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The Life and Death of A Literary Legend
by Martin Golan

Then, in creating Etheria, I had the kind of revelation I wished I'd had in my writing: the name of my magazine should not be memorable but eminently forgettable, as generic as possible, precisely the opposite of what one seeks in a product name. It should sound like something you heard of or, better, should have heard of. So I renamed my nonexistent magazine New York Literary Review, adding "formerly Etheria" to make it more hauntingly familiar.

The next step was a Web site. I designed the logo myself - a huge tablet with a chiseled image that is vaguely Greek, terribly obvious from mythology but that one can't quite place. Next to it was written "New York Literary Review (formerly Etheria)" and the address of a post office box I rented.

Underneath, in big letters, it said:


In two days my new post office box was bursting with manuscripts. Not a single person subscribed or purchased a sample copy. I was swamped with cover letters that said how much New York Literary Review (formerly Etheria) had meant to the writer over the years. Many quoted from the description I had concocted:

Though we often publish established writers, we are always open to new voices. Don't be afraid to give us your best, but if we can't use it that doesn't mean it isn't good. Our standards are high, and the competition is keen. New York Literary Review (formerly Etheria) publishes the very best writing we can find, and we strongly urge you to read several copies before submitting. But do try us, and if we reject you, please don't take it as a "rejection."

I was particularly proud of the last sentence, since it makes absolutely no sense yet would be meaningful to any writer. And that it was hard to have work accepted was definitely true, because New York Literary Review (formerly Etheria) had never, and would never, publish anything.


Copyright 2007 by Martin Golan
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