Countdown to Muse 2015: Micro-Interview 10 (James Gapinski)
The Muse and the Marketplace kicks off on May 1st at the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston. In anticipation of the conference, we collected micro-interviews written by authors, agents and editors who will be attending the event. This is the tenth in the series.
1. Does the digital marketplace help or hurt publishers?
It depends on the publisher. Speaking for The Conium Review, the digital marketplace is helpful. Independent bookstores, conferences, readings, and other real-world activities help build a loyal base of readers. But our online presence vastly expands that reach.
2. What do you think is the future of digital vs. printed media for the publishing industry?
Some people talk about print versus digital like it’s a competition, assuming that the success of digital means the death of print. But each format offers different reading experiences, and certain readers will always enjoy and defend one medium more than the other. Even if digital publishing grows exponentially, print can easily survive as a boutique-type product. It’s not a perfect analogy, but consider current music trends: digital music is huge, yet there’s a strong resurgent interest in vinyl records.
3. What is the toughest criticism to give or receive on writing?
It’s rough when you need to start over from scratch. Maybe you even need to throw out the idea entirely and try something else. It’s frustrating and time-consuming, but I’ve learned to listen if a writer I respect tells me that a draft is a complete dud. Doling out this advice is equally difficult. Some writers take such criticism gracefully, but many get justifiably defensive—who the hell am I to say a draft is unsalvageable? It’s a delicate subject.
4. What’s one piece of advice you’d like to give to writers?
Read! And make sure you read outside your comfort zone, otherwise your writing will stagnate.
For other ways to break out of that comfort zone, check out James' #Muse15 session, Beyond the Seven Basic Plots: An Exploration of Experimental Fiction on Saturday, May 2nd, at 12PM. But hurry--the deadline to register for the Muse and the Marketplace is TODAY!
James R. Gapinski is the current managing editor of The Conium Review and former editor-in-chief of the Pitkin Review. He holds an MFA in creative writing from Goddard College, and his fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in theNewerYork, NANO Fiction, Word Riot, Juked, and elsewhere. He currently teaches writing at Bunker Hill Community College, and he has previously taught at Pueblo Community College and Mt. Hood Community College. James also has industry experience as an Internet content writer, with work appearing on USA Today's "Travel Tips" section, the San Francisco Chronicle's website, the Houston Chronicle's website, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's "Art City" blog. He lives with his partner in the Boston area.
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