An Interview with One Story, a Literary Journal
Volunteer Andrea interviews the editorial staff of One Story, a literary journal.
Volunteer Andrea: The pieces in One Story are diverse (e.g. anorexia, overachieving children, corporate discontent, homosexuality, the silence in relationships), and many stories have won awards. How do you decide which stories to publish?
One-Story: The short answer is that we look for stories that feel whole. By that I mean when you’re finished you feel you’ve had a substantive literary experience. The truth is that we have a broad perspective and enjoy all types of stories from dense and articulate realism to something surreal that challenges your notions of what a short story can be. I think the moment of recognition is different for each editor, but there is an element to which you have to lose yourself in the story. We can have an extensive editorial process and it’s important a story holds up through that process.
Volunteer Andrea: One Story subscribers receive a 3,000-8,000 word story every three weeks. How did you know that this was the right frequency for a One Story subscription?
One-Story: It was really the brainchild of our Publisher, Maribeth Batcha, who in imagining One Story tapped into her own experiences as a reader. She knew that frequency would add excitement and enable our magazine to become a regular part of a reader’s life, making it one of those essentials that would be missed when absent (and in turn hopefully result in a stable subscriber base). On the other end of the spectrum, we knew to publish the quality stories we were aiming for required time. Without the resources to have a huge staff of editors, the once-a-month model seemed the perfect tension point between frequency and quality.
Volunteer Andrea: One Story has both corporate and government sponsors. How has sponsorship fostered One Story?
One-Story: In an ideal world, subscriptions alone would fund all of the magazine’s needs, and our staff would all be paid like investment bankers. But, of course, that’s not how things work. Despite having a vibrant subscriber base of over 15,000, we need support from sponsors to do what we do. As a non-profit, we’re incredibly grateful that there are organizations willing and able to help us keep short stories relevant and accessible to a broader public.
Volunteer Andrea: What does One Story do to support its authors after their stories have appeared?
One-Story: We tend to think about our authors as extended family. After publication we nominate them for awards, host readings, and promote their books on our blog and in a quarterly printed insert (thanks to a generous Amazon.com grant). Every spring we also honor our writers who have published their first book in the prior calendar year at our annual benefit – the Literary Debutant Ball.
Volunteer Andrea: One Teen Story launches in September 2012. What is your vision for that publication?
One-Story: Despite the boom in YA literature in the last decade, the industry has yet to come up with an engaging way to get short stories into the hands of younger readers. One Teen Story is an answer to that. Eight issues published monthly throughout the school-year exploring themes and situations compelling to younger readers. It’s about igniting a life-long love affair with literature in general and short stories in particular.
Volunteer Andrea: Is there anything else we should know about One Story?
One-Story: I think you covered it!
One Story is an award-winning, non-profit literary magazine that features one great short story mailed to subscribers every three to four weeks. Founded by publisher Maribeth Batcha and Editor in Chief Hannah Tinti in 2002, One Story is devoted to promoting the art of the short story and supporting the writers who write them. Available in good old-fashioned print or on the Kindle/iPad, One Story now stands as one of the largest literary magazines in the country with over 15,000 readers. 2012 marks One Story’s 10th Anniversary. Come and celebrate at www.one-story.com.