for teens, by teens

Canvas Teen Literary Journal is published quarterly in print, ebook, web, video, and audio formats.

Nina Alvarez
founding publisher of CANVAS 


"Magazine publishers are responsible for making their publications an editorial and commercial success. They define the editorial position and manage business operations so that the magazine provides readers with high quality content while maximizing revenue and profit. Magazine publishers must have a good knowledge of the marketplace and strong editorial experience." - Duties of a Magazine Publisher


As of February 2015, Nina Alvarez is stepping down from her role as publisher and advisor of Canvas to allow other people the opportunity of guiding and shaping the magazine. From its inception, Canvas Publisher Nina Alvarez oversaw the entire magazine, its teen lit board, and its finances. She trained 12 members of the teen board in every aspect of publishing: from copy editing according to Chicago Style, the industry standard in publishing; to the very involved steps of ebook and print book layout; to the technical and written aspects of publishing the Canvas newsletter and maintaining our website; to planning, promoting, and hosting events, book sales, and readings; to community outreach, cover design, email communications, running successful meetings, and working as a team while defining and honing personal niches. Though Canvas publishes quarterly, the work we do requires nearly constant communication, quick reaction, and ongoing mentoring online and face-to-face: sometimes in groups, often one-on-one.


Canvas as Apprenticeship Program

Publishing is an apprenticeship field. If you're lucky, you find a publication willing to train you in how they do things. But jobs are not easy to come by and, what's worse, publishing and editing skills are not taught in most English programs. These young people who love books and language graduate with no practical training for work within their wheelhouse. Most have to take jobs far afield from their passion, talent, and sense of purpose. This is neither acceptable nor fair.

Through Nina's work with Canvas, the teen board members received actual hands-on training in the practical, strategic, and aesthetic demands of being a curator and publisher of the literary arts. This required a mentor with the ability to combine editing and publishing know-how with teaching skills, as well as the desire to dedicate hundreds of hours over the course of the year. Combine this with the support and resources of Writers & Books and the immense talent of the teen board, and you get Canvas, one of the fastest-growing high-quality magazines on the student literary scene


Editing, Publishing, and Writing

Nina has a master's degree in English from the University at Albany '03. From 2005 to 2010 she ran Inconundrum Press, a small publishing company. She has worked as a professional copyeditor, copywriter, designer, and arts blogger. Since 2007, she has been a manuscript editor and publishing consultant with her author services business Dream Your Book. In 2010, Nina founded Follow Your Bliss, an online magazine on self-development and finding right livelihood. 

She has been interviewed in Rochester Business Journal, Democrat and Chronicle, and on WXXI 1370's "How Do You Do That" with Evan Dawson about self-publishing. She has also been interviewed on "The Life's Dash with Michelle Mattia" about Follow Your Bliss.

Nina's poetry and short fiction have been published in numerous literary journals and her first play "The Life of Leo Wool' was produced by the Greater Rochester Repertory Company in 2013. Nina has participated for two years in the 24-Hour Plays during Rochester's Fringe Fest and her short play "Type Writer" was accepted into Geva's 2 Pages/2 Voices festival in 2015. She has been a featured reader at the Naples Land Trust Festival (2004) and read her work at Brockport's Different Path Reading Series in October 2014. 



Nina began teaching English in 2002 at Finger Lakes Community College and Monroe Community College, where she won the Alice Young fellowship for talented teachers. She is now a teaching artist with Writers & Books, specializing in teen intensive writing, as well as adult classes in traditional publishing and self-publishing. She received the 2014 Writers & Books Big Pencil Award for her work as a teacher of young people who has inspired the creation and appreciation of literature.



To contact Nina Alvarez, email

© Canvas Literary Journal 2016
Writers & Books
Rochester, NY