“Reading That’s Bad for You,” or: Lessons in Publishing


Ron Charles of the Washington Post reports on Electric Literature, a new bi-monthly magazine that is making lit. mags differently. I’ve noted five lessons about publishing via Electric Literature’s watershed model:

“Amid all the dismal reports about the death of fiction, here’s a refreshingly bold act of optimism: a new bimonthly magazine” that for each issue prints “five great stories that grab you” (1: publish strong content).

“This new magazine is specifically designed for distribution on all platforms. If you’re still enamored of paper, you can own the handsome print version for $10″ or “download the e-version for $5″ (2: publish in different formats).

Publisher and editor-in-chief Andy Hunter (who says, “‘If there’s any kind of hesitation, it’s from people who don’t really believe that a literary publication is viable. We started this publication to prove them wrong. There’s a human need for storytelling that hasn’t gone away just because print is having problems'”) and his co-publisher, Scott Lindenbaum, “put up about 20 percent of the start-up money for Electric Literature and convinced investors to give them the rest” (3: make friends with rich investors who support your art).

Hunter “holds down a day job at an NGO at the United Nations” (4: have a day job / support NGOs).

“‘We insist on being able to pay writers a large fee for their stories'” (5: pay your writers a ton of money to write for your magazine).

Elissa Bassist edits the Funny Women column. She teaches humor writing at The New School and Catapult. Follow her on Twitter, and visit elissabassist.com for more literary, feminist, and personal criticism. More from this author →