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How You Can Get Involved With Longshot Magazine

The dynamic trio and their team of volunteer editors, sketch artists, photographers, writers, reporters and poets are at it again — the 48-hour, user-generated Longshot Magazine will be produced July 29 through July 31 in New York City.

Longshot Magazine — co-founded by Gizmodo’s Mat Honan, The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal, and GOOD Magazine’s Sarah Rich — is a creative magazine produced entirely in 48 hours with stories and art submitted by people from around the world on the web. The magazine editors will announce the theme of the magazine on Friday, July 29 at noon, and users can start submitting their work. By noon on Sunday, the magazine will be completed and sent to print, and a digital, mobile-compatible version will be available online.

I corresponded with Mat Honan recently to get the inside scoop on the upcoming issue. In August, I participated in the creation of the second issue in Los Angeles by submitting artwork and helping Adam Hemphill build the website. The experience, fueled by lots of Red Bull and coffee, was one of my favorite production experiences of my life — and here’s how you can get involved too!

Production in NYC

First San Francisco, then Los Angeles, and now New York. Each issue has been so far produced in a different city, and although they haven’t yet officially announced where they’ll set up a pop-up office, they do know that NYC is the location.

If you’re in New York City (or will be on July 29-31), and want to help as an editor, artist, reader, fact-checker, or in any other capacity, get in touch with the editors via email (editors@longshotmag.com).

Production in cities that aren’t NYC

For those of us who aren’t in NYC, hope isn’t lost.

“We’re also going to try to have what we call satellite offices,” Honan said via email. “We had a couple of these last time around and they were really fun for people. One group used it as a writing space, but another was actually helping us review submissions.”

You can set up a satellite office anywhere in the world, and instructions for doing so are outlined in a recent post on the magazine’s website. (Same protocol as before — just shoot them an email at editors@longshotmag.com).

“It’s an great way for people to get together and work on submissions–especially if you can get a writer paired up with an artist or photographer at a satellite office,” Honan said. “One of the toughest things we do, which you may remember, is pairing art with writing.”

Be a contributor

If you want to jump in to submit art, photos, infographics, creative nonfiction, articles or any other type of work, pay attention to longshotmag.com on July 29. Of, if you’re forgetful, sign up with your email address to have the announcement sent to you as soon as the theme goes live. Issue Zero’s theme was Hustle, and Issue One’s theme was Come Back.

Tips for getting your submission noticed

Editors sift through thousands of submissions, and only the best make it into the magazine. Some tips from Honan:

  1. Keep it to the theme. “We get a lot of work that’s obviously been sitting on people’s hard drives for ages that may have absolutely nothing to do with our theme. We don’t want that! We like to think of Longshot as an exercise in creativity. Creativity really tends to blossom under constraints, and so we supply two: a limited time period and a theme.”
  2. Keep it timely. “We love freshly-reported pieces. We all tend to go unnaturally crazy for stories that people go out and report and write during those 24 hours.”
  3. Photo essays are good. “Those are probably your best bets”
  4. Poetry has to be really, really good. “I should warn people that the bar for fiction and poetry is really, really high.”

“But generally speaking,” Honan said, “as long as it’s thematic and well-written (or photographed or illustrated) it’s got a very good chance.”

Didn’t make it to print? Blog anyway!

Needless to say, not every submission will make it into the final magazine. Last time around, the crew asked people to publish their works online and they linked to them from a round-up blog post.

“We always wish we could publish more than we do. We don’t let the book get too long, because it’s already an expensive purchase, but we always wish we had more space,” Honan said. “The one thing I know to count on is that we’ll get
a lot more great stuff than we can actually use.”

Kickstart it

One last way to get involved is through donations. A new experiment with this month’s project is the launch of a Kickstarter account to try to raise money to pay contributors. Last time around, they were only able to pay each contributor a little more than $8. Their goal is to raise $7,500 to help really pay the people around the world who pour their hearts into the magazine for a weekend (they already have $2,150 pleged!).

In addition to money from donations, they make a little bit of money from sales.

“We turn all the money back around into the magazine. Any profits we split between contributors, and save a third of for the future issue,” Honan said.

You can donate to the project at Kickstarter.

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