Spring Short Story Panel discussion

Wednesday: The Marketplace

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message 1: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Brown | 5 comments Mod
Since I'm sure there's a lot of interest in this, I thought I'd start a thread about the business of short fiction. Ted Genoways, editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review, wrote a well-publicized piece about the diminishing readership of literary magazines and the ever-increasing submissions they receive:


What is your take on the world of literary journals? Do you read them, and if so, which ones do you most value? And how difficult was it for you to publish your story collection? Did you find that publishers were generally more interested in novels?

Lastly, I'm particularly interested in Emma's experience of publishing with two start-up presses (She's recently sold a novel to Riverhead -- who published Danielle's collection! -- but her first two books were put out by relatively new companies).

message 2: by Emma (new)

Emma | 6 comments As you point out, Patrick, I found my way into publication with small (read: VERY small, brand-new) presses. In both cases, mine was the first published book. There were definite positive and negative aspects to that experience, but let me start by saying that the way these two small presses found me was through literary journals.

Literary magazines are funny animals. I was an editor at one for a few years, and saw how out-of-whack subscription rates (very low) are with submission rates (very high.) This, to say the least, is disheartening. Who reads literary journals, after all, if not aspiring writers? I think--and please, feel free to argue with me here--there are a very small number of literary magazines that are read, cover-to-cover. People read Tin House, they read The Paris Review, they read One Story. But it's really hard to get published in those places. And so writers begin to send their work out to places they've never read.

Which I certainly did, though it's terrible to admit it. I started out sending out stories to anywhere and everywhere--in fact, the smaller the better. My goal was to build up my list of publications, and so I sent stories to the slush piles of brand new magazines with tiny staffs, over and over again. I sent in a story to Flatmancrooked, the company that published my novella, Fly-Over State, and it was that story, that went in through the slush pile, that prompted then to ask me to publish the novella a year later. I have some friends who only send stories to the New Yorker and the Atlantic, which I suppose is one way to go about it, but I think the editors at smaller magazines are often in an easier position to say yes, and to help an emerging writer do just that-- emerge.

My collection was published by FiveChapters Books, the print spin-off of www.fivechapters.com, which has published a story a week for the last five years. I was delighted when the publisher approached me about putting out my collection. That's another point for small presses--with no giant corporate bucks, they can do whatever they like, without having to explain their bottom line to shareholders. Does it make certain things more difficult, like distribution? Of course. But I think publishing with a small press also gives you something else, a certain indie boost--everyone likes to feel like they've made a discovery, and like they're helping out an underdog, and I think I've received a certain amount of press due to that.

Also, and I know I am a funny exception here, but in my experience, it was much easier to publish a story collection than a novel. I wrote four novels before the one that just got sold to Riverhead, and only the one story collection, so from my (rather wonky) perspective, it's much easier to publish stories!

message 3: by Valerie (new)

Valerie | 15 comments Sometimes people ask me where they should send a particular story, and I say, "Well, which journals do you love reading?" And they say, "Well, I don't really have time to read journals."

It's a little hard for me to understand why someone would want to publish in a journal they've never read or even seen. But at the same time, there are SO many good journals out there that it would be impossible to keep up with even a modest percentage of them.

A colleague of mine, an English professor, asked me, "Well, isn't that just the way things are going in the 21st century? People are more interested in expressing themselves than reading the work of others?" He asked it in a tone that suggested there was nothing wrong with this trend. Maybe there isn't. But for me, writing is still fundamentally an act of communication. I'm primarily interested in technique, in *how* stories get communicated from one mind to another. So I get a little sad when I think about the prospect of having more writers than readers.

To me, each journal represents a community of readers and writers, people who share some common interests and tastes in literature/culture. My approach is to subscribe to and read 6-7 journals regularly (not cover to cover, but at least a few selections from each issue), and to make a point of dipping into another 10 or so every few months. And then I dip into 20-30 others every once in a while. I try to talk with friends about what journals they love and why, and this helps me keep up with some others. When I read a collection or anthology I love, I check to see where those stories were first published.

It takes time. For writers starting out, it will take a while to get a clear sense of different journals. That's why it's good to have writing friends and forums like Goodreads or facebook, so you can pick up news about journals from others.

message 4: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Brown | 5 comments Mod
Valerie wrote: "A colleague of mine, an English professor, asked me, "Well, isn't that just the way things are going in the 21st century? People are more interested in expressing themselves than reading the work of others?" He asked it in a tone that suggested there was nothing wrong with this trend. Maybe there isn't. But for me, writing is still fundamentally an act of communication. I'm primarily interested in technique, in *how* stories get communicated from one mind to another. So I get a little sad when I think about the prospect of having more writers than readers."

