Q&A with Lauren Poole from Honeyfire Literary Magazine
By Miya Elkerton and Kayley Stanbridge
Tell us about Honeyfire Literary Magazine
Honeyfire Literary Magazine is an online creative arts magazine that emphasises the inherent strength in vulnerability. So far, there have been five issues and I am especially proud of the third, Plastic Minds, which raised £250 for the mental health charity, Mind!
I’ve been really lucky to secure a .com website thanks to reader donations. Through the website, I have created our first column, UNTOLD, a space for stories that are often silenced or ‘taboo’ and which features new pieces on Mondays and Fridays. So far, the column has covered everything from grief to abortion to LGBTQ+ identities, and I’m really proud of it.
What inspired you to start this magazine?
Through my writing, I’ve been fortunate to have been published in literary magazines, and I vividly remember how validating and empowering it felt to receive my first submission acceptance. It felt amazing, as though someone was listening and cared about my work, considering it good enough to publish and share.
Being surrounded by so many young and talented writers, I knew I wanted to create more space to encourage and amplify creatives. I was also fascinated with the creative side of my favourite literary magazines. Putting together Instagram graphics, coming up with issue themes – it all seemed like so much fun!
How long have you been working on the magazine? Have you faced many challenges during the process, and how were they overcome?
I started Honeyfire during lockdown in September 2020, so I was lucky in that I had so much more time to dedicate. For me, a huge challenge was figuring out how best to distribute issues. Originally, I had an emailing system in place that sent new subscribers a copy of the latest edition, but as the magazine and readership grew, that became less feasible. Now I use both the website and a platform called Payhip, where people can access all our issues.
I initially found creating a brand quite difficult and have since rebranded, changing the logo and Instagram posts to look more professional, and picking a colour scheme, helping me with the graphics and marketing.
What skills have you developed during this process?
Graphic design! I used to be terrible at it, but our newest issue is the most visual yet and I loved creating graphics and a colour scheme for the interior! I’ve also loved building a website, something I’ve always struggled with before, but I’m really proud of how the website looks.
What goals do you have for Honeyfire Literary Magazine that you want to achieve soon?
I want to grow Honeyfire’s readership and maybe even have a second column! I love that UNTOLD’s theme encompasses so many different topics, but I’d love to have a column for something specific too – for example, as an LGBTQ+ person myself, I’d love to create more space for queer writers.
Do you work with a team?
I don’t! I have been really enjoying working on the project by myself, even if it gets overwhelming at times – it’s nice to be proud of something that’s all mine!
Are you looking for contributors?
Yes! For the UNTOLD column, I’m always looking for prose pieces in personal essay or article form about anything that you feel isn’t talked about or is swept under the rug in society. All the details on how and where to submit are at honeyfirelit.com/submit!
Which websites, publishers and creators inspire you the most?
My favourite magazines are Half Mystic and Candid Orange – I love reading their columns! An indie publisher that I recently discovered and admire is Monstrous Regiment, a Scottish press who published The Bi-ble, one of my favourite books – it resonated with me so much, and I am so grateful for a publication that feels healing, like I needed when growing up.
Why do you think that so many publishing hopefuls have started their own projects and businesses in the past year?
I think it’s a really valuable added asset, especially for such a competitive industry, and with all the lockdowns, I think people have had the time and motivation to take the leap and do the things we’ve always vaguely thought about doing.
Do you want to work in the publishing industry? What would your ideal role be?
Yes! I’d love to work in Editorial.
Why do you want to work in publishing? What appeals to you about this industry?
From being in the writing community on Instagram, I have realised how much incredible and necessary art deserves to be published and shared. Natalie Vela, one of my long-time writer friends and inspirations, astounded me; despite her writing being in-depth, fiery and important, she didn’t have a book deal. I created Honeyfire and want to work in publishing because there is so much unrecognised talent and so many stories that need and deserve to be told.
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