OPEN Forum got my attention this morning thanks to a feature interview with Andy Hunter and Scott Lindenbaum of Electric Literature, a new literary magazine that’s making it big.
One of the reasons they’re making it big: they practice media agnosticism.
By offering more than the paperback option–in fact, by making their journal available on multiple mobile devices–its founders have not only built a reputation and a business: they’ve also been able to pay writers $1,000 per story. That princely amount, almost unheard of in the world of literary journals, has drawn top-tier talent to the publication, according to OPEN Forum.
One of the things we say is: “don’t ever make the mistake of thinking the medium you’re reading in is a political argument. However you want to read–if you want to read, it’s great. We’re going to be there to offer you great content in any medium you prefer. When you kind of snob out about the politics, you are making a set of assumptions that doesn’t have to do with your readership, but about you.
Workers in so-called culture businesses do tend to “snob out,” and it’s a detriment to their cause and their work. Think about the last pompous waiter you encountered. You can’t separate product from brand. The food can be awesome but if there’s a problem anywhere in the atmosphere, the brand and the restaurant suffers.
At any rate, it’s good to see these young publishers put customer-centric thinking to good use. That’s the way it needs to be if you’re going to make it big, medium or small.