Tin House Two
July 11, 2010 § 3 Comments
Some have called it coercion, others appreciate the effort to help the indie bookstores, and a few commenters felt conflicted.
Yes, people who submit to lit mags often don’t support literary magazines, or indie bookstores, as much as we’d like them to, and that’s truly frustrating, but is it right to demand it of them?
In an effort to keep it fair, let’s take a minute to hear from Tin House editor Rob Spillman, who sounds quite reasonable, and clear-headed explaining his motivation in an e-mail to the folks at CLMP (the professional association of literary magazines and presses).
From Rob Spillman’s e-mail:
As the editor of Tin House, I thought I would weigh in with some comments of my own:
At the magazine, we receive, on average, 1,500 submissions every month. We actively encourage unsolicited submissions. In each issue we publish at least one unpublished fiction writer and one poet. We’ve been doing this since Issue #1, forty-five issues and eleven years ago.
At the book division, we have become overwhelmed with unsolicited submissions and had to stop reading them.
We believe that there are more people who want to be published in literary magazines and small presses than there are people buying these magazines and books.
This program is not meant as the solution. There is no one solution.
This is a temporary trial, which will expire January 1, 2011.
If we try this again, it might be with library cards. We love libraries and realize the assault they are under.
We are trying to start a dialogue.
When I dropped out of school and moved to New York with no money but with dreams of starting a literary magazine, I spent a lot of time at the Strand Bookstore weighing book purchases versus Top Ramen. The book almost always won.
Our haiku suggestion was tongue in cheek. It was not meant to be condescending.
If other publishers have other ideas, we’re all ears.
To those who question our tone, I understand. To those who question our intent, I can only reply that I’m sorry that you don’t know me or Tin House better.
Personally, I believe that the static publishing system needs to be shaken up, that we need some fresh ideas. Why not try something new? And approach it in the spirit of fun? As Emma Goldman said, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.”
… Happy Independence Day,