Managing Editor Sean Bishop

Poetry Editor Kent Shaw

Nonfiction Editor TaraShea Nesbit

Poetry Editor Carolina Ebeid

Arts Editor Mark Stafford

Fiction Editor David Schuman

Fiction Editor Liv Stratman

Podcast Co-Host Mikey Swanberg

SEAN BISHOP
EDITOR

KENT SHAW
POETRY EDITOR

TARASHEA NESBIT
NONFICTION EDITOR

CAROLINA EBEID
POETRY EDITOR

MARK N. STAFFORD
ARTS EDITOR

DAVID SCHUMAN
FICTION EDITOR

LIV STRATMAN
FICTION EDITOR

MIKEY SWANBERG
PODCAST CO-HOST

What’s Better

Better is a quarterly magazine of culture and literature featuring articles, interviews, essays, artwork, stories, poems, and reviews by (and about) some of the best creative-types in the world today. Our goal is not to be the most prestigious, the most experimental, or even necessarily the best—we just want to be better. We think it’s time to raise the bar on what an online magazine can be and do, by featuring audio and video of as many contributors as possible, and by privileging art, writing, and other media that couldn’t be presented as effectively in a traditional paper-magazine format.


Join the Team

Better is growing rapidly—in the past year alone we’ve switched from a semi-annual to a quarterly schedule, launched a YouTube channel and a broadside series, and we’re introducing our weekly podcast early this fall. There’s a lot of work to be done, and we’re on the lookout for new editors and staff! If you’d like to lend a hand in any way, please send a CV and a brief statement of interest and intent to the attention of Sean Bishop, Editor, at better.culture.lit@gmail.com. If we like the cut of your jib, we’ll ask for an interview and additional materials. At the moment, Better is especially on the lookout for a managing editor, for a web developer and social media editor, for audio/video editors and engineers, and for one additional editor each in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. For now (and for the foreseeable future) all positions at Better are unpaid—we’re committed to keeping Better free for everyone, forever, so until we can scare up some substantial grant funding, that means no paychecks for the staff.


What We Want

We are currently reading submissions for issues six through nine. Send us anything, so long as it hasn’t been published previously: articles, reviews, interviews, artwork, video, essays, stories, poems, songs, lists, manifestos, tirades, games, your new fashion statement, a detailed photo-catalog of your collection of vintage corkscrews, your pitches for post-apocalyptically marketed breakfast cereals—whatever you’re proud of or excited about: We’ll consider it. We have no length limits, but if that makes you uncomfortable, you can read suggestions on our submissions manager page. Simultaneous submissions are always acceptable, as long as you let us know if a submission has been taken elsewhere. We do ask, however, that you only submit one collection of work at a time, and that you wait until you receive a response before submitting again. Generally speaking, you should submit no more than once every six months. If you have work to submit to our Wish List, however (see below), we’ll allow you to submit up to two collections of work at any given time. You can submit to us here. Full withdrawals can be made through Submittable, and partial withdrawals can be made via email to better.culture.lit@gmail.com. If we select your work for publication, we will request First North American Serial rights, Electronic rights, and Online Archival rights, as well as the rights to republish the accepted work in a future print anthology. Despite being a free-to-read startup magazine staffed and edited entirely by volunteers, with no grant funding or institutional support of any kind, Better is nevertheless striving toward a day when we can pay all contributors for their work. However, that goal won’t be reached all at once. At the moment, Better can sometimes (but not always) offer a limited honorarium (no more than $50) for fiction and creative nonfiction. We hope to be able to offer some form of compensation to poets in the near future, as well, but unfortunately we do not have the budget at this time.


The Wish Lists

Better maintains two “wish lists”—one for under-represented submissions, and one for donations of resources and production support. On the submissions side, note first that it is always always always in your interest to submit your best work, no matter what we say we want. Often even we don’t know what we want, so just give us your absolute best work, whatever that is. That said, eligible Wish List submissions include cultural criticism and mixed-media work of any kind—particularly audio/video essays or interactive works that could not be published in anything other than an online format (e.g. nonlinear fiction or poetry, essays that require audio or video interludes, This-American-Life-style audio journalism, etc.) If you send work that fits our Wish List requests, you're permitted to submit to us in another genre at the same time.


