"Aim for Rejection. Aim for Anything." A Chat with Literary Entrepreneur Karina Kupp, Founder of Chill Subs
Founder of lit mag resource takes us behind the scenes of her new enterprise
Howdy, friends. I come with briefings of another interview, newly wrapped!
Today I had the pleasure of speaking with Karina Kupp, founder of the new site Chill Subs. Chill Subs describes itself as a place for you to “Find the right home for your writing (without wasting too much energy, losing your shit and hating yourself for being unproductive).”
I stumbled on this site after seeing a tweet from the creators. Once I did a bit of exploring, I realized I absolutely had to talk to the site’s founder. Karina responded immediately and enthusiastically. She joined the discussion today from Poland, where she now lives.
What makes Chill Subs so intriguing? We could start with its decidedly warm, casual and unpretentious tone. Unlike Duotrope, the largest lit mag database out there, Chill Subs aims to be not only a source of data but to have personality. Lit mags on the site are classified by their vibe, such as “Very fancy very impressive very not fast,” “Top tier stuff. Not Paris Review, but ok,” and “Send us your fucking worst.”
Karina said that personality and transparency are key features of the site. She wanted to create a space that was laid-back and welcoming, akin to talking about lit mags in a pub with a friend. Indeed, this was where the original idea came from, while having a beer with her husband and contemplating software development projects that could be useful to people.
Though the site has only been around for two months, it has grown exponentially. Many writers and editors have written in with suggestions and offers of help. Several of these suggestions are listed on the site, and users can upvote them or leave comments about them. There is also a roadmap, listing what else Karina plans to add to the site in the near future.
Currently, they add about twelve new journals to the database each week. A blog was also launched recently. Karina has just taken on additional help.
(As someone who also maintained a public database of lit mags not too long ago, I couldn’t resist putting on my mentor hat here and advising Karina that when people offer help, Take the help!)
But guys. That’s not all. Something exciting was revealed today.
One of Karina’s goals with Chill Subs is to eventually replace both Submittable and Duotrope.
Yes, friends. You heard that right. And you heard it here first.
Karina shared that she and her team are working on a way to set up user accounts that will enable people to log in, keep track of lit mags that interest them, and also submit to lit mags with Chill Subs software.
Will editors leap at the chance to use another submissions manager? Will it truly be possible to replace these titans of the lit-mag-submitting industry? Could this new energetic team find a way to make the whole submissions process cheaper, fairer, easier, better and…more chill?
I am incredibly excited to find out! I hope you are too.
To everyone who came out today, thanks for joining the discussion. You know your faces bring me such joy!
And thank you to Karina who not only took the time to join us from abroad, but who shared this special behind the scenes glimpse into another wonderful literary endeavor.
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Thank you for another great interview, Becky. Haven't had a chance to look at Chill Subs yet but will soon. Thanks also for making these interviews so accessible. I often can't tune into the actual interview but love listening to them when I can. Really do appreciate all your hard work and am learning so much.
Very helpful! Thank you!!