Joan Connor on small presses
September 26, 2013 2 Comments
I have been thinking recently how grateful I am for small presses and university presses for keeping the short story alive. Most commercial presses will not touch story collections unless by an already established author, usually an established novelist. Similarly agents generally refuse to represent story collections. The rationale seems to be that there is no market for them; they are not commercially viable. I find this perplexing. My students love stories and read them voraciously, as do my colleagues and writer friends. I am currently teaching a course in the novella, and the novella also is tough to place in the market. Nonetheless, my students are loving the form, and we are writing a collaborative novella in the class. They enjoy writing a novella as much as they enjoy reading the novella. All of this makes me think that there is a market for these shorter forms. Cynically, I suspect that it comes back to greed. The market dictates that there is no market because it fears there is no money to be made. Likely wrongly.
So thank you small presses and university presses for preserving these forms.
Joan Connor is the author of five collections: How to Stop Loving Someone (Leapfrog Press, 2011), History Lessons, The World Before Mirrors (nonfiction), We Who Live Apart, and Here on Old Route 7. She is a professor of creative writing at Ohio University.