Keep Working, Keep Submitting


Electric Literature’s editor-in-chief Lincoln Michel released his debut collection of stories, Upright Beasts, earlier this year. For the Quivering Pen, Michel explores the challenges first-time authors experience in writing and submitting their work to publishers:

It would be nice here to craft a story of how those first publications inspired me to new heights of creativity, or else imparted an unrealistic idea of success that sent me into the artistic wilderness for years that I came out of with important life lessons to give you now. Yet nothing very interesting happened. I didn’t print out the acceptances, wrap them around a brick, and toss them through the window of the writing teachers who doubted me. I didn’t go on a two-month soul searching journey to another country. I didn’t get wasted and kick down the front door of The New Yorker’s offices, shouting “I have arrived!”

Ian MacAllen is the author of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2022). His writing has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, Southern Review of Books, The Offing, 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, and elsewhere. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at More from this author →