Some Notes on Publishing

I’ve been asked by Michael Martone to talk a bit to his publishing class about being a writer, living the life of a writer, and how both submitting my work for publication and publishing the work of others plays into it all. I can say that they’ve always been twinned for me, that around the time I started thinking about writing for real I also started thinking about starting a magazine, which I did in 2002 in Pittsburgh and promptly published my first online essay. It wasn’t all we published, we being I and my friend and fellow alt-weekly contributor Jenn, but it was there.

I suppose it begins earlier, with the alt-weekly internship I got the same semester I took an intro to journalism class. While learning what AP style was and how to write a good lede and how to structure stories in inverted-pyramid form, I also was sent out into the city to write about events, or more specifically to call people on the phone about events that were going to take place. I wrote what’s called previews. I showed up in the office, I was given a task, I wrote it, it got in the paper the following week.
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Caia Hagel’s Acts of Kindness and Excellence in Times Tables

hagelcover-borderI know it’s gauche to gush, as a small-press publisher, about the books you publish; best to let their brilliance stand representatively alone. But I want to take a minute to talk about how excited we were when Hagel’s story came to The Cupboard’s inbox, and to try to get you to understand why you need to read it.

First off: it’s a story about a new kind of superhero who sings in a cabaret act.

Second: isn’t this sort of a perfect reason not to read a piece of fiction?
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the cupboard, the cupboard.

For a couple years now, Adam Peterson and I have been putting together a literary pamphlet named The Cupboard. It used to be monthly, can you imagine? (Pgh folks: remember when The New Yinzer was fortnightly?) Now it’s a quarterly, and while we’re a little behind on the seasons, we have a new volume out.

The Winter 2009 volume:
Mathias Svalina’s Play.

Play is a book you can buy.

It’s so good. It’s 29 instructions for 29 games for children. You’ve never played a single one, and you have to play all of them this spring and summer. You can probably play a few in the fall, too. Winter’s of course for indoors and going off on your own.

The Cupboard only costs $5. This is cheaper than every other book you’ll ever buy. But even cheaper is getting four of them each year for only $15.

Mathias is such a nice and smart guy. He was so nice and smart to send this to us. Buy a copy, or subscribe for a year, and feel nice and smart for supporting independent publishing.