Small Press, Big Opportunities

Last PageThe Indie Publishing Revolution

By Lynsey Morandin


Last year, my New Year’s Resolution was to take more risks. Ever the cautious, compulsive planner, I knew I had to dive right in if I was ever going to join that very small club of people who actually complete their goals for the year, so, amid cries from digital readers and pretty much anyone who reads the news, I co-founded Hypertrophic, a literary magazine.

I wasn’t going in blind; as both a writer and publishing industry operative, I know the issues from both sides. With the debates regarding print vs. digital and the fights between major publishing houses and Amazon, the publishing industry is starting to look a little less glamorous and a lot more like a warzone. Self-publishing is on the rise, budgets are getting smaller, and everywhere you look someone is lamenting over the “death of publishing.” The truth, though, is this: Publishing isn’t dead, it’s just shrinking.

In the next few years, the industry is going to change even more. Budgets for both traditional publishing houses and literary publications are going to get even smaller, and unfortunately, these companies didn’t agree to my “take more risks” resolution. In order to stay afloat, they’ll have to keep the majority of their lists dedicated to authors who are already well-known and successful, therefore guaranteeing readership and sales. They no longer have the means to take risks on the little guys, the fresh-out-of-college talent, the next big things, and the smaller houses and magazines that did that job now don’t have the funds to compete with sharks and are slowly and sadly going out of business.

That’s where Hypertrophic comes in. As writers ourselves we’re all too aware of how hard it is to get your foot through that literary door, and as publishers we understand the importance of growing new talent and giving those who deserve it a chance. The future of the industry depends completely on an army of writers who haven’t even been discovered yet, and no matter how much the industry tries to adapt, it will never succeed if it doesn’t put effort into supporting emerging writers. We never liked the publishing industry’s rules and we definitely don’t like where they’re headed, so we’re taking the opportunity to forge our own name in the midst of their chaos.

At Hypertrophic, we think the writing should speak for itself. We don’t care if you’ve sold thousands of books or won countless writing awards. We also don’t care if we’ve never heard of you before and this is the first short story or poem you’ve ever written. If we fall in love with it, we’ll publish it.

The common idea that no literary magazine will ever print something that has already been published also irks us. The unfortunate fact about lit mag readership is that being published in only one of them doesn’t guarantee that people will see your work. If your piece is published somewhere, it should get even more attention because of that, not be thrown aside and labeled “USED.”Last Page 2 What’s more is that if you sign your baby away to a publication that doesn’t give it the treatment it deserves, you shouldn’t have to resign yourself to that being your piece’s only chance to see the light of day. Hypertrophic welcomes previously published pieces, offering contributors a second chance at being seen, or even the opportunity to fix a first-publication regret.

It’s still as hard as it has ever been for writers, but we’re working to change that and give literature the respect it deserves. We proudly feature international writers alongside homegrown talent from Alabama, and we maintain each contributor’s local flavor and writing style. No matter where you’re from or what your experience level is, if your work is good, it deserves to be seen. Each voice matters, every style counts, and to us, new authors aren’t a risk—they’re an asset.

Hypertrophic reads submissions year round. For complete submission guidelines, visit

The Winter 2014 issue of Hypertrophic Literary is available for purchase on

Leave a Reply