November/December 2012

Our annual Independent Publishing Issue features a special section on a new generation of small presses that is changing the way we think about books, plus a profile of novelist Louise Erdrich, an interview with graphic novelist Chris Ware, an essay on backstory by Benjamin Percy, practical advice from agent Rebecca Gradinger, and more.


Never the Same River Twice: A Profile of Louise Erdrich

by Kevin Nance
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Even longer than Louise Erdrich's bibliography, which stands at twenty-eight books, including her new novel, The Round House, is the author's to-do list.

The Future of Independent Publishing

All in the Family: Ig Publishing, Two Dollar Radio, and Small Beer Press

by Michael Bourne
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Contributing editor Michael Bourne highlights the trend of family-run indie presses and explores how the editors champion innovative authors whose work is often considered by commercial publishers to be unmarketable. 

The Medium Is the Message: The Print-Digital Divide and the Books of Tomorrow

by Carrie Neill
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Carrie Neill explores the ever-evolving publishing landscape and highlights independent presses experimenting with the increasingly fluid interaction between print and digital, analog and interactive. 

Strange How These Things Happen: Featherproof Books and the Big Small Literary Magazine

by Amelia Gray
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Amelia Gray reports on Featherproof Books’ recent release of a compilation of thirty issues of the Minus Times, which originated as a broadside and evolved into an eclectic literary magazine showcasing the work of a new generation of American...

The Aha! Moment: Michael Wiegers of Copper Canyon Press

by Michael Bourne
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Copper Canyon Press executive editor Michael Wiegers provides an in-depth analysis of one of John Taggart’s poems to exemplify the value of the poet’s work and explain why he decided to publish Taggart’s collection of new and selected poems.

News and Trends

The Written Image: My Ideal Bookshelf

by Staff

In this issue we offer a look at My Ideal Bookshelf, a collaboration between artist Jane Mount and editor Thessaly La Force, to be released by Little, Brown in November.


Small Press Points

by Staff

Small Press Points highlights the innovative and can-do spirit of independent presses. This issue features Toadlily Press, the Chappaqua, New York–based poetry publisher whose annual anthologies include the chapbooks of four different poets. 

Literary MagNet

by Travis Kurowski

Literary MagNet chronicles the start-ups and closures, successes and failures, anniversaries and accolades, changes of editorship and special issues—in short, the news and trends—of literary magazines in America. This issue's MagNet features Triple Canopy, Carve Magazine, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, and Sea Ranch.

Serious Monkey Business

by Melissa Faliveno

One of the few existing literary magazines in translation, Monkey Business is a new journal of Japanese writing, translated into English by founding editors Motoyuki Shibata and Ted Goossen and published annually in the United States and Canada by the Brooklyn-based A Public Space

University Presses Feeling the Pinch

by Kevin Nance

As financial hardships continue to affect universities and colleges across the country, an increasing number of university presses are facing the threat of closures—and some aren't going down without a fight. 

Page One: Where New and Noteworthy Books Begin

by Staff

With so many good books being published every month, some literary titles worth exploring can get lost in the stacks. Page One offers the first lines of a dozen recently released books, including Matthew Dickman's Mayakovsky's Revolver and A. M. Homes's May We Be Forgiven, as the starting point for a closer look at these new and noteworthy titles.

The Practical Writer

Making David Sedaris Laugh: Lessons Learned on the Book Tour

by Chuck Palahniuk
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Best-selling novelist Chuck Palahniuk writes about the successes and failures of the often exhausting, but always necessary author book tour.

The Literary Life

Don't Look Back: The Problem With Backstory

by Benjamin Percy
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Fiction writer Benjamin Percy cautions beginning writers to avoid overusing backstory in their fiction, offering strategies for moving the story forward by slipping a character’s history into the dramatic present.

The Art of Reading Gerard Manley Hopkins: Austerity Made Sublime

by William Giraldi
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Novelist William Giraldi celebrates the work of nineteenth-century poet Gerard Manley Hopkins and contemporary poet Geoffrey Hill, who first introduced Giraldi to Hopkins’s verse.

Turning Pages: What Happened to the Book?

by Ana Menéndez
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Fiction writer Ana Menéndez examines the sanctity of books in the technological age and how some artists have transformed them into pieces of art. 

Why We Write: The Man in the Shoebox

by Dan White
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After the exciting rise and disappointing fall of his debut book, travel writer Dan White corresponds with a professor from his alma mater and gains insight about what it means to be a writer.