The Literary Industry is Dying! Pfft, OK.
We're feeling subtle today.
The literary community is a place where creativity can flourish, brilliant stories can be told, and new ideas can grow into ideologies shared by millions. It is also a place where some people masturbate themselves to death in one of humankind's longest-running circle jerks.
So whenever its doom feels near, there are those who fight it, those who ache for it, and those who try to create something new.
This is about the third kind.
Recently, several lit mags have shut down: The Moth, The Jellyfish Review, The Rupture, (mac)ro(mic), Catapult (sort of), The Bear Creek Gazette, and so on. Last year, there was The Believer (announced but still trucking along), Bookforum, and Astra Magazine. And there have been dozens more, dying their quiet little deaths along the way.
In the midst of this rapidly shifting landscape, an MFA student reached out to ask us some questions for their thesis.
"Do you have any insight into why so many seem to be closing, including big names such as The Moth, Jellyfish Review, and The Rupture? Is there a common issue, or a combination of mitigating factors?"
Up until that point, we hadn't given it much thought. So we went and read some of the many articles over the years (in highly well-regarded magazines) announcing The End of Literary Magazines, The Death of the Writing World, Literature’s Final Days! And we thought…