Literary publishing has moved in new and interesting directions since the internet became a readily-available publishing tool. Much like the sudden advent of print publications in the 60s and again in the 90s when advances in printing made those efforts more cost-effective for small publishers, the internet has had a somewhat democracizing effect on the literary magazine biz. No longer beholden to prohibitive printing costs, writers and writing enthusiasts everywhere are putting on their editor/publisher hats and tossing their work into the ring.
One of the essential differences between online and print publishing is so simple, you may not have thought of it: binding.
Binding, as a concept, not only allows us to cohere items together, but it also dictates permanent sequencing and ordering of materials: while you can flip through the book any way you want, ultimately, the book itself will always be the same physical object.
The internet is not bound, or better to say it is infinitely bound–links can attach pages to each other in any number of ways. This is an opportunity to change the way we think about publishing.
While some people have enjoyed replicating the print journal model on the internet because it is more cost-effective, some editors are finding new ways to present work. No Tell Motel, for instance, uses a “residency” binding structure in publishing poets: five poems from a poet are published in a given week, with a new piece appearing each day so that the entire set are online on Friday. In this model, poets are “checking in” and “checking out” of No Tell Motel, but in the meantime, enriching the audience.
42opus “builds” its volumes and issues over time, posting a new piece every few days or so.
Born publishes multimedia collaborations between artists and writers, adapting literature with audio and visual elements to create entirely new works.
These are just a few examples of innovative publishing being done on the web–but more importantly, it could only be done on the web.
A few years ago, while attending the annual Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference in Austin, I had a big brainstorm. Since the internet is completely decentralized, but because poetry is so tied to communities, colleagues, and place, why not publish work on a place-by-place basis?
And so LOCUSPOINT was born. As “The place of poetry,” it not only publishes work from a specific community or city, it also provides resources for people who want to get more involved in that place.
I hope you’ll take some time to explore the innovative publishing happening on the internet and, better yet, embrace this new way or promoting writing!