This is a very interesting point, and of course, it raises the question of how you decide what is worth reading. When there is more published online in a single day than you can ever hope to read in a lifetime, how do you decide what to read next (be that a book, an article, a story...)? I think the answer for me has always been "my friends." I like to think I surround myself with bright people, and when one of them recommends something to me, that carries a lot of weight.

message 5: by Valerie (new)

Valerie | 15 comments Following up on the other part of Patrick's question about the difficulty of publishing a story collection, I would say it is definitely a long-shot these days to get a story collection published by a major press. Some presses are having more luck publishing collections in paperback originals -- like HarperPerennial, which is publishing my collection and has put out some amazing collections over the past few years. But for the most part story collections, like poetry, are moving to smaller independent presses. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. As Emma pointed out, readers like to feel that they're making a discovery with a small press, and small presses sometimes have the ability to focus more attention on collections -- which may not earn back a ton of money but are still vital to our culture.

I think story collections are a hard sell on the market in part because it's difficult to *talk* about a story collection in brief. Unless the stories are very linked, you can usually see how reviewers struggle to create a coherent picture/summary of what a particular collection is up to. That makes it harder for word of mouth to spread about story collections. And also, as one of my former teachers, the beautiful story writer Peter Ho Davies, once told me, "At the end of a novel chapter we should generally want to turn the page and get to the next chapter. But a good story tends to leave you with a certain *sated* feeling, and you kind of want to close the book and savor it." The problem is, it's easy then to not open it again. People stay up all night reading novels. Story collections, not so much.

It sounds silly, but one simple thing we can all do to increase our odds of getting a story collection published is... buy more story collections. Prove publishing executives wrong. Show them that there IS an audience for story collections. It sounds like the people in this group are already doing that. But spread the word!

One thing that I liked, though, about writing my story collection, as opposed to my novel, was that I feel strongly that the audience for story collections is a sophisticated, fairly specific audience. So in the editing process, when I came up against those questions of, "Will the reader get this or do I need to spell it out?" -- with my novel I wasn't sure, but with my story collection I could easily figure, "Yeah. These are smart readers. They'll get it. They're my people."

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

I think my perspective is a bit different because I've published almost exclusively online, and that's also where I read. When I was a new writer, not coming from an academic setting, I had no idea if I was on the right track- getting a yes from a publisher- word riot, flashquake, smokelong quarterly- felt like a thumbs up. I was very happy to get that bit of encouragment. I read stories in the places I submit because that's my kind of short fiction and I like it. I also find writer friends at writer's groups, like Zoetrope- that's where I met Roy Kesey and Matt Bell and Randall Brown and a couple of other short story writers I love.
At this point, I wouldn't try to put a collection together- I don't think flash fiction is best read this way. Like eating a single truffle, rather than a boxful, and online magazines serve up the single truffle. But maybe that's because I've excused the short fiction from the burden of trying to bring money in. The short stories get a pass, they get to just be themselves, like little gifts to the world, and I write romances for the money. (I like the romances I write as well, but don't read much in that genre.)

message 7: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 16, 2011 10:11PM) (new)

I tried to shape these into a more coherent and organized post, but there are a lot of different issues at play here, and so I have a (Long! Sorry! I had to make it 2 comments!) series of related but disconnected thoughts.

1) I love good literary magazines for much the same reason I love good story collections: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. There’s something nice about reading something that’s a collection of disparate things, but shaped by a particular and reliable editorial sensibility. It also must be said that many literary magazines are physically beautiful objects. Almost as exciting as seeing my first story in print was seeing the first time I saw my story in a magazine that had commissioned original art to go with it. I worked in a Borders for a little bit, and the saddest days of my job, sadder even than the days when I missed the bus and had to take a cab to work and therefore spend half a day’s pay before I’d even gotten there, were the days when we had to remainder the unsold periodicals. They couldn’t be returned to their publishers, and employees couldn’t keep them because it was considered employee theft, so we had to strip the covers off, magazine by magazine, and throw them out. I wanted to be rich enough to buy them all and pass them out to people in the street, because a good magazine, like a good story, sucks you into a universe that is richer and better than the one you’ve imagined. I’m all for ejournals and even short stories on ereaders as a way of making stories more accessible, but I’d hate to lose print magazine culture altogether. I know I am part of the problem there: at one point I’d had 5 addresses in 4 years, and subscribing to anything wasn’t worth it except as a potential gift to a future tenant, so I’m just now feeling settled enough to start subscribing to journals. I have always made a point of buying magazines from the bookstore, and I’ve been lucky enough to always work in a context where magazines were around, in some form or another— every MFA program with which I’ve been affiliated has subscribed to dozens of journals and made them available in some kind of common space—so I get to keep up with some journals that way.

