World of Publishing

CavanKerry Press

“CavanKerry Press is a not-for-profit literary press serving art and community.”

I must say that I was rather a little shocked by the lack of substance from their mission statement. It was short, vague, cliche and even a little confusing as I have no idea what Lives Brought to Life stands for (is it their slogan? a book?)

But then click on the ‘community’ tab and everything is explained as it states how “community was a bedrock commitment for [them]”. This whole idea of reciprocal giving that they have in mind is not only beneficial to the writer but also the “underserved readers in their own communities” that they end up helping by giving free readings and workshops.

As an avid reader, one of the coolest things that can happen in one’s life is the chance to meet an author and if the stars and the moon happen to align as well, the chance to meet your favorite author is even better!

“We produce books; people need books, but many can’t afford them; we give them free books”

Their intent to outreach to the community is not only honorable but admirable as it keeps in mind the intent to have good reads for those who desire and crave for inspiration. As one scrolls down the ‘community’ tab, the link to GiftBooks is just one of the many ways in which CavanKerry Press keeps in mind the community by donating over 1000 books per year to various groups of people ranging from students to families in shelters to the incarcerated and even the very veterans of our proud country.

The Waiting Room Reader is another way in which CavanKerry Press helps out the community at large by providing high quality poetry and prose in a form of a collected distributed free of charge to hospitals and waiting rooms, designed to help reduce the stress and anxiety of patients and their caregivers waiting for medical care.

Overall, I found the CavanKerry Press to be very interesting as well as a cause worth supporting and submitting.


Publishing Case Study 3

The Paris Review v. The Missouri Review

The Missouri Review: One of the first things that I was drawn to was the free sample of a digital issue. It proved to be a great way of looking at back issue content and I must say that I liked it. In addition, they maintain an “open submission” policy which means they read year round so there’s never a reason not to submit! Then there’s also the poem of the week that gives the spotlight to an author’s work chosen by members of the staff. Upon glimpsing past issues, one can tell that it takes on a modernistic approach in its way of presenting itself. Above all I found its website easy to navigate and explore.

The Paris Review: To be honest, I wasn’t particularly drawn to much of the website’s material. Although they provided a couple of “full text” pieces from several of their issues, I found them to appear very minimal and sporadic to really encourage me to buy an issue. (This is why I liked The Missouri Review better…because they provided a free sample of a digital issue.) As I came to conclude my exploration of its website, I found The Review’s Writers at Work interview series to be something original but also something that has started to be incorporated among the newer and equally as sophisticated literary magazines (ex. Ardor Literary Magazine). That being said, it still doesn’t take anything from the fact that they have found a way of offering “authors a rare opportunity to discuss their life and art at length” and that they have in mind the writers as well as the work they produce.

Publishing Case Study 2

What is the “glue” that holds each of these writing communities together? How would you describe the central values, and how are they articulated by each organization? Give specific examples and quotes from the site to characterize the community. Which do you think is most effective for specific audiences and why?

3rd place: The Southeast Review

Published by Florida State University’s Creative Writing Program, I felt like The Southeast Review was a national literary magazine just like Dogwoods except that it was “edited and managed by its graduate students and a faculty consulting editor”. With a mission to “present emerging writers on the same stage as well-established ones,” it’s aim to hope to attract the general public and provide venues to better improve their writing such as their 30-Day Writing Regiments where they hope to introduce “structure to their writing life, and, at the same time, finding new and innovative ways to approach their craft.”

2nd place: McSweeney’s

Oh, McSweeney’s…If you’re not already in, it’s hard to grasp and get a hold of…at first!

I felt that McSweeney’s online presence was very modern in its approach of presenting its information. By today’s standards, the internet is pretty much a lot of navigating in an unending, shore-less sea. Just when you think you’re bored, you only need a lingering ad or a youtube video to distract you from your original purpose.

But I digress, McSweeney’s is successful because it’s original and it’s unique approach to the publishing world has “attracted work from some of the finest writers in the country,” so clearly that’s a feat that’s not to be overlooked. In the near future, I’m hoping to order an issue and simply be sucked into what it’s all about as “each issue of the quarterly is completely redesigned” and I must say that that’s pretty darn cool if you ask me.

1st place: Creative Nonfiction

I feel that the glue that holds this writing community is the very fact that it “pursues educational and publishing initiatives in the genre of literary nonfiction”. It makes sure to stand out as the main venue of all that nonfiction consists of. Marked by an online presence that is strong and reliable, backing up all that it entails to do, it goes on to be “the singular strongest voice of the genre, defining the ethics and parameters of the field,” with an incentive to make sure the genre’s presence goes on to impact various opportunities through its magazine, advocating good books to read, and taking it upon themselves to set up a mentoring program, provide online classes, and looking to be a part of one’s college education if given a chance (which by the way, I totally think should happen!).

I feel like Lee Gutkind, the founder and editor of Creative Nonfiction, is indeed the proclaimed “Godfather” of the creative nonfiction movement as it seems like he is indeed providing “an indisputable force whose efforts have helped make the genre the fastest growing in the publishing industry”.

Creative Nonfiction is really about making a name out of the genre that it’s whole enthusiasm and work is dedicated for and it’s that kind of value that makes the organization stand out above the rest. I definitely think that it’s the most effective for its specific audience.

Publishing Case Study 1

Which of these literary outlets do you find to be of greatest value, and what criteria are you using to evaluate the publications???

3rd place: HTML Giant

Started in 2008, I found HTML Giant to be very skimpy on its’ ‘about’ details. As I navigated through the site, I kept thinking how basic the website was in comparison to more elaborate ones. Its ‘about’ page stated that it was a “literature blog that isn’t always about literature” and I couldn’t really get a grasp on who their audience was…I felt that it was run and meant to be a simple blog with no real financial concerns.

