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A Critical Look
Interviewer Kristina Marie Darling describes Kansastan (7.13 Books) by Farooq Ahmed as "stunning in its use of lush lyricism, metaphor, image, and other stylistic devices usually associated with poetry." In this interview in Kenyon Review, Ahmed explains those stylistic choices: "The use of poetic devices in Kansastan has its origins in scripture. Partially because I had a religious upbringing, I’ve always been drawn to those works and their power to captivate, inspire, ignite – whether that’s the Quran or other (admittedly mostly monotheistic) texts. ... I’m hardly a devout anything, but I love seeing how language is deployed to craft these motivational texts, and my stylistic choices are primarily a reflection of those influences."
"I want to write about women. I want to tell their stories. I think their stories deserve to be told," Cathy Ulrich told me about her debut collection Ghosts of You (Okay Donkey Press) in our interview published in Vol. 1 Brooklyn. Ulrich succeeds in that goal, giving the murdered girls and women so frequently used as plot devices back their stories. In our conversation, Ulrich explains her deft use of repetition, the anger that fueled the collection, and the influence Law and Order reruns had on the book.
"There is hardly a reading experience more compelling than to witness an author write herself into being, as [Jackie Shannon] Hollis does" in This Particular Happiness: A Childless Love Story (Forest Avenue Press). Writing in The Oregonian, reviewer Scott F. Parker describes Hollis's memoir exploring her decision not to have children as "honest and open." "[W]hat the book is really about is something much more profound and general: the necessity of embracing the disappointments of one’s life without resentment or undue regret."
"With scope, depth, and feeling, The Book of Jeremiah (Press 53), Julie Zuckerman’s debut novel in stories, examines pivotal experiences in the long life of a single character, exploring how these experiences shape him, change his perceptions of himself and others, and reverberate across time. The result is a moving, multifaceted portrait of a life, in all its dimensions," Beth Castrodale writes in Small Press Picks. "A larger social, political, and cultural history is also woven into the story of Jeremiah and his family. ... The connections that Zuckerman makes between historical events and the story of Jeremiah and his family enrich the novel, underscoring how these events shape individuals’ lives and, at times, spark them to act.
An Inside Look
In June I published an interview with small press publicist Lori Hettler that aimed to give small press authors an inside look at what it's like to work with a publicist. As I continue to look for ways to use this newsletter to support small press authors, I wanted to provide some resources for those who don't have a publicist working for them. Below you'll find a guide to seven literary podcasts that host small press authors and are open to being pitched directly. No publicist required! Make sure you listen first to any shows you intend to pitch, and follow the guidelines included below. 
"The Other Stories" podcast, hosted by Ilana Masad, is a platform where fiction writers can share their work, and where editors, agents, and readers can discover new, struggling, and already established talent. To get a sense of the style of the show, check out my recent conversation with Ilana, or this interview with Johanna Stoberock, author of Pigs (Red Hen Press). "The Other Stories" will soon have a submission portal through Submittable; until then, writers interested in being considered can email Ilana. Please send a piece of writing (short story of novel excerpt that can stand alone) up to 4,000 words, and CC your publisher in the email.
Regularly featuring "big name" authors like Ann Patchett and Michael Chabon, the "Writers on Writing" podcast co-hosted by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett and Marrie Stone might seem like an impossible get for a small press author, but Marrie assures us that some of her favorite guests have been small press authors. Check out my interview with Marrie or her conversation with Jenn Stroud Rossmann (The Place You're Supposed to Laugh, 7.13 Books) for a sense of the show. The podcast covers mainly literary fiction, short story collections, essays, poetry, and a bit of memoir, though based on recent listener feedback they are open to expanding the genres covered. Writers interested in pitching the show should email Marrie, including any blurbs for the book and your website or other platform that gives a sense of your work. Even better if you can get your editor/publisher to pitch on your behalf! 
On "This Podcast Will Change Your Life," writer, teacher, and consultant Ben Tanzer discusses books and writing with many small press authors, including Liz Scott (This Never Happened, University of Hell Press) and me. To pitch your work, email Ben early in your marketing efforts. Ben will get back to you if he's interested in reading the book for consideration; he prefers to receive hard copies of either an ARC or finished book. 
Losing the Plot is hosted by reader/ writer/ rambler Leo X. Robertson, and is part of the Aphotic Realm podcast network. Find the latest episodes here. The show is open to small press authors but also to artists of any variety. Conversations usually center on the artist behind the art, but the show is so named because guests are free to talk about anything and everything! Writers interested in being on the show should keep in mind that Leo typically likes to read at least their latest book as a basis for the podcast conversation. On account of this, authors are asked to give at least two weeks notice. Please send all inquiries to—Leo looks forward to hearing from you!
