Many of you know how increasingly difficult it’s been to introduce new writers to readers. The blessing and curse of novelists and short fiction writers is their voice – impossible to experience unless you’re reading it. Faced with declining review coverage it seems only natural publishers like Farrar, Straus and Giroux should create as many points of entry as they can for readers (and potential readers).
Let’s not be vague. We’re not talking about series, sequels, or genre titles. There are only a handful of genuinely brilliant books each year; wouldn’t you do anything to spread the word about them?
Work in Progress is, then, a long-term bet: create interesting pieces, delivered monthly, around only the best work curated by our editors. Give it a year. Connect readers with the editors and their lists which they’ve been reading for years without knowing it. Build up that trust, then tap them on the shoulder and say, Oh, by the way, here’s a novel you just might like.
Sound like wishful thinking? I direct you to a gem in our Sontag archive illustrating the difficulty in publishing new writers. In 1963.
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