are still mostly empty, although if you’re hankering for a back copy of The 3288 Review or either volume of Brewed Awakenings, we’ve already got you covered. Stay tuned for more updates about new product available for purchase!
On the other side of that “west wall” you’ll find our events space. It’s a multi-purpose area that can seat 48 people comfortably, four to a six-foot table, or 60 if we pack ’em six to a table. We can also accommodate 72 people auditorium-style. It’s a great place for a book launch party, a poetry reading, or other literary event, and we’re happy to make the space available to the community for literary events, at low or no cost.
Small Press Distribution & Monthly Subscription Box
The reason we’re waiting on new products for the bookstore is because we’re also opening — finally! — our distribution business. We offer distribution to indie booksellers on behalf of small presses that otherwise struggle to gain retail traction. In addition to us fulfilling distribution on fair terms, we make these titles available for retail purchase.
And the stuff that doesn’t sell quickly, like literary journals, can still obtain revenue by means of a literary subscription-box program we’ll debut in Q3. Between retail, distribution, and the sub-box program, we aim to help small presses and literary journals expand their readership and grow their revenue.
Distribution is also open for self-published authors. Well, some of them. We welcome self-pub authors to pitch books that we’ll carry in a special catalog. The biggest problem with self publishing right now is that for the most part, these authors cannot get their product into physical retail locations except through consignment orders. Our catalog surfaces some of the best self-published books (we heavily curate what we’ll accept) to reduce the risk for indie booksellers.
Community of Literary Magazines and Small Presses
Lakeshore Literary is proud to have joined the Community of Literary Magazines and Small Presses. CLMP is the leading trade organization for our industry, and the mailing lists offer a wealth of information and network connections.
Lakeshore Literary Foundation
One last thing. With our events space and our connection to various academic institutions, we’re planning to file for a new entity, provisionally named the Lakeshore Literary Foundation, this summer. We intend to obtain 501(c)(3) status, and through this non-profit organization, support the literary arts in our market. This market includes the states of IL, IN, MI, NY, OH, PA, WI, and the province of Ontario.
Some folks remember Write616, née The Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters. We intend a similar model. The LLF will likely not be hyperactive with activities, but will be a tool to assist folks (e.g., retired or tenure-track faculty) who are interested in developing programs that might be grant-funded but which require an existing non-profit to support program execution.
Whew. That’s a lot. Thanks for reading this far, and thanks for supporting local literary excellence!