Interview with Kelly Hartog, Founding Editor of Scribblers on the Roof (Part Three)

Welcome to the third part of our multi-post interview with Kelly Hartog, founding editor of Scribblers on the Roof, an online forum for Jewish fiction and poetry. The first and second segments appeared earlier this week.

Erika Dreifus (ED): What plans do you have for the site that we may not yet know about?

Kelly Hartog (KH): I’m currently working with a few relevant online sites to work on collaborative efforts, cross-promotion and building that community I spoke of earlier. I’m also working on putting together blog tours and highlighting debut authors – first published novels with Jewish themes. So if you’re out there, let me know! I’m excited about including podcasts (and am already negotiating with someone about posting her podcasts on our site). Right now these are still works in progress, so I can’t really say much more at this point.

I’m also planning to hold a competition. We already have some amazing established writers who have expressed interest in judging a fiction or poetry competition. It won’t happen until we can raise the funds to pay the winners something more than a token sum, though. Writing original work for a competition is tough and I know how much work it is. I don’t want to shortchange our writers, so hopefully we will one day be able to do that.

ED: Speaking of paying writers…how does Scribblers on the Roof compensate its contributors?

KH: Right now there is no financial compensation for writers (or for the editor!). I truly hope that will change in the future and that that will happen sooner rather than later. For now, Scribblers offers writers the opportunity to have their work published on a site that is open to all. The more outlets writers have to publish their work, the better, and there just aren’t a lot open to writers with Jewish themes. We are not a print publication; there is no fee to join; you don’t have to purchase a literary mag or be part of some literary circle to read the work.

I am based in Los Angeles, but already we have had writers – Jewish and non-Jewish on the site from England, Australia and Israel as well as the United States. Our writers have a chance to connect with their peers globally, and that, I believe is invaluable. Writing is such an isolated profession; it’s wonderful to know that people out there in the Internet ether are reading and commenting on your work. Note, I don’t mention the word “exposure.” As a writer, I am sick of people saying,” We can’t pay you, but you’ll get great exposure.” As someone smart once said: “People die from exposure.” Again, Scribblers is about creating community, first and foremost.

Please come back tomorrow for the conclusion of our multi-part interview with Kelly Hartog.