Dear [PANK] Readers & Writers,
I hope this dispatch finds you all well or well enough.
I broke my arm, badly, this fall. Although I’m on the mend, combined with the usual messiness of life and love, I’ve found myself more reflective, maybe even a little maudlin and nostalgic (does that add up to depression? it probably does, doesn’t it?), these past weeks. Apropos to you, readers and writers, I’ve been musing lately that founding and running a literary magazine has been, for me, a little like having a family with kids. [PANK] is part mine, has some of my DNA in it, looks and acts a little bit like me. But as it has aged over the last seven years it has become increasingly clear that this thing I helped create is its own unique entity autonomous of me, alive in its own throbbing skin, and out running amok amogst you all. I can still push [PANK] a few degrees left or right, but it has come into its own strange and particular being and viewpoint, with its own agenda and voice, its own peculiarities and eccentricities. And as I continue to watch this thing grow into whatever it will eventually become, and although I sometimes no longer recognize myself in my own creation, my love for it continues to mature and complicate. It’s a beautiful thing, and I’m grateful to you all out there in the void for helping me shepard it along, helping me make [PANK]’s evolution happen.
2013 has been a year of particular flux for us at [PANK]. Though perhaps that isn’t saying much for a literary magazine and micro-press, all ephemera as it were, comings and goings like fruit flies. We’ve said good bye to a number of long-time staff members. Our uber charming and talented intern turned editor, Abby Koski, grew up and flew off to work at FSG. Our indefatigable associate editor, Brad Green, turned his attentions back to hearth and home, to his own creative endeavors. We were sorry to see them both go, both irreplaceable each in their own ways, integral parts of the [PANK] family gone off to sow their own fields. But we welcomed aboard new family members, too, exciting additions to our clan who bring with them a wealth of creative energy and resources to bear down upon the job at hand, bringing great new literature to the light. Sheila Squillante joins us from Pittsburgh as our new associate editor in charge of the blog. Colin Winnette joins us from San Francisco as our new associate editor in charge of acquisitions. Randon Billings Noble joins us from Washington, DC, as our new reviews editor. And Allison Wright joins us from Charlottesville, Virginia, as the new editor of Tiny Hardcore Press. We welcome both old and new friends at the blog, among them regular columnists Joel Patton, Simon Jacobs, DeWitt Brinson, Mia Sara, Scott Pinkmountain, Cindy Clem, Jarod Rosello, Sherrie Flick, and Dan Pinkerton. We’ve two new fresh faced interns, Megan Walsh and Amber Kaufman, who are busy packing and unpacking boxes, licking stamps, and addressing subscription envelopes. And we’ve got a host of acquisition readers old and new: Matthew Burnside, Robb Todd, Joe Stracci, Jen Knox, Jamie Fountaine, Derrick Martin-Campbell, Chad Redden, Dillon J. Welch, Kelly Kiehl, Maria Isabel Lachenauer, Peter Witte, T.J. Martinson, Tim Gurnig, Caitlin Levison McGquire, Amanda Miska, K. Jane Childs, John Myers, Lynn Crothers, Maree Kimberley, Sara Rust, and Silas Hansen.
In addition to all the new family, we’ve been busy redesigning our website, consolidating PANK Books into Tiny Hardcore Press, streamlining and reinvigorating our social media presence, doing the same to our editorial and administrative processes, and working ever harder on making the money tree bear more fruit more often. It’s all pretty exciting from my vantage point and I think it’ll mean a lot of good change for you, too, readers and writers. Granted, the challenges still outweigh the gains, no doubt, but such is the nature of the business. We’ve evolved. You’ve evolved. Let us watch and see what happens next.
The thing I might be most excited about is that we begin paying all print and online magazine contributors beginning in January, 2014. I’ll warn the writers up front that it won’t be much at first, but it’ll put a couple of drinks in your mug on Friday night and that’s a beginning. I’ve intended to pay magazine contributors from the start, but it’s taken nearly seven years for us to get to a financial place where we could even consider it seriously. In case you still operate under the delusion that literary magazines are rolling in it, remember that our entire staff is essentially volunteer, and that every dime we make goes back into development and production. That said, we’ve hustled to a point where we need to just get on with it and do the thing, because it’s the right thing to do, and because if not now, then when? Not to mention, we have some modest expectations that paying contributors will both drive up the overall quality of our content, which will in turn drive up our readership, which will in turn mean we can pay more, and so on down the line. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work? Again, we will see what happens, but it’s exciting for us nonetheless.
2014 brings other good things, too. Ashley Farmer’s new book will be released from Tiny Hardcore Press in January. And we will have a reinvigorated Invasion schedule with likely events in New York, Pittsburgh, Seattle, San Francisco, and Austin in the spring. We’re vibrating with excitement for the new year.
Stay tuned. Keep in touch. And be well, [PANK] readers and writers. We love you.
M. Bartley Seigel