How Publishing Is Rigged You thought it was a meritocracy??

8Sep/11

Another perspective

Offering a different take is Paul Vidich, of The Millions, who makes the claim that there is only one problem related to the decline in consumption of the American short story: there are very few mainstream magazines that publish fiction. In other words, it's not the product, it's the delivery mechanism.

Publish or Perish: The Short Story.

An excerpt:

Is today’s short fiction not as good? Hardly. Why aren’t readers holding up their part of the bargain? The answer, let me suggest, is related to how readers are given the opportunity to read – distribution, in commercial terms.

This other guy, Karl Wenclas, takes a look at the modern literary landscape and sees many of the same problems that I see.

He discusses the lack of quality writing today, and I like the analysis he does of the endings of several stories that were anthologized in Best New American Voices from 2008, 2009, and 2010.

The Literary Story Examined.

In this next link, Wenclas makes the point that writers are writing for themselves, not the masses:

Hitting the Demographic.

Vidich's defense of the quality of today's short story is completely absent. He proposes that the quality of the stories is high, but does nothing to support his claims. Wenclas' empirical study of the endings of the stories in Best New American Voices makes for much more compelling evidence; the crappy quality of the work is right there in front of you, not masked by that arrogant, “Hardly.”

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