2) I am not morally concerned about people submitting to journals they haven’t read, although it doesn’t seem like an ideal strategy. I am more concerned about people who read journals, but read them in a purely mercenary way, which may be a depressingly large segment of the audience in some cases. A good story sneaks around your defenses, but it still seems to me that approaching every story as if you are a combatant and it is a potential rival is a limiting way of reading. A short story is not a blueprint for literary success. Any magazine you’re primarily reading to figure out how to get published in, you should probably stop reading. If that leaves no magazines you want to read, then either you’re way ahead of the cultural curve and should think about ways to create your own space to share your work (and, because the internet has no sarcasm font, I want to be clear that I genuinely mean that), or, you need to consider that if no outlet for contemporary short fiction resonates with you or brings you any joy beyond imagining your name in lights, short fiction may not be your genre.

3. Anyone thinking of writing short fiction as a path to fame and fortune should consider that in the world of short-fiction writing, Fame, loosely translated, means that if you are very lucky and your work finds an audience and some critical recognition, you will win the hearts of a relatively small audience of loyal and committed readers, and there will be a larger audience who remain substantially unaware or indifferent, and a tiny but vocal contingent of people who really really hate you or your work, and you will get invited lots of places and sometimes you will go because you want to and sometimes you will go because you have to and sometimes you will want to go but have to say no because you have made more promises than you can keep and you haven’t slept or written in days and so you will start saying no to more and more people including people you love and people you admire and people you owe favors and people you are amazed even know your name and people who send you 3rd and 4th requests because their initial requests got lost in your inbox and you don’t even remember who was asking you for what in order to do an inbox search, so every day you will feel like you are disappointing someone, and meanwhile in your actual day to day existence, no one except your friends and family and colleagues will particularly know or care who you are except for the one guy on the train who won’t stop looking at you one day, and who, just when you are getting uncomfortable with his staring, will hold up the style section of the local paper to show you he’s been comparing you to your picture, making you feel slightly guilty for mean-mugging him, and Fortune, loosely translated, means that if you have a good agent AND a well-situated and generous publishing house AND a day job with a decent salary and health benefits, then after you pay your bills and taxes and living expenses and debt from the years when you did not have a book deal or a decnet-paying day job, once a month or so you will be able to treat yourself to a nice luxury expense along the lines of a spa mani-pedi or a fancy dinner, unless it is a month in which you had to use your credit card to book travel two months in advance but your reimbursements and speaking fees for the travel you’ve already done haven’t come in yet to allow you to pay off the credit card bill, in which case you might seriously ponder what happens if you get to the fancy hotel they’ve booked you in for your next visiting writer gig and they ask for a credit card for incidentals and you don’t have one. I am saying all that to say: all of that is only awesome if you are doing it in the context of something you genuinely love. There are easier and more direct ways to actually become famous or wealthy.

message 8: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 16, 2011 10:08PM) (new)

4) I think the thing that’s saddest about the time people put into trying to figure out how to game the system is that especially at the level of magazines, the system is all but ungameable. I have been part of a lot of selection processes at multiple levels, and there have always always been more wild cards than you can ever imagine. There are so many different kinds and levels of screening processes, so many ways in which tastes can vary from reader to reader or year to year or day to day. You can make yourself dizzy trying to determine who is most likely to publish what, or you can just work on developing your own aesthetic and editorial sensibilities so that your faith in your work doesn’t wildly fluctuate with every acceptance and rejection. Once, in graduate school, I decided it would be good to have a publishing credit. In my laziness/self-doubt, I decided to pursue the path of least resistance: I’d read several issues of a particular magazine featuring what I thought were mediocre stories on a particular topic, so I sent them what I thought was a good story on the same topic. Y’all see where this is going, right? I didn’t learn my lesson, so I sent them another story on the same topic. Rejection, again. At that point I realized that it wasn’t that they were publishing mediocre fiction for lack of good fiction, it was that our tastes differed, and I was being disrespectful to both myself and the magazine. Another time, when I had started sending out work consistently (more on that later), I got a really lovely handwritten and specific rejection from the editor of a prominent magazine, encouraging me to submit again. I tried to be strategic about it: I chose a story that was like the story he’d liked, but that seemed to me more in keeping with the magazine's mission statement and the stories I’d read from it. Within days of mailing the second story, I got a form letter, which seemed to me like it had to be the bottom tier of form rejection, because it included the line “please read our magazine before submitting again,” with an emphatic “Sorry!” written in the same handwriting as the previous encouraging note. My attempts to play psychic had apparently resulted in me sending the editor a story he hated so much that he seemed to think he’d been mistaken in his initial enthusiasm.

