Tincture Journal was founded by Daniel Young in 2013 as a literary journal to showcase fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction from Australia and around the world. AWM recently interviewed Daniel and asked him about poetry, advice for aspiring writers, and the importance of Asia/Pacific regional writing. AWM also found out a little about Daniel’s love-hate relationship with e-books.
This quarterly literary journal is published as an e-book and is available through Tomely, Amazon, Kobo and GooglePlay. Visit Tincture Journal’s website to subscribe, find their submission guidelines, and read about contributors. Issue 15 is due out in September 2016.
In 2013, you successfully launched Tincture Journal onto the Australian literary journal scene. You’re now coming up to Tincture Journal’s fourteenth issue. How has it evolved over this time?
We’ve evolved in a few ways. Tincture Journal started as a solo project, on a whim, attempting to plug a gap that I saw in Australia’s literary journal scene with the closure of Wet Ink in 2012. From that beginning as a one-man show, we now have a number of editors and submissions readers across Australia, all volunteering their time to make each issue of Tincture Journal as good as it possibly can be. I’m so grateful for their help—I might not have lasted on my own!
Over fourteen issues we’ve attracted more and more readers and submissions from all over the world. Our focus is still on Australian writing, but our e-book format liberates us from physical constraints and means we can bring Australian writers to the world and vice-versa. As a literary journal who makes a point of paying our contributors (even though it’s not as much as we’d like) we are valued by writers as a venue to send their work.
The journal has had a strong focus on poetry since its inception and poetry submissions have just opened for Issue 15, due out in September this year. What are the key traits you look for in a poem that’s right for Tincture Journal?
I’ll have to delegate to our poetry editor on this one. I began Tincture Journal on my own and with a strong focus on creative writing of all forms, as an antidote to the essay and non-fiction heavy format we find in the more established Australian literary journals. After I published some black-out poetry by Stuart Barnes in Issue Two, he came forward to volunteer as poetry editor. I accepted gratefully! Here is his answer:
“Any poem might be right for Tincture—there is no thematic focus—I consider poetry by new and experienced writers from Australia and the world. Some key traits include: is the poem immediately engaging, does it make me want to (to quote E. E. Cummings) leap into the ripe air? Is it daring, authentic, indelible, does it maintain its charm from first line until last (a weak one is like an Achilles heel, and clichés are flies in the ointment)? Finally, is the poem transformative, does it make me want to, to quote Cummings again, set my teeth in the silver of the moon?”
Tincture Journal also publishes fiction and creative non-fiction but has no specific submission guidelines in terms of theme or word limit. What advice would you offer aspiring writers who are looking to submit to the journal?
This is common advice, but it’s so important: find some trusted critical friends to read your work before sending it anywhere. Sending submissions too early is a common beginner’s mistake, and it’s easy to spot. Think about what you want your story to achieve and make sure it’s doing that in the best possible way. It’s hard to objectively view your own work, but try to think of the reader—what will their experience be, reading your work for the first time?
We have no specific guidelines because our e-book format is quite flexible. In Issue Three we published a 20,000 word story that was part of a creative writing honours thesis, and we’d happily do so again if a story is good enough! The length of each issue can vary because we aren’t committed to a set number of pages. Having said that, the time of readers is precious too, and we definitely value quality over quantity.
In our fiction submission guidelines we specify anything from 100-20,000 words, and this still stands, but it’s rare that we accept anything at the extreme ends of the scale. In my experience, stories of 2,000-10,000 words work best for us.
AWM understands that Tincture Journal is keen to publish more English writing from Asia and the Pacific. What interests you about writing from these regions?
Partly, this is an acknowledgement of Australia’s place in the Asia/Pacific region, and what we perceive as a neglect of Asia/Pacific writing in Australia’s sometimes Anglocentric literary culture. Griffith Review’s recent “New Asia Now” edition (Issue 49) is a wonderful example of the vibrant diversity of voices that can be found in our region, and that Australian readers often miss out on. We want to encourage more of this.
Tincture Journal is published as an e-book and claims, in its editorial policy, that ‘e-books are not a lower class of book…’ Could you tell us about the role that Tincture Journal has played in highlighting the importance of non-traditional methods of publishing?
I have a love-hate relationship with e-books, to be quite honest. Most readers still love the feeling of reading a physical object in print, and writers are generally happier to see their writing in print. Having said that, I subscribe to so many literary journals and don’t have space to keep them all, so doesn’t it make more sense to publish this kind of periodical material in an e-book format?
For Tincture Journal, publishing as an e-book allows us to take money that would otherwise be spent in printing and postage, and use that for paying writers without being beholden to Australia Council funding for our continued existence. This is fundamental to what we do, and we’re proud of it. In our editorial policy, we’re attempting to distance ourselves from the poorly-edited e-books that we’ve come across (even from major publishers, in my experience). We put a lot of work into collaborating with our writers and editing and proofreading their work to be the very best it can be. We use e-books as our medium to enable our existence, but we don’t want to compromise on quality.
Zoe Biddlestone is currently studying a Master of Arts in Writing, Editing and Publishing at The University of Queensland. She also has Bachelor degrees in Arts and Law. Zoe works full-time and enjoys freelance editing and proofreading after hours. She loves reading travel writing, the classics and translated fiction.