Why Publish?

Christopher Howell of Eastern Washington University Press gave an excellent overview of publishing options this afternoon–including vanity presses, self-publishing, cooperatives, small, independent, university and corporate publishers. Above all he encouraged right motivation: to publish [He put forward the idea of publishing] as means to enter the larger literary conversation, and encouraged the practice of detachment in both acceptance and rejection.

Strangely, I have sometimes heard that academic programs can be adverse to talking about the nuts-and-bolts realities of modern literary publication. Yet with the explosion of MFA programs in this country, one’s publications become a kind of secondary credentialing–not to mention, as Howell remarked, the means to have a larger and more lasting conversation with–and effect upon–the literary world. So, I was grateful for yet another straightforward and level-headed look at publication, and see it as enrichment to a program that is nonetheless fundamentally about writing, no matter what becomes of the work.