Editor's Note

Once More Unto The Breach

A fortress designed to keep the writers out. That’s how Eric Simonoff, an agent at William Morris Endeavor who has been representing some of the best literary talent in the country for the past twenty-two years, characterizes the typical writer’s perception of the publishing industry. He’s right: We do tend to think of it that way, and such an intimidated view of the business is understandable. There are many more unpublished manuscripts than titles on bookstore shelves, after all, and more hungry writers than literary agents by an order of magnitude that could throw the ego of even the most well-fortified author into a sullen fog of lassitude. But these agents—the armored guards standing atop the battlements of the fortress in our medieval misrepresentation of the industry—don’t see it that way. “What I see is an industry in which we want nothing more than to discover an amazing voice,” Simonoff says. “Who wouldn’t? If you actually have a great book, it matters who sends it out, because you want someone who understands the business, who has the best possible relationships, and who can negotiate the right deal for you as a client. But your book will get discovered regardless. It might just be a question of when.” And now, more than ever, writers have options: Pursue and solicit the help of an agent, query and submit to a small press, self-publish and self-promote, or some combination thereof. And no matter what, write, write, write.

Among the many reasons we publish this magazine—indeed, two integral aspects of the mission of the nonprofit that publishes it—are to foster the professional development of poets and writers and to promote communication throughout the literary community. In these pages we hope to dismantle the fortress, block by block, so that you can see what’s inside and make the best, most informed decisions about your work and your writing career. To that end, this issue marks the return of Agents & Editors (page 50), a popular series of in-depth interviews with publishing professionals started by our contributing editor Jofie Ferrari-Adler back in 2008 and resumed now by Michael Szczerban, an editor at Simon & Schuster. Take his interview with Simonoff, along with the other articles in this issue’s special section on agents, including an installment of The Aha! Moment (70) in which Michael Bourne peels back the layers of a successful query letter, and use them to knock down the walls.

Kevin Larimer

editor@pw.org

Current Issue

Cover Story 

Our Independent Publishing Issue features an in-depth interview with Graywolf Press editor Jeff Shotts; a look at the successful partnerships of eleven small-press authors and their editors; a profile of indie essayist Charles D'Ambrosio; Donald Hall recalls a golden age of American poetry; best-selling author Miranda Beverly-Whittemore on the rewards of self-promotion; advice for self-published authors; a conversation with Guernica publisher Lisa Lucas; and much more.

Finding Gems in Lost & Found

by Rebecca Bates

News and Trends

Posted 10.15.14

November/December 2014

The Center for Humanities at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City is making the ephemeral more tangible through its Lost & Found chapbook series.

More

Let's Just Do This: Eleven Small-Press Authors and their Publishing Partners

by Kevin Larimer

Special Section

Posted 10.15.14

November/December 2014

Eleven small-press authors and their publishing partners discuss the independent approach—and all the passion, commitment, and love that comes with it—to bringing books into the world.

More

Agents & Editors: Jeff Shotts

by Michael Szczerban

Special Section

Posted 10.15.14

November/December 2014

Graywolf Press executive editor Jeff Shotts discusses the power of patience in publishing, editing as an act of empathy, and why it’s an exciting time to be a poet.

More