Words By Dani Hedlund
Dear lovely reader,
Spring issues of F(r)iction are always special for us because they mark the birthday of this lovely little journal. When we started F(r)iction back in 2015, there were strict rules to follow if one were foolish enough to start a literary journal. You published traditional literature. You made the books as cheaply as possible. You didn’t publish new writers because they wouldn’t sell copies. And you never, ever, ever uttered the words “editorial art,” “genre,” or (heaven forbid) “comics.”
But we dreamed of something different—a collection of stories that would enchant us regardless of genre, where the biggest names in the industry shared a spine with brand new voices from diverse backgrounds, voices we would mentor every step of the way. It would be a book brimming with color and art and specialty printing. Every page would be as lush as the stories within.
Everyone told us it was a bad idea, but we were fueled by passion and naivety and stubbornness—which turns out to be the perfect mix for doing something wrong in just the right way.
And now, four years later, we are being challenged yet again.
The industry is shifting. Pillars like Glimmer Train and Tin House are falling, and we’re hearing the same warnings that plagued us when we started—that readership is dwindling, that mentorship isn’t economically viable, that while publishing new, innovative voices is great optics, it’s a foolish gamble within an industry in decline.
It’s a confidence shaker, to say the least, to see great journals go under. It’s caused many to lose hope and close up shop, or not start the shop in the first place. And with each new day, a seemingly indifferent world chips away at passion and naivety and stubbornness.
But we’re not going anywhere.
In fact, we’re expanding. Crazy, you say? Indeed. No argument there. But we love stories. We believe in their power to change the world. And we’re not giving up.
So, dear reader, consider this our Comeback issue. If readerships are dying, we’ll find new ways to reach them. As prices go up, we’ll find new ways to generate funding. When innovative magazines fall, we’ll take up the torch.
We’re celebrating with a journal jam-packed with underdog stories. From industry greats like Joyce Carol Oates to brand new voices we’ve mentored for months, this journal is steeped in fighting spirit and some of the loveliest art we’ve ever put out. We hope this helps you with your own battles, because it sure as hell has helped with ours.
For those of you who have been with us since the beginning, thank you. For those just joining us, thanks for taking a chance on our weird little book. You’re as much a part of this cavalry as our editors, artists, and authors.
Now let’s all charge into the breach, my friends. There’s a battle to be won.