Last Wednesday, tNY Press (which was, until last year, the Newer York) closed its doors after five years on the experimental literature scene.
As I mentioned in my first post, tNY published my first fiction piece, “Anatomy of a Bird” (not counting the stories I published in college literary magazines). However, even if they never published me, I would have remained a fan. They published not only great pieces on the Electronic Encyclopedia of Experimental Literature (EEEL) and the Shrug (their print magazine), but they also released great books, such as S. Kay’s “apocalypse in tweets,” Reliant.
To really get an idea of what tNY accomplished, though, one just needs to read the email Editor Josh Raab sent out last week:
Over the past 5 years we have published 800+ writers, 600+ artists, 1500+ stories, 5+ books, and 4 issues of our magazine. We raised $35,000 from 700 strangers on the internet to Kickstart our mission. We’ve also been legally threatened by The New Yorker, assaulted by Facebook’s algorithm changes, and totally worn out by the literary publishing world and all its insular idiosyncrasies. tNY is officially closed at midnight tonight.
Your support, readership, kind words, and amazing writing have been our motivation throughout all of this. We still believe in the ability of experimental writing to change the way people think, we’re just not the people to do it, not right now. There is a new experimental press on the scene already, submit to them at he
There are certainly things I would have done differently as an editor which might have secured tNY’s future. I’m working on a reflective post of advice and anecdotes for people who want to start lit mags. Add me on LinkedIn or Medium where I’ll be posting it.
I’m moving on to make music and be a freelance book editor, find/hire me at joshuaraab.com. Chuck is going to keep on internet riffing and dadding at yourdeadbffsurl.tumblr.com. Megan will remain flustered at flusteredpoet.tumblr.com. Thanks to Christopher Morgan, Daniel Bullard-Bates, Celeste Mora, Alitzah Oros, Steve Vermillion, Melissa McDaniel, Nils Davey, Eric Paull, Jane Stephens-Rosenthal, Rebecca Weiner, Soren Stockman, and all of the people who believed in tNY and helped us get to this point.
Keep writing, keep reading. Today is the last day ever to buy books from tNY so go to the website and stock up. The store/site will go down at midnight PST, the EEEL will remain up as an archive, [Chris’ note: Since Thursday, I have not been able to access the ExperimentalLit.com site, which contains the EEEL. Until the site is fixed, my “Anatomy of a Bird” piece can be found in Medium.
Love you all,
Josh & co.
What’s interesting about all this is in April, they tweeted they were now part of the LA Review of Books. Here’s what they said about it at the time:
We don’t know what this means except that big things are coming. If it wasn’t already cool as hell to be published on our website, now our stories will be syndicated on LARB’s website and newsletters, and sometimes print editions. We hope their audience of hundreds of thousands of readers around the world ushers in a new day for our small press. We’re as hellbent as ever on changin the way we read and write.
theEEEL is no longer at theEEEL.com, you can find us at ExperimentalLit.com.
Thanks for everyone who has supported us through the years and brought us to this point. Tell your friends. And keep submitting! And buy our books 🙂
But then a month later, Raab and the rest of the staff made this announcement:
It’s been an amazing 5 years. We’re so grateful and humbled by all of your support, and also by the neverending genius of our writers. But it’s time the editors move on to new things as we have grown tNY as big and strong as we are able.
That said, we’d hate to snuff out all the potential it still has. Between the print magazine, books, and our new partnership with the LA Review of Books (via ExperimentalLit.com), tNY.Press is an amazing factory for new writing talent and literary experiments.
We are looking to sell and/or pass the baton to a person or publisher who want to get their hands on a real dope venue for experimental lit. We are taking bids until June 15 and then making a decision on June 20th. Please share this post, tell your friends, spread the words, so we can put tNY into good hands.
Now it’s tempting to try to fill in the blanks of these press releases, all issued within a two-and-a-half month period, but I’m going to resist the urge to do so. Instead, I’m going to wait to see if Raab discusses the situation further in his Medium/LinkedIn posts.
Whatever the reasons are, tNY will truly be missed. They published some strange and unique works, such as a narrative about a young woman who likes to stand on her head (complete with upside-down fonts), a satirical ISIS contract, and a collection of surreal stories with diagrams. Plus most (if not all) of their texts were accompanied by art that was just as unusual. Through the words and art, though, tNY showed us that radical works could also be accessible.
Fortunately, there are other outlets for these types of works. As Raab mentioned in his email, there is at least one new pub on the scene: SN1. Press, which is now accepting submissions. There are some others that have been on the scene for a while. Weirderary, which is looking for “your weirdest stuff,” has been around for about a year. And then there’s Lotus-eater, which “craves originality and experimentation,” and the long-running [PANK]. There are probably many others I’m either forgetting or not aware of.
So as Raab wrote in his email, “keep writing, keep reading,” because as long as there are people who want to invent new ways of expressing themselves, there will be publishers who will want to bring it out into the world.
Till next time,