By M.A.W.P. student Christopher Smith
I recently came across an article online published by the New York Journal of Books about the success of the small literary publisher. These small publishers are publishing books and journals, online and in print, that feature strong writing in a variety of genres, and they are being read by people that love to read and write literature.
In the M.A.W.P. program, we talk about how smaller presses are the perfect opportunity to get work published. I believe this to be the case after reading this article and seeing the list of small publishers submitting to the Pushcart Anthology each year.
This article was particularly applicable to my class ENG 484: The Art of Revision with Professor Morano. For one assignment, we had to find a couple of literary journals to research as possible places for submission in the future. Why does this matter? Because literary journals that are smaller and independently run are actually doing well in this weakened economy.
Publishers are starting new journals and publishing operations because of the dedicated people who run these presses. These people love literature and are extremely dedicated to their work, often times staying for decades with a journal that they support. They are also aware that things are shifting to a digital publishing format, and many have websites that reflect this change by offering issues and samples on their websites in PDF format. Keyhole Press does something interesting with Twitter—offering followers a digital copy of a book for free simply by tweeting the title to your followers using a Pay-by-Tweet service that they have attached to the book. This is an interesting convergence of social media and literature in the digital age. For now, this seems like a perfect way to spread the word about literature to an untold number of people who may have not known about these presses before.
Editor of Keyhole Press, Gabe Durham, is enthusiastic, “The scene’s doing great. I doubt there have ever been this many great magazines and indie presses running simultaneously, both online and in print, and so many of them are well designed now, too. So it’s a golden age in a lot of ways. . . .”
As we witness Borders closing more and more of its stores due to bankruptcy, seventeen in the state of Illinois alone (five in Chicago), it might be a little too easy to cry that the printed word is dead. This is not the case if these small publishers have anything to say about it.
The Wall Street Journal has a list of all the Borders stores closing.