Countdown to the Muse: Micro-Interview 14 (Benjamin Samuel)
Today closes out the The Muse and the Marketplace. This is the fourteenth in a series of micro-interviews by an author, agent or editor who is attending the event.
Micro-Interview with Benjamin Samuel
- What is the toughest criticism to give or receive on writing?
It's the vague, more emotional criticisms that are the toughest. When you hear "something just isn't working" or "something is missing" you know the story isn't failing in a way that isn't immediately apparent. Before you can even make repairs, but you have to figure out where the story is broken and that can be difficult to discover.
- What do you think is the future of digital vs. printed media for the publishing industry?
I think the one small thing that's certain is that the news cycle endlessly declaring ""the death of print"" will eventually fade. People love a good doomsday story, but the publishing industry isn't one.
People are reading more than ever before. People are writing more than ever before. We just need to adapt to trends in a way that's forward-thinking, and that will be facilitated by publishers who are interested in technology, and developers who are interested in literature.
- What is the strangest place you've ever been?
- What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to give to writers?
Know your audience. And I don't mean that in terms of writing for a specific group, but for sending your work to agents, editors, magazines, MFA programs, etc. You'll have more success if you're reaching out to places that are the right fit for you.
Benjamin Samuel is the co-editor of Electric Literature, an independent publishing company the Washington Post called a "refreshingly bold act of optimism." Founded in 2009, Electric Literature uses new technologies to ensure literature maintains a place of prominence in popular culture. Their magazine, Recommended Reading—a weekly digital-only publication curated by literary tastemakers—was the first major literary magazine to publish directly to Tumblr, and picked up over 35,000 subscribers in its first six months. Benjamin has an MFA in fiction from Brooklyn College, and his thoughts on literature and publishing have been appeared in the Huffington Post, the LA Times, GalleyCat, Poets & Writers, and elsewhere. He lives in Brooklyn.
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