Donate

As an impoverished startup venture with no intention of generating profit or paying its editors in the foreseeable future, Better welcomes donations of goods, services, or straight-up cash. Since we know it’s often easier to volunteer materials than direct funding, we maintain a wish list of items and services that will help us to keep doing what we do, and more importantly, to do it better. If, like us, you’re feeling a little too poor for charity, you can help us immensely just by entering our contests: we’ll get fifteen bucks out of it, and you might get a thousand.

Who We Are

SEAN BISHOP, Better’s founder and man-behind-the-curtain, is the author of The Night We’re Not Sleeping In, forthcoming from Sarabande Books in November 2014. A poet, designer, and web developer, Sean also teaches in the creative writing MFA program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he coordinates both the Graduate and Post-Graduate Fellowship programs.

KENT SHAW is a Poetry Editor at Better, an Assistant Professor at West Virginia State University, and a regular book reviewer at The Rumpus. His book, Calenture, was published in 2008. His poems have since appeared in The Believer, Ploughshares, Boston Review, Colorado Review, Witness, and other magazines.

TARASHEA NESBIT is Better’s Nonfiction Editor. Her first novel The Wives of Los Alamos was released by Bloomsbury in 2014. Her prose, poetry, and criticism have been featured in Quarterly West, The Iowa Review (Online), Hayden's Ferry Review, The Laurel Review, and other literary journals. She teaches creative writing and literature courses at the University of Denver and the University of Washington in Tacoma.

CAROLINA EBEID is a Poetry Editor at Better. Her work appears in many journals, including Poetry; Agni; 32 Poems; Forklift, Ohio; Crazyhorse; Memorious; Gulf Coast; The Kenyon Review; and others. She grew up in West New York, NJ, and now resides with the poet Jeffrey Pethybridge and their son Patrick.

MARK NATHAN STAFFORD is Better’s Arts Editor. He is a sculptor and digital artist whose work has appeared in numerous national and international exhibitions, most recently, the 2013 NCECA Biennial Exhibition at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. His critical writing has appeared in Art Papers and Ceramics: Art and Perception. He currently teaches at Valdosta State University in Valdosta, GA.

DAVID SCHUMAN is a Fiction Editor at Better. He teaches fiction writing at Washington University in St. Louis, where he directs the MFA program. His stories have appeared in Conjunctions, Missouri Review, Joyland, and the Pushcart Prize Anthology, among other magazines and anthologies.

LIV STRATMAN is a Fiction Editor at Better. From 2013-2014 she was the Editor of Devil’s Lake. Her writing appears in The Cincinnati Review, CutBank, and elsewhere. A native of Amityville, New York, she lives in Madison, Wisconsin. You can find her on Twitter @livrstrat.

MIKEY SWANBERG is the co-host, with Sean Bishop, of Better’s forthcoming podcast. He is the Poetry Editor of Rabbit Catastrophe Review and the author of Zen and the Art of Bicycle Delivery. He is a recipient of the Jane Gentry Vance Award in Poetry and he lives in Madison, WI. You can find him on Twitter @mikeyswanberg.

SOPHIE ROSENBLUM (Emerita) was a Fiction Editor at Better for issues one through six. She is a former Rice University Parks Fellow, and her novel-in-progress was recently a finalist for the James Jones Novel Fellowship. She is a doctoral student in Literature and Creative Writing at Florida State University, where she is the Berger Fellow. Her writing has appeared in American Short Fiction, New Letters, The Iowa Review, and elsewhere. She is also the web editor at NANO Fiction.

EDWARD MULLANY (Emerita) was a Fiction Editor at Better for issues one through six. He is the author of If I Falter at the Gallows (Publishing Genius, 2011) and Figures for an Apocalypse (forthcoming). His writing has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Tampa Review, Green Mountains Review, Gesture, and other journals. He keeps a blog called Notes From a Resuscitated Man. He grew up in Australia and in the Midwest.

LAURA EVE ENGEL (Emerita) was a Poetry Editor at Better for issues one through three. She was the 2011-2012 Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and will be a poetry fellow at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center in 2014. She is the co-author of [Spoiler Alert], a collaborative volume of flash fiction available from Dzanc Books.