5) How I got published: Part 1. For a long time I was relatively shy about sending out work. It didn’t feel especially urgent. In graduate school, I’d sent out one story to a magazine I’d read and liked the morning after sleeping off a hangover on a friend’s couch, and I had gotten no response whatsoever, which I figured meant they were either disorganized, or eternally ambivalent, or so disgusted with my work they wouldn’t waste paper on a rejection, and I’d sent those two stories to the magazine I thought was potentially an easy mark, and maybe one or two other stories here or there. After graduate school I resolved to be a lot more disciplined and proactive about sending work out. Usually I tell people semi-sarcastically that this is because I had free mailing privileges, and that’s not entirely false—I have a tremendous anxiety concerning postage—but the actual and equally ridiculous reason is that I had just had my hear rather thoroughly broken, and feeling rather low on other options, I resolved to become a more famous writer than the heartbreaker. I think the plan went something like 1) Submit stories to good journals 2) Wait for fame and fortune 3)Wait for groveling apology from heartbreaker who has recognized your awesomeness and seen the error of his ways 4) Laugh at groveling apology; flounce off with book deal. And Unicorn. And James Franco. Maybe sing High on Cruel in a karaoke bar.

This plan, you may gather, has some flaws. It is the sort of thing a 13-year-old would come up with. I suspect this plan may actually be the plot of Legally Blonde, though I can’t be sure, because I’ve never seen it all the way through. There are major logical flaws, starting with the fact that if you are at least loosely committed to remaining within the general bounds of the law and human decency, you can’t really get revenge against a person who does not care about you, because people who do not care about you do not care, they do not care about here or there, they do not care about you anywhere, they do not care you in a box, they do not care about you with a fox, etc, etc. Your success, which you intend as a soul crushing blow to the ego, will be greeted by such a person with at best, indifference, at worst, genuine enthusiasm.

But for all of its flaws? That plan worked. I mean not the part involving the apology, or the unicorn, or James Franco. But the part where just kind of systematically sending work out to magazines I’d read and liked, and, with the aforementioned exception, not really being particularly strategic about it beyond paying attention to reading periods and page limits and basic submission guidelines resulted in me getting my first publication almost right away, and developing some positive relationships with editors and magazines? That part totally worked. I think in part it was useful that my head was completely somewhere else that whole year, because the fact that what Fancypants Quarterly thought of me on any given day had nothing on what so-and-so thought of me on any given day actually allowed me to be uncharacteristically chill about the whole submission process. All of my energy that I would have used for neuroses and righteous indignation and overanalysis of rejection letters and self-loathing and obsession and crying on a ball in the floor was already busy worrying about a different situation I couldn’t control, and sending work out became a thing I did, without attaching any particular emotional significance to it. Meanwhile I kept writing and working and editing and no longer felt like once I’d sent a story out I couldn’t touch it until it came back to me. In general, I am not a fan of compartmentalization. I’m not good and it and I don’t particularly value it as a life skill. But in this particular arena, I am all for it. Keep your work safe from your hustle, insofar as it is possible. If you need to turn your professional writing life over to your inner thirteen year old, do it. Just get her to keep her lip-glossy little hands off your actual work.

