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Letters to the Editor

Dear editor, I have this idea for a column that I think would fit perfectly in an alt-weekly format, and I'm poking around to see if I can find a partner somewhere, a newspaper that might be interested in getting behind the idea and working with me to syndicate it. The idea is weekly fiction. The only weekly fiction in print that I know of right now comes from the New Yorker, and theirs is among the most prestigious in the world. While they prove there is a market for quality weekly fiction, they're also pretentious and boring. I have run an online literary journal called Thieves Jargon for the past three years. I can get you high quality short fiction every week. Weird, cool and hip stories by upcoming and established writers. Cultishly classy, you could call it. In addition to a lengthy archive of work, I have a steady stream of unpublished work coming my way each week. I have published several people who have been in McSweeney's, and I also know a lot of the best upcoming talent in the game. These are the kind of writers who aren’t far from having their own books on the shelves of bookstores everywhere. As far as I know, nobody has tried this idea since Bukowski was writing weekly stories for the LA Free Press. If nobody else is doing it, that means there's an opportunity to be the first person to try a new thing. I think a newspaper that has the stones to try something like this would separate itself from its peers the same way Playboy separates itself from other skin mags by virtue of their own respected fiction series. I can see a weekly fiction column helping to increase ad revenue from both national publishing houses and local bookstores. You could coordinate the first week with a local reading, or see if you can get a sponsor to put up some money and run a contest, like Boston's Weekly Dig does every fall where they cross-promote a writing contest with a local bar called Bukowski Tavern. If this runs long enough, it could spawn anthologies, and from there could turn into the next McSweeney's. I'm just sayin'. I'd like to team up with somebody who has the legal resources to acquire the rights to the stories, and somebody who is familiar with the alt-weekly press scene that can find other papers to run the column. I would be glad to provide the stories free of charge, assuming the writers receive some sort of payment, and assuming I could get some sort of plug for my web site. I'm sure this can all be worked out rather easily. I'd love the chance to show you some A-list stories I've picked out, give you a taste of what kind of flavor I'm thinking, and let you decide if you can build some sort of market around an idea like this. I have five stories picked out, using 1250 words as my baseline. That seems to be in line with what Dan Savage gets for his syndicated alt-weekly columns. I'm not going to attach them to this email for fear of losing them to a spam filter, but if you say the word, I'll get them to you whichever way works best for you. This is all an idea for now, but it's one I've been thinking about for a while, and I believe it could have some legs. If you are interested in discussing this further, please don't hesitate to let me know. Best,Matt DiGangi

By Matt DiGangi

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