RACHAEL MORRISON (Emerita) was Better’s Arts Editor for issues one and two. She is an interdisciplinary artist living in Los Angeles. She has curated an exhibitions for the Museum of Modern Art’s Library in New York, the Printed Matter NY Art Book Fair, Microscope Gallery, and The Public School NY. Her artwork has been featured on the BBC1 television program Imagine, in New York Magazine, and in Art das Kunstmagazin. She is currently working on a documentary film about a blind telephone hacker named Joybubbles.

OUR DONATION WISH LIST:

We're on the lookout for individuals or organizations willing to provide any of the following goods and services, free of charge or on the cheap. We are currently in the process of applying for 501(c)(3) non-profit status, and until we are granted that status, in-kind donations may not be tax-deductible. All donations will be acknowledged in this Wish List unless otherwise requested by the donor.

Material items may be sent to the attention of Sean Bishop, Editor / Better: Culture & Lit / 946 E. Johnson St. #1 / Madison, WI 53703. Electronic deliveries may be sent to better.culture.lit@gmail.com. Thank you!

SERVICES:

 (1) High-bandwidth web-hosting with unlimited server space and, ideally, SSL encryption. This will allow us to deliver multi-media content efficiently to our readers, and to maintain an extensive archive of audio and video.

 (2) A subscription to Airdropper, which will allow contributors without DropBox memberships to upload large-format audio and video efficiently and easily.

 (3) A subscription to DropBox's 100G "Pro" membership level, so that we can provide contributors with the means to upload large-format video and audio of their works.

 (4) A Skype Premium membership, which will not only allow us to direct our writers in the production of their videos, but also help Better continue to be a journal whose editors, contributors, and correspondents are selected not for their geographic proximity to one another, but for their skill and expertise.

 (5) A Facebook and/or Google Ads subscription.

 (6) Other gratis advertising space of any kind.

MATERIALS & SOFTWARE:

 (1) One or more 64G iPod Touches, for us to mail back and forth with contributors who do not own adequate audio and video recording equipment themselves.

 (2) One or more Rode SmartLav Microphones to use in conjunction with the iPods (since the internal microphones are insufficient for podcast-quality recording).

 (3) A Blue Yeti Pro podcasting microphone, for use in recording the Better podcast.

 (4) Wirecast streaming software, so that we can deliver large-format or live audio/video efficiently.

OUR DONATION WISH LIST:

We're on the lookout for individuals or organizations willing to provide any of the following goods and services, free of charge or on the cheap. We are currently in the process of applying for 501(c)(3) non-profit status, and until we are granted that status, in-kind donations may not be tax-deductible. All donations will be acknowledged in this Wish List unless otherwise requested by the donor.

Material items may be sent to the attention of Sean Bishop, Editor / Better: Culture & Lit / 946 E. Johnson St. #1 / Madison, WI 53703. Electronic deliveries may be sent to better.culture.lit@gmail.com. Thank you!

SERVICES:

 (1) High-bandwidth web-hosting with unlimited server space and, ideally, SSL encryption. This will allow us to deliver multi-media content efficiently to our readers, and to maintain an extensive archive of audio and video.

 (2) A subscription to Airdropper, which will allow contributors without DropBox memberships to upload large-format audio and video efficiently and easily.

 (3) A subscription to DropBox's 100G "Pro" membership level, so that we can provide contributors with the means to upload large-format video and audio of their works.

 (4) A Skype Premium membership, which will not only allow us to direct our writers in the production of their videos, but also help Better continue to be a journal whose editors, contributors, and correspondents are selected not for their geographic proximity to one another, but for their skill and expertise.

 (5) A Facebook and/or Google Ads subscription.

 (6) Other gratis advertising space of any kind.

MATERIALS & SOFTWARE:

 (1) One or more 64G iPod Touches, for us to mail back and forth with contributors who do not own adequate audio and video recording equipment themselves.

 (2) One or more Rode SmartLav Microphones to use in conjunction with the iPods (since the internal microphones are insufficient for podcast-quality recording).

 (3) A Blue Yeti Pro podcasting microphone, for use in recording the Better podcast.

 (4) Wirecast streaming software, so that we can deliver large-format or live audio/video efficiently.