I think this would help to some degree. I don’t think that recency or name, however, would be as important as would, for instance, some form of search based on the topics the publications cover (e.g. The Billfold — money, The Rabbit Is In — weird). It would also help writers if they could search based on which publication cover fiction, non-fiction, or both. You should really place yourself in the shoes of the writers a lot more and try to understand what kind of publication would they be interested in finding when searching.
I am a writer and I have a hard time scrolling down and trying to figure out what publications are all about. I get tired after so and so many checks and I simply stop scrolling. Infinite scroll is definitely NOT something I would do indefinitely when I have to check everything I want to know in the process. That’s why I think the scroll list doesn’t work well (or equally well) for all unless, of course, the publication already heavily promotes your app — interestingly enough, the publications you mentioned as an example of the ones that had a lot of applicants do just that.
But guess what — I do not need your app to generate response from the writers if that only works when I promote it. It’s promotion that’s doing it and not your app, so what’s the point of using it? Honestly, what? So I end up promoting your app, while you were supposed to help me grow. Instead, I help you grow and not vice versa. I had a much better response when I posted the invite to writers and promoted it on Facebook and Linkedin without even mentioning your app.
I also do not see why it would make sense not to get an email whenever someone applies? I really don’t get your reasoning for this and that’s one of reasons I stop caring about your app. A short notification is not a newsletter, those can be annoying if sent too often, it is about getting the information you want to get asap, since this information is the sole reason why someone would use your app in the first place.
I don’t think you did your research on your persona well. As a user (both a writer and publication owner) I have yet to see a short survey from you even though that should be on the top of your list if you are really interested in understanding your users. Also remember that no negative feedback doesn’t necessarily mean that there is no negative feedback, it could just mean that people don’t care enough to take the time to let you know what they think.
Plus, there is no contact built in your app or any other easy way of letting you know if there are any issues.