Better is a 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.
Better is on Hiatus
Better is on hiatus while we do a little re-imagining of our publishing and editorial structures; issue 6 will be launched Spring 2015. But check back in soon to see what's happening. When we do re-open for submissions, you can 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Who We Are
SEAN BISHOP, Better’s founder, is the author of The Night We’re Not Sleeping In, published by 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.
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.
KENT SHAW (Emeritus) was a Poetry Editor at Better for issues 4 through 6. He is 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 (Emerita) was Better’s Nonfiction Editor for issues 4 through 6. 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 (Emerita) was a Poetry Editor at Better for issues 4 through 6. 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 (Emeritus) was Better’s Arts Editor for issues 4 through 6. 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 (Emeritus) was a Fiction Editor at Better for issue 6. 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.
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.