Thank You, 2023! And Hello, 2024! Lit Shark’s 2024 Resolutions

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Happy Tuesday, readers, writers, and shark fans! Happy Holidays, however you celebrated, and Happy New Year! I hope 2024 has been good to you so far.

I took a much-needed break away from my desk (in all of its digital forms) for the first time in 2023 to celebrate the holidays. I was never clear about this, because I’ve been working to build a community feel at Lit Shark, but I’m operating as a team of one. I occasionally run an idea by my husband or share a poem with him that was submitted that I love, but all of the editorial planning and social media work, all of the submission reading and personalized responses to those submissions, the literary magazine issues and their interior designs and coversthat was all me. A few wonderful book reviews and essays have been submitted by contributors, but outside of those pieces, everything else on the site has been created by me. So, needless to say, I was tired and in need of a digital break, so I spent a very quiet holiday season with close family.

I missed all of you while I was gone, though. I missed this platform terribly. I missed working on this all-consuming thing that I love so much.

What’s Coming in 2024

And regretfully, I fell behind on my goals in 2023. Issue 4 should have been published at the end of 2023, and we didn’t quite get there. It’s coming out on Friday, with the paperback edition being made available next week. Later in the month, you’ll see the December-January edition of our Poem of the Month contest winner, and finally, our Best Of 2023 anthology will be released. 

There are so many things coming beyond that, too: notebooks and writing prompt books, issues 5 through 8 of Lit Shark Magazine, a Best Of 2024 anthology, the first issue of Lit Pup Magazine (our magazine that’s by youth writers and for youth writers), and excitingly, some merch. We’re going to start offering some writing services, as well, which will help us to pay the writers we’re publishing AND to start supporting conservation efforts (I have ideas, but if there’s anything you’re specifically looking for, I’d love to hear suggestions).

I’m so excited about 2024 and all the ways that Lit Shark will grow in its second year. Lit Shark’s birthday is just days away, and I’m so grateful for all the support you’ve shown through reading the posts on the site and on social media, for reading the issues of Lit Shark Magazine, for submitting, and for sending me kind notes. I knew this would be a big undertaking, but it proved to be a MUCH BIGGER undertaking for one person than I ever thought it could be. There were a lot of growing pains in 2023, and I’m grateful for the grace and understanding you’ve shown me. I hope to offer a much smoother second year of operation, and many more words.

Resolution #1: More Book Reviews!

On average, one book review was published on Lit Shark per two weeks in 2023. This year, I want to publish at least 1-2 book reviews or author interviews on the site per week. I’m looking forward to all the wonderful stories and poems Lit Shark will be able to share with you this year!

Authors, if you’d like to work with Lit Shark on a book review and/or author interview, reach out! Those of you who are already on the calendar, be on the lookout in the coming weeks!

Resolution #2: More Outreach!

An important project for me personally is working on my health (more on that later) so that I can start swimming deeper waters in the spring—with sharks. I want to start snorkeling, swimming with sharks, and participating in local conservation efforts and clean-up efforts, all of which involve being in the water for long periods of time. I’m looking forward to how I can help, and I’m looking forward to all of the stories I’ll have to share with the Lit Shark family because of these experiences, and how they’ll come into my writing (poems especially!).

Resolution #3: More Submissions!

This is a call out to all of you, but it’s a call out to me, too. I did not submit enough of my own work in 2023 or 2022, and I want to seriously change that in 2024. I’ll be getting open and honest about how often I submit on my personal social media accounts, and I hope you’ll go along with me (and submit to Lit Shark and Lit Pup and our Poem of the Month contest, among other places!).

Speaking of this, too—I received some complaints in 2023 about how inconvenient it was to keep track of Lit Shark submissions because we weren’t on Duotrope, etc. I don’t know which direction Lit Shark is going in with this yet, but I’m currently looking into enrolling Lit Shark in CLMP (Community of Literary Magazines and Presses) and looking into what will be our best options regarding Duotrope, Submittable, Chill Subs, etc. Submissions can still go through the portal on the Lit Shark website, as well as by email to me. But hopefully, this will be one more way Lit Shark can make writers’ lives easier!

Resolution #4: More Words!

While working through my first year at Lit Shark, I let my word count suffer when it comes to my own writing, and I know that 2023 (or any year since the pandemic) was not the best year for some other writers, too.

I hope you’ll aim for a few more words this year, and again, I’ll be chronicling my progress on my personal accounts, and I’ll be more diligent about posting Writing Prompt Wednesdays each week this year, because I know those were helpful to some of you out there last year!

Resolution #5: Growing My Team!

Like I mentioned earlier, I am a MASSIVE team of one! If anyone is looking to grow their portfolios and would like to contribute articles or book reviews to the website, send me a note. If you’re interested in reading submissions with me and being on the Masthead as an Assistant Poetry Editor, Assistant Fiction Editor, or Assistant Short Nonfiction Editor, let me know.

These are unfortunately unpaid opportunities at the moment, but I hope to change that by the end of 2024. I believe my team should be paid, and so should the writers that I publish. It won’t be enough money to make anyone rich, but I believe everyone should receive something.

Also, if you don’t want to work with the team but have connections you know would benefit from Lit Shark, please let them know! Share the Lit Shark website and/or socials with them… direct writers to us for book reviews and author interviews… direct marine biologists and conservationists to us for interviews, essays, collaboration possibilities, etc. Everything helps!

 

2023 was the year of saying, “Lit Shark is here.” 2024 is the year that Lit Shark grows into a Megalodon.

 

Looking Forward to 2024!

This was the most incredible first year. Imperfect, bumpy, fast-paced, yes, but incredible, and I loved it. I can’t wait for this new and improved year with you. Thank you for going along with me.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. You will not be charged extra, but a portion of your purchase will help support Lit Shark’s causes in inclusive and accessible literature and writing resources, as well as our growing movement in conversation education, rescue, and revitalization.

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Written By McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan (she/her/hers) lives and writes in Europe with her family (originally from the Midwest). In addition to being the Editor-in-Chief of Lit Shark Magazine and the Banned Book Review, she is a novelist, poet, and book reviewer. She received her MFA in Poetry from Western Michigan University and her BA in English/BS in Education from Indiana University South Bend, where she began her work in publishing. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, Young Ravens Review, The Birds We Piled Loosely, and Encore Magazine, among others; and her book reviews and essays have appeared in The Rumpus, Green Mountains Review, Memoir Mixtapes, The Life Collective, Her Journal, Motherly, and more. When not writing, she enjoys reading, appreciating nature, and spending time with her husband and three children.

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