Starting a literary journal was not a natural career path for us: Susan had studied language and linguistics; Linda majored in psychology. But we did have two things in our favor: we came from a family of readers and we loved working together. In 1990 we decided to give it a go.
People have often asked how we came up with the name Glimmer Train. We sat down one afternoon over pizza and beer, wondering what we might name our magazine, and we started talking about our lives and thought how crazy it was that we were embarking on such an adventure. We'd certainly never anticipated it, though in retrospect we could see that there had been glimmers of it. And, despite not knowing where, exactly, we were going or how we'd get there, we were going full steam ahead.
These are the things we hoped to do when we started Glimmer Train:
- Publish literary short stories that were emotionally significant. We knew that at its best, a story could add depth and breadth to real life, and those were the stories we wanted to print.
- Present stories in a handsome physical publication that people would keep, giving the stories the long lives and future readings they deserved.
- Keep a keen eye out for new voices, favoring pieces by emerging writers.
- Pay writers well for stories we accepted for publication. (Each year we have paid nearly $50,000 to writers, almost 3/4 of that to emerging writers.)
Paying authors well for their work and publishing a high quality journal turned out to be more expensive than we had anticipated, but contest reading fees have helped, especially in making substantial prizes possible for winning stories, and subscriptions, of course, have helped a lot. We have always deeply appreciated your support—without you, Glimmer Train would have had neither the means nor reason to exist.
Writers have sent nearly 40,000 stories each year over the last 29 years, which has been pretty much heaven for two sisters who love to read.