The Red Sofa Chats: Paper Darts Literary Arts Magazine

A little over a year ago, The Red Sofa Chats started.  Since then, they’ve included many wonderful guests, reminding me yet again of why I love my job.  

Living in quite the literary city, where writers seem to thrive (despite the harsh winters), I realized that none of my guests (to date) shared the same geographical location, i.e. the Twin-Cities.  After today, that will no longer be an issue, as I’m excited to include the founders of Paper Darts Literary Arts Magazine.

Not only is this a gorgeous publication, the writing is equally gorgeous and worth reading!  It’s evident to anyone with a strong eye, that Paper Darts is a work of love – because its founders, Jamie, Regan, and Meghan, don’t care about (or listen to) the naysayers who state publishing is” dead.”  These gals are more interested in contributing to the writing community, to providing additional experiences for writers to get published, to growing the overall atmosphere for magazine publishing.   If you haven’t seen their magazine, go find it.  I promise you won’t regret it.

One additional note, this is the first time a GROUP has been interviewd for the Red Sofa Chats, to which these ladies pulled it off fantastically.    Thank you so much Jamie, Regan and Meghan! 



Jamie Millard is the Co-Editor in Chief and Operations Director of Paper Darts. Having relocated from the south, Jamie embraces the lit and arts community thriving in the Twin Cities. When not working on big picture strategies for Paper Darts, you’ll find her feverishly tweeting behind @PaperDarts.

Personal Twitter: @jjmillard

Regan Smith is the Co-Editor in Chief and Editorial Director of Paper Darts. She lives in Minneapolis and makes rent/candy money working as a librarian and freelance writer. If you buy her shoes, she will probably trade them for beer. If you buy her beer, she will probably drink it. 

Personal Twitter: @regglandsbest


Meghan Suszynski is the Creative Director and Co-Editor in Chief of Paper Darts. She is a freelance graphic designer working from coffee shops in Uptown Minneapolis. 

Personal Twitter: @cloudcarvings




1. Why did you choose to create Paper Darts Literary Arts Magazine?

When we started Paper Darts in August of 2009, the economy was at its worst and the publishing industry, particularly the magazine world, had been on the decline for years. We saw the need for a new literary magazine platform, one that heralded humor, beautiful design, and accessibility without compromising quality. We saw a groundswell of talent from individuals with an “underdog” mentality, and we believed there should be something that showcased their work in a way that people would actually pay attention to. Being young, underemployed, and overly ambitious, we decided to utilize the new DIY technology available and take on this creative revolution through the creation of Paper Darts.

2.  Paper Darts seems to be a work of love, of words, of further developing the Twin-Cities writing and art community.  Was this your goal?  How do you believe Paper Darts will be able to further support and develop these writerly experiences (locally or otherwise)?

Further developing and engaging the TC lit and art community has always been one of our goals, but none of us fully realized just how vibrant the community already was until we actually started actively contributing to it. The goal of any artist or writer is to connect with as wide an audience as possible in as many ways as possible; the harder we work to make people connect with Paper Darts, the easier it is for our contributors to do just that. It seems like a pretty simple formula, but there are a lot of publishers (magazine and otherwise) who are so caught up in their own schtick that they don’t think about what’s benefitting their contributors and the greater community at large.

 3. What are each of you reading right now (for fun)?

JM: Reality Is Broken by Jane McGonigal

RS: Among the Missing by Dan Chaon

MS. The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards by Robert Boswell and Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

4. How do you utilize Twitter? How do you believe it has changed the way we go about publishing literary journals and other periodicals?

We use Twitter to connect with our audience one-on-one and en masse,  and to learn about what other artists are creating. The casual nature of the medium breaks down traditional communication barriers–we’ve been able to build relationships with organizations and individuals that we would have previously considered inaccessible. Media tools have always influenced the publishing world. In order to thrive in an era of new media, any publishing group must adapt their product to embrace new technology and connect with a new type of audience. Just as the printing press increased literature’s accessibility and shaped its form, social media is having a similar influence.

5. If you had a crystal ball, where do you think (or hope) the general world of publishing will be in 5 years?

Self-publishing will be much more common and probably more acceptable. Who knows, DIY magazines like Paper Darts just might explode. One thing is certain. Print is not going anywhere. We are sick of the Chicken Little treatment of the publishing industry. The literary sky is not falling. But we do think this is an exciting time for digital publishing. In five years print wont be the only place to find BIG IMPORTANT LITERATURE. You will find many more writers and artists who use the computer screen–or tablet–as an intended medium. The writer Ander Monson is a good example of this with his book Vanishing Point: Not a Memoir.  He was able to embrace technology and he created something truly mind blowing while commenting on technology at the same time. Wow. We want more of that, please.

6. Do any of you have individual aspirations of getting a book published?  What are you currently working on?

JM: Zero aspirations for writing a book–I’m much more interested in facilitating publishing for others. Ha, I can’t even keep an updated blog–I can’t imagine writing a book!  [Jamie, I TOTALLY know this feeling…lol]

RS: I’ve always had a pathetic dream of getting published. It’ll happen one day, but the definition of book may have to be stretched a little. Like, say to “series of half-finished, quip and pun filled essays about the Nasonex Bee and other weird obsessions.” Yeah, I think I could handle that.

MS:  I hope to find a creative home in artists’ books. I write and I make art. I want to combine those worlds of mine in the future.

As usual, let us know what you think. Do you have any questions that Jamie, Regan or Meghan can answer?  What are your thoughts on the state of today’s magazine and journal publishing?