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End o' Year - Updates and Stuff

Hey everyone,

I made a video a few nights back, but it's too long and I don't feel like re-shooting it. I also looked like the walking dead.

The end of the year is when I look back at what works and what didn't work. Right after the holidays, we're jumping into production mode on Issue 4, but I'm also starting school again and traveling to Philadelphia for AWP. So some things will need to change––for the better. However, more things have worked than not worked, which makes me feel good. Five South’s success is entirely due to all of you, your dedication, and your all-out loveliness. You’re literally the most remarkable people I have had the pleasure of working with.

Looking back at 2021, I've put many personal projects on hold, but it's been worth it. Five South is finally at a place where I don't have to constantly operate the machine and work 12–14-hour days. I also realize I’ve spent a lot of time rallying the troops, training, and trying to get people excited about the journal. We finally have an incredible team in place, so I can now afford to back off a bit. I’ll still be checking in daily, but I’ll be stepping down as motivational coach. This means I won’t be doing The Week Ahead Videos every week. Less than 50% of you watch them, and most don’t get around to watching until later in the week, defeating the purpose of looking at the week ahead. Also, gathering data and recording the video takes about half a day. I will still post regular updates and cool things on Slack and the Portal. If you ever want hard numbers, all you have to do is ask.

All readers are required to read 10-20 pieces per week. I see many of you coming in at eight or less per week. I’m happy you’re reading, but if you can’t make the goals, you have to let me know. I don’t want to babysit or hover, but we have something like 600 pieces in the slush, and only 50% of the team is currently reading due to school, obligations, and the holidays. We owe it to our readers and submitters to read at a steady pace.

Not reading for two consecutive weeks without checking in will result in a no-questions-asked dismissal. I’ll assume you’re ghosting. I’m sorry to be stern about this, but there must be some accountability. This is the policy. It’s in the reader handbook and has been effective for months. If all readers read ten pieces per week, we’d get through 400+ submissions per month and I’d feel comfortable scheduling more free windows. As it is, it’s more like 30 per week. Not to be harsh, but it defeats the purpose of having 11 readers if we’re not making tracks.

Monthly staff meetings are now set in stone: 1st Thursday of the month at 4 pm PST. If you can make it, great. If not, we’ll miss you. I know this time doesn’t work for everyone, but generally, they end up being this time anyway when we do the Need to Meets. I will continue to take notes for those in parts of the world where the time doesn’t work out.

The Weekly Team and Poetry Dept. should discuss separate meetings and how often we get together.

The podcast is dead. If that’s all I had to do, it would be simple. However, the podcast is a full-time job, and I don’t have the time anymore. So kill your darlings, as they say. We will continue to have audio at the site and I will work on those as I can. They will ultimately be less produced, but hopefully better than the audio I hear at other journals-which is just raw audio, no-frills. Audio may not always go up exactly when the piece does, but I'll try my best. I love the audio and for now, it stays.

Due to the chaos of supply chain, the print anthology is now indefinitely on hold. We can get an edition printed, but the current pricing has made it unaffordable. I will likely start on a digital e-book version after Issue 4. It’ll be nice, although digital is not ideal.

And that’s all. Thank you all for reading, being here, for being your fabulous selves and for making this lovely journal worth it. I could not do it without you and I am grateful you’re here every day. See you on Slack. If you need clarification on any of these, please ask ;)

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