6) How I got published: Part 2. I met my agent at Iowa, and she was very enthusiastic about my work, but advised that it would be best to try to sell the stories as a package deal with a novel. Since I was working on a novel, and being overambitious, I said something like “Sure! I will have you a novel in a year!” Instead I spent the year editing and revising the short story manuscript I’d given her. I was somewhat sheepish about actually confessing this, but when I finally did, my agent agreed that the work I’d done had made the stories sharp enough to try to sell them on their own. She asked for a few months to try to place one of the stories with a bigger name magazine, and that happened unbelievably quickly. We were then able to sell the book as part of a two book deal later that fall. That also happened unbelievably quickly. It was a relatively painless process (See point 4: wild cards; serendipity), but it didn’t feel particularly easy, in terms of writing time or work or the emotional rollercoaster of having your private work in this very public arena. I don’t know how categorically easy or not easy it is to sell a collection, so I’ll defer to the experts on collections being harder to sell, but I know that for me personally it would have been harder to sell a novel in 2007 because I didn’t have a novel in 2007, and there would have been no upside to trying to force what I had into becoming a bad one. Part of my confidence in feeling ready to go forward came from having an awesome agent, and having writer friends to talk things through, but a lot of it was just a matter of finally feeling like I was in a place as a writer where I could trust my own aesthetic judgments and feel ready to stand by them: the novel wasn’t ready. The stories, to my mind, were.

message 9: by Alan (new)

Alan Heathcock | 8 comments Mod
First off, Danielle’s response is possibly the greatest thing I’ve read in years. Big smiles on that one.

Second, this is easily the topic I feel least comfortable with discussing and the one in which the most people have interest. And I think that says it all—I’ve found people rabidly interested in being published, but not as much in the writing itself. I also feel like when I do talk about this stuff I come off as smug. So here’s the deal: I’m going to just be straight with you all and tell you what I think. Danielle made me brave (ha). Of course, what I think is based on decisions I’ve made for my own career and may have no value to you. And that’s fine (with me, at least—ha)

I’ll start with a little anecdote. I first started writing because I loved the craft. I loved stories and finding words to tell them. When I got into grad school I found everybody sending out manuscripts, scrabbling about in the rat race that is story publishing. It felt like a race. If someone got a story published, it felt like they were getting ahead of me. So I scrabbled right along with everybody else, sending out madly, getting rejections by the handfuls. Then something happened. I got a story accepted, and by a pretty darn good journal. But here’s the problem: I reread my story (which they’d had for like nine months), and was horrified to find that the story wasn’t very good. In fact, it stunk. I knew it stunk because I’d been on a reading binge and when compared to Joyce and Hemingway and Rick Bass, Flannery O’Conner and Denis Johnson, et al, I wasn’t even close. Not. Even. Close. It wasn’t even the best story from my little grad. school workshop. And this story was going to have my name on it. People (a few at least) might read it. I felt like I’d lost something, and I wrote the editors and asked them if I could revise the story significantly, and maybe have it in a future issue (beyond the issue for which it was accepted). The editor was a little offended. “But I accepted it because I thought it was good enough for our journal,” he said. He wouldn’t budge. So…I did a crazy thing--I pulled the submission. It made the editor mad. It made my friends think I was nuts. It changed the way I viewed things.

For a long time I had a little note card taped to my computer that read, “This is not a race.” I switched my business model to noticing some of the authors I most admired didn’t publish a lot. Harper Lee had only one book. Marilynne Robinson had only a few books in thirty years of writing. Conversely, I had a friend who’d published 30 or so mediocre stories in the span of a couple of years and still couldn’t get a book deal. So I held my ground. I would only publish work I felt represented the highest standard I could, based on my understanding of the standards, abide. Again, I know this sounds smug, but I’m trying to be honest. This is how it went down. I don’t talk about this stuff unless people ask and I hate when they do because it makes me sound like a crazy person and it just bums everyone out. But…

I’ve only published six stories. That’s it. Six. I’ve been in some of the best journals and magazines (VQR, referenced in the question, being one of them), have been anthologized, won a National Magazine Award. My work’s been translated into seven languages, I’ve gotten to travel all over the place, have met great people, all over six published stories. Six. Six stories in sixteen years of writing. I've written MANY more than six, but six is all I decided to publish. That’s all. Six. But I’ve never had to solicit an agent, as the agents contacted me. We sent my manuscript to one publisher, our top choice (Graywolf Press), and they took it. No two book deals. No, “Where’s the novel?” clause. The book, even as a collection of stories, is selling really well, getting reviewed all over (including the NY Times), is a Barnes and Noble Best Book of the Month, a NPR Book We Love. I was told over and over and over that story collections don’t X and can’t Y and won’t get Z, that there’s a bias, and people won’t read stories for A and B and C, and, and, and…

I just tried to write the best book I could. I focused for a very very very long time on the product. The art. The craft. On keeping the horse before the cart where it belongs. I’m not really even giving anyone advice here. This is just my story. That said, this IS the advice I’d give my children if they someday want to become writers. It’s not a race. We’re not measured in quantities. I feel the business model I’ve followed has paid itself out. And that model is simple: write something that comes from deep inside you, a story no one else could tell better than you, and be patient enough to find the exact right words to bring that story in all its glorious insight to full and potent life.

