I just did something that was long overdue. To implement my plan of getting published, I've started reading literary magazines. I should have done it in the first place but I thought I could get by without so much as glancing at one. But lit mags, as I've come to realize, are the pulse of the publishing world. Everyone worth their salt checks this pulse - agents do it to find new clients and writers look at them obsessively trying to figure out the formula to get one of their submissions in. This is a gross analogy but I guess it's almost like a sperm cell trying to get to the egg before the other billions of sperm tadpoles do.
Lit mags are expensive. They cost almost as much as a regular book. I went to Barnes & Noble in Union Square a few days ago to pick up a few. If I had all the time in the world, I probably would have just stayed there and read whatever I could. But time is scarce and my brain can only process so much literature in one sitting. So I spent almost sixty dollars on the Paris Review, The Glimmer Train, Tin House, The Hedgehog Review (though it's a cultural criticism journal rather than a lit journal/mag) and the Writer's Digest special on getting agents.