Bulletproof Girl author Quinn Dalton ponders the likely future of the short story market in the wake of The Atlantic‘s recent decision to replace the short stories in each issue with an annual fiction supplement.
She talks with New Yorker fiction editor Deborah Treisman, who says, “‘It’s always a sad thing to see another magazine eliminate short stories.'” According to Dalton, Treisman:
thinks part of the problem is the publishing industry’s insistence that writers produce novels, which it finds easier to market and sell. “When the potential magazine market for stories is reduced too, so is the writer’s desire to write them,” she says. “The more outlets there are for short stories, the more short stories get written.” And while the proliferation of creative writing programs and literary magazines would suggest that in reality more short stories are being written, Treisman says, “The Atlantic may be struggling with the fact that fewer great short stories are being written now than a few decades ago.”
But The New Yorker plans to continue its short fiction traditions. “I know, simply by word of mouth, that large numbers of people buy the magazine specifically for the short stories,” she says. “I also know — through both positive and negative responses — how much readers have invested in the quality of the fiction we publish. So there are no plans here to cut or reduce our fiction output.”