Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Where are LitMags Going?

I think the three readings for today should be ranked as different points along a spectrum. Ultimately the question is do we keep literary magazines alive? The Wet Asphalt article says yes, but change it up a bit in format, but keep it in print. Jodee Stanley's commentary says maybe they should go online and try new things. The Harpoonist piece is all for the destruction of the printed magazine and perhaps even the concept of the anthologies created by litmags.

I am wholeheartedly in agreement with the article in Wet Asphalt. Why can't literary magazines look more like magazines? Once a month glossies would surely be cheaper and you'd get around the marketing problem. Fill it with just enough in the way of poems and short stories to get a reasonable length and incorporate some artistic photography to make use of that glossy paper. Charge about $5 an issue and you could, theoretically, make some money. Stanley believes printed magazines can co-exist peacefully alongside web-based counterparts, and I have no objections to that idea either.

In fact, I really don't take any offense until the Harpoonist piece tells me that literary magazines are dead. Someone is clearly still buying them. People are still interested. Internet-based collections may be the way to go, but leaving each writer to their own devices publishing-wise is not the best plan for the literature of the future. Maybe I'm just lazy, but I'm not going to seek out every "brilliant, strange, new, marginalized writer with a Blogger account" that wants to be heard.

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