Traci Thomas hosts "The Stacks Book Club" and "The Short Stacks" podcasts. The latter are mini episodes focused on authors, their books, and their writing process. Check out Traci's recent conversation with Tressie McMillan Cottom, author of Thick (The New Press) for a sense of the show. While Traci generally scouts and reaches out to authors directly, she is open to receiving pitches from authors via e-mail. Make sure to listen to the show before pitching and limit your email to one paragraph. Traci will respond to pitches if she's interested in your book!
WROTE Podcast offers weekly discussions about LGBTQ storytelling in all genres and mediums. Guests share personal accounts on living the artistic life and their personal experiences writing, crafting, and reading stories that explore the edges of what's accepted and where storytelling should be headed. The podcast uses an online booking form, which makes it easy for interested authors to pitch their work! Be prepared to include a description of the talking points and/or topics you'd like to cover on the show. 
The BiSciFi Podcast was created as an offshoot of the #BiSciFi Twitter chat, which began in 2016. The purpose of both the chat and podcast is to promote, discuss, and share speculative fiction (scifi, fantasy, horror, etc.) that is focused on telling queer stories. The goal of this podcast is to provide a positive, inclusive space for queer creators and fans to voice their opinions on the current state of spec fic. While the title might suggest that the podcast will be focused strictly on the bisexual community and science fiction, it is actually intended to be inclusive of all sexualities and all types of speculative media. For a sense of the show, check out this recent episode with Alex DiFrancesco (All City, Seven Stories Press). Interested authors can pitch host Carrie Pack via the podcast's contact form. Include the topic/book you'd like to discuss and the month you'd like to be featured. Carrie is currently booking for January 2020 and beyond. 
In the Inside Look column I'll share with readers a bit about my own writing life and experiences publishing my debut novel with the small press 7.13 Books. I'll also be reaching out to other writers, publishers, cover designers, book reviewers, and independent literary magazines and journals to learn more about the small press landscape. If you have an idea for the column, please feel free to reach out! 
Another Look
Whether you're looking for scary, supernatural, funny, or simply unusual, City of Weird, edited by Gigi Little and published by Forest Avenue Press, has it. This collection, including some of the best authors the Pacific Northwest has to offer, embraces the “Keep Portland Weird” mentality. In “The Fixer: a Serial – 1 – The Duchess” Sean Davis contributes Portland Noir; Doug Chase writes of a haunted Burger King in “Squatty and the Weasel Boy”; Rene Denfeld's “The Sturgeon Queen” depicts a giant sturgeon that disappears people wandering the river bank; and Leni Zumas describes a different kind of church revival meeting in “Tunnels”. With a cast of characters that includes creatures, robots, vampires, and the devil; and featuring Portland landmarks like Reed College, Mount Tabor, the Rose Garden, (and of course) Powell's Books; and highlighting the city's love of coffee, books, craft beer, and dogs—this set of entertaining stories turns the expected into the surprising. More than a great introduction to Portland and some of its wonderful authors, City of Weird is a fun collection that has something for everyone this Halloween season. 
Each month, Another Read Through owner Elisa Saphier will choose a small press book released a year or more ago for our Another Look column. Based in Portland, Oregon, Another Read Through ships, so if you want to order any of the books featured in Magnify, follow the links to order them from Elisa
Amplify Updates!

After our first successful retreat in Banks, Oregon this summer, Amplify is continuing to look for ways to support writers in their career development. Below is a summary of a few things we're working on. 
A survey of reading series and venues that host readings in Portland
Our goal is to produce a shareable document with guidelines for submitting to and/or booking readings in Portland, helpful for anyone trying to break into the literary community! Think you might want to do the same in your area? Let me know and I'll send you our survey to copy! 

Free community-building events 
We're exploring ways to bring writers together in our community to meet, share resources, and find out what kinds of support emerging writers need to develop their careers. 

Career development workshops that will build confidence
This Spring, we'll be running workshops focused on career-building skills like applying for grants, fellowships, and residencies; using social media to build community and promote your work; and producing newsletters people want to read. Have an idea for a workshop you'd like us to offer? Let us know

Retreats at Heaven and Earth
Mark your calendars for our two 2020 writing retreats. 
March 27–29, 2020: Promote Your Work with Confidence
October 2–4, 2020: Submit Your Book with Confidence
Thanks so much for reading Magnify! If you have a review of a recent small press book you'd like to see included in our Critical Look, or questions about life as a small press author, feel free to contact me. See you next month! 

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