2nd place: The Rumpus

Launched on January 20, 2009, The Rumpus has 4 years + of experience with a good number of following on Facebook (10,626 likes) and Twitter (31,879 followers). I found The Rumpus to be a little informal and diverse in its topics as it dives into the arts, films, politics, and even sex hoping to reach a general audience. I found the tone to vary depending on the topic that was focused on and as its about page says, “Material doesn’t always fall in step with marketing schedules, breaking news or what’s trending on the Internet.” The Rumpus seems to care about what moves people and “believe that literature is community.” Financially, they are run by a lot of volunteer editors whose enthusiasm in writing propels them to stick by the website. Although advertisements are minimal and their site is kept free, they still pay their managing editor and assistant editor as well as a small fee to writers who read at their events.

1st place: The Millions

Now, The Millions! This is the one that I liked the most. Established in 2003, it has a bunch of twitter followers (144,367) and Facebook likes (8,897). I felt that it was formal in its presentation of information and had reliable sources like The New York Times and NPR saying, “YEAH, THE MILLIONS IS WHERE IT’S AT!” (They didn’t say that but if they could they would). I found its way of generated revenue to support itself financially to be very smart as they had a generous affordable subscription of $1 a month, used a reasonable amount of advertisement, asked for the participation of the community by sharing their articles, and made a good deal with amazon by using their website as a link to buy books, they in turn get a small cut of that percentage. Donations were of course asked as well. This is why I found The Millions to be of greatest value out of the three literary outlets.

If I Were Attending The AWP Conference

The first event that I would attend is entitled “Trying on New Bootstraps: Self-Sustaining Models for Literary Magazines”. It’s description talks about how university-supported literary magazines are becoming “a less viable model” and I feel that since Dogwood falls under that category, it would be interesting to see what other venues for generating support are for the future. Secrets are shared and everyone knows that secrets must be good to be called such.

The second event that I would attend is entitled “Writing Masculinities”. I find this interesting because I feel like there is something new to address as time goes by. Each generation is different and I felt that it was rare when I would read something that addressed it until I read Junot Diaz and how he portrayed the “player” and his psychology as such with interesting short stories that weave into becoming something special and memorable, speaking on behalf of his exploration and what it represents.

The third event that I would attend is entitled “I Didn’t Know I Had It In Me: When Fiction Writers Turn to Memoir”. Everything in the course description described how I felt so I feel obliged to drop the whole thing:

“We always thought we would write fiction; we never intended to write memoirs. But here we are with our memoirs. What happened? Was it the money? Was it a newfound sense of political passion? Or did we simply realize that certain stories-our stories-would work better as memoir? Come find out, and you may be surprised to learn that you too have  a memoir in you.”

It made me remember last year’s Memoir class and it truly did awaken in me a new perspective on tackling how I write my stories. It reminded me that part of what made me eager to become an aspiring writer was that I felt that I had something to say, something that spoke on behalf of who I was. It was during that class that I recalled personal events and actually think about how I would portray it in a captivating, true way. I feel that this event would bring back that strong feeling for memoir and perhaps unlock something that I had always stored.

Reading the “ReviewReview” Newsletters…

The very first sentence in Ms. Becky Tuch’s (founding editor of The Review Review) article was something that I always felt that I knew all along:

“short stories are making a comeback…’Story collections…are experiencing a resurgence, driven by a proliferation of digital options that offer not only new creative opportunities but exposure and revenue as well”

Yahoo! Yippee!

I love short stories so this couldn’t be a better reaffirmation because as much as I love reading a good novel, reading was never so easy as when I was in middle school and the Harry Potter series were poppin’ every year..

I found the article to contain so much good information that I felt that I clicked and wandered about on the links that they provided for each lit mag, publishing house, or resource that they suggest writer’s use. The Grinder for example is a free resource that anyone can use to keep track of their submissions so I’m sure that’s something that I’ll look at more closely sooner rather than later.

One of the links that I had to click was one about a writing retreat in Greece that I had to click to believe and my does it sound good! I wasn’t able to take advantage of studying abroad at Fairfield but who knows, perhaps Greece is the chance to do that and get to write at the same time…

As for one interesting journal that I discovered as a result of all my clicking…it could’ve honestly been anyone but I decided to do The Common because I found it’s mission statement to be simple, honest and delightful to read.

The “Tough Stuff” In Editing

Surprise, surprise!If I read the final edits correctly, I actually did well with the edits that I did for the poetry piece I was assigned. One thing that I strive to be is careful about presenting myself as a professional. I felt that I was able to carry a good conversational tone with the author and that is sometimes hard to do, especially when you’re trying to respect the relationship between the author and his work, his “baby”. If a particular mistake is repetitively spread about the piece, it can sometimes be hard to phrase one’s suggestion in a polite and varied way without sounding annoying:

“Perhaps you would like…”

“This can be read in different ways and I was wondering…”

“Would you consider…”

But hey, that’s the extra step that one as an editor must take to attain that respect that will eventually come around to make the piece stronger and well-polished.

Oh, at least from the pieces I’ve edited, who knew editing with deal with a lot of hyphenating! I can tell you one thing, I sure didn’t, but after a while it’s not that bad…

Looking at the second piece that I had to edit, it was a nonfiction story that was long and at times caused me to doubt that my edits were strong enough. Although that proved to be the case, part of what I saw was my hesitation to take a chance and restructure a sentence especially if it doesn’t sound right to me.

I’m the editor right? I’m allowed to do this?

Part of it is my respect to the author and that reshuffling of words can be a hit to the work displayed.

It will be read differently.

But as an editor, I must make those decisions and always keep in mind to provide it as a suggestion and that in the end, the author will see them and choose what he agrees and disagrees on.