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The Literary Technical Assistance Program (LitTAP) is pleased to announce that Poets House, New York, NY, and Writers & Books, Rochester, NY have been awarded Advancement Re-grants of $7,500 for 2013, the Advancement Program’s Pilot Year. This competitive award supports thoughtful development and expanded capacity within literary arts organizations. Poets House will use its award toward purchasing new computer servers and Writers & Books will launch a series of online classes.

LitTAP’s Advancement Re-grants were created to allow New York State literary arts organizations to improve their managerial and financial stability; build solid foundations upon which to pursue their artistic visions; and improve or institute planning and development capacities that contribute to their sustainability. LitTAP’s Advancement Program is supported by the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and was inspired by the National Endowment for the Arts’ former Advancement Program, which was instrumental in helping to professionalize literary arts organization in the 1990s.

Open to NYSCA/Literature General Support and Public Programs grantees throughout New York State, applications were judged by a peer review panel including Harold Augenbraum, Executive Director, National Book Foundation; Hoong Yee Lee Krakhaeur, Executive Director, Queens Council on the Arts; and Ellen Rocco, Station Manager, North Country Public Radio.

Nine eligible applications were received and adjudicated based on the organization’s Artistic Quality, Management/Fiscal Competence and Demonstrated Need. The program is administered by Just Buffalo Literary Center, Laurie Dean Torrell, Executive Director, and directed by Debora Ott, LitTAP Founding Director. Guidelines for the 2014 Advancement Re-grant will be announced this coming Fall.

Special Opportunity: 

Advancement Re-grants of up to $7,500 Available

Deadline: December 18, 2013

Award Notification February 2014

LitTAP – the New York State Literary Presenters Technical Assistance Program – invites current NYSCA/Literature General Support grantees and applicants to apply for Advancement Re-grants of up to $7,500 to support thoughtful development and expanded capacity within their organizations. Requests may be for capacity building or program support.

Click here for Grant Application & Guidelines


  • Open to FY 2014 NYSCA/Literature General Support publishers, presenters and service organization applicants as well as current General Support grantees;
  • Minimum operating budget of $80,000 according to budget submitted to NYSCA for FY 2013 or 2014;
    •   Organizations with budgets of $80,000 to $499,000 may apply for up to $5,000;
    •   Organizations with budgets over $500,000 may apply for up to $7,500;
    •   A 1:1 match is required, 50% of which may be in-kind;
    •   The project budget must demonstrate secured matching funds;
  • Projects must begin and be completed within twelve (12) months of the award;
  • A final report will be required.

Free audio anthology for the vision impaired


Sondra Mochson


85 Channnel Drive
Port Washington, New York 11050


Here are comments by a LitTAP participant:

“As the day progressed I noticed the trend more and more toward collaborative writing & discussion of writing.  The idea which disturbed me was others PARTICIPATING in the creation of a piece of writing.  Several times during the day the discussion included references to a trend which I don’t believe we can stop, which is the constant communication via cell/computer/texting/blogging, etc. which I have noticed includes communicating about your breakfast, bathroom/bedroom/kitchen habits, etc.  We seem to be without the ability to critique ourselves.  As in a hive or ant hill, we want to be constantly communicating.  However, that hive communication seems often more purposeful. Have you noticed how banal most overheard cell phone conversations are?  I’m not so sure inviting one & all to chime in as a writer works would be good.

Having some experience looking at copies of old manuscripts which had editing marks by the author[s] I agree it is invaluable to be able to see what happened in an author’s mind during the creative process.  But to participate DURING the process – ?  The voices that keep popping into my head are these: “Yeah, but – Mr. Poe – WHY a raven? – An eagle: now that’s a much more impressive bird, don’t you think?  Why not make it an eagle, Edgar?” and “C’mon, Bobbie – ‘whose woods these are I think I know?’  I mean – you’re only doing it for the rhyme