Poetry News

Abigail Beckel and Kathleen Rooney in The Editor's Corner at VIDA

By Harriet Staff


Over at VIDA, Abigail Beckel and Kathleen Rooney of the hybrid-genre Rose Metal Press talk about their roles as editors and publishers. We're especially interested in presses that support as yet-undeffined genres, so we were especially curious to hear Beckel and Rooney discuss their editorial philosophy.

Our main philosophy/mission is to broaden the literary landscape beyond traditional genres and open up more opportunities for both writers and readers to experiment with and experience innovative forms in writing. We chose this focus for Rose Metal because we noticed that many writers were doing exciting, culturally important work in hybrid genres, but that they had limited opportunities to publish that work since the market is not particularly friendly to things that are hard to define. But innovation is how every field, including creative writing, moves forward and evolves, so we’ve tried to champion that in-between space and encourage writers to push boundaries.

Although there are more presses interested in hybrid-genre work than their used to be--consider Les Figues Press, for example--authors who work beyond generic conventions still face significant challenges to publishing their work. Not surprisingly, this is why Beckel and Rooney founded Rose Metal Press in the first place.

...[W]e essentially started the press because the publishing climate was so bad for hybrid-genre works. The big box bookstores had the majority of the buying power and they didn’t like to stock things that didn’t fit neatly into sci-fi or romance, let alone books that spanned genres of form. As a result, few commercial publishers accept cross-genre submissions due to concerns over profitability and marketing.

To a large extent, this remains the case—big publishers are, if anything, even more averse to taking risks on literary work whose “marketability” is not obvious. And the big bookstores are facing struggles of their own, but certainly aren’t looking to showcase more unusual work.

But the great thing is that both readers and writers have ever-increasing access to writing and publishing outside of the large corporate scene. And in the seven years since we started Rose Metal Press, we’ve seen more and more small publishers and journals broadening their definitions of genre and seeking out hybrid work, which is wonderful. Flash fiction and flash nonfiction, particularly, have exploded as far as people writing in the genres, talking about them, holding contests, teaching classes in those genres, etc.

Check out the rest of the article at VIDA.

Originally Published: March 20th, 2013