Then…send it out.

message 10: by Valerie (new)

Valerie | 15 comments Danielle, to point #2 above, Hear Hear!!

message 11: by Valerie (new)

Valerie | 15 comments And to Alan also, I couldn't agree more. It's not a race, and there is no winning. There is only the work, page by page, and the greatest satisfactions always come there at the desk, alone, after an honest day's work. Anything else that happens to your stories/novels is just gravy. But in my experience, no accolades or publications or pay checks ever feel as good as finishing something you truly believe is good.

"High productivity in commerce and industry may be fine, but in art, no. The arts, as Kierkegaard noted, have a tendency to turn all values upside down. The artist often looks and feels like a loser or a child or ‘haunted slave and helpless master’; the words and the paint and the notes often come hard or not at all to her, and when she wins anything she often looks upon the winnings with the gravest suspicion, as if they’re given out by fools. The Kierkegaardian artist harbors a deep suspicion of the world in general and prizes in particular.”– Charles Baxter, “Losers”

message 12: by Alan (new)

Alan Heathcock | 8 comments Mod
From Valerie:"Anything else that happens to your stories/novels is just gravy. But in my experience, no accolades or publications or pay checks ever feel as good as finishing something you truly believe is good."

Amen to that!! Well said!

Oh, and Charles Baxter is the smartest (and coolest) man alive.

message 13: by Valerie (new)

Valerie | 15 comments Re: Charlie: Indeed.

message 14: by Charles (last edited Mar 17, 2011 01:00AM) (new)

Charles Bechtel (chalieb) Thirty odd years ago, when I admitted I was a writer despite wherever I was employed to do, I decided that every paycheck would buy a hardback. That has often been two a month, and that comes to about $750 a year. That's much less than what my wife spends on cigarettes. It's barely 2% of an annual average salary. How can we rail against an industry that we fail to support? It's reported that there are over 30,000 graduates of writing programs. There's another 200,000 English majors. That can add up to a lot (5,520,000) of literary book purchases. How many of us buy 24 hardbacks, retail, a year?

message 15: by Emma (new)

Emma | 6 comments I do think it's telling that this section seems to have the longest comments--even though we all write because we need to, because we couldn't really do something else and be happy--the idea of "the marketplace" does loom large. I think your story about pulling an accepted submission, Alan, is incredible. It is inspiring to hear how people move at different paces, and how different goals can be. I think Danielle's point about serendipity comes back here--both with my story collection and the recent sale of my novel, I felt completely surrounded by serendipity, like I was riding inside Lady Gaga's protective egg. It's difficult to find champions--agents, editors, mentors--but when I have, there is a feeling of inevitability, like those relationships were there along and I just had to discover them, to appear at the right moment. I think whether your goal is to sell a million copies of your book or to only publish things that you think are absolutely flawless, the real desire is the same--we all want to communicate something with a reader, or to process something on the page, and hopefully to have a reader undergo a similar process as well. I shouldn't say 'we'--that's my desire, and I do think it has to do with the idea of a marketplace.

I also totally agree with the several people above who mentioned how much they adamantly support story collections, and hardcover books. I try to buy books by every writer I know, and to support the smaller presses and houses that really need the support. Go team! We are all in this together, after all.

message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks, Alan, and what a great quote, Valerie.

Emma, I love what you say about writing as an act of communication. I think part of the reason for the longer comments on this topic, at least on my part, is that I understand way more about how I read and how I got published than I do about how I write. I can tell you often how a story I tried to write failed, or why I was stuck for a particular period of time, but when writing is working, it always feels a bit like magic, and trying to explain how it happened as if it were a deliberate and calculated process makes me feel a little bit like I'm inventing a fraudulent theory, and/or explaining a joke.

message 17: by Dawn (new)

Dawn | 7 comments This thread is full of so many wonderful interesting thoughts it would take me hours to respond with anything comparatively insightful.

I will say that I totally concur with Charles' thoughts re: adamantly supporting story collections and books with cold hard cash on the regular. I buy paperbacks though--not a huge fan of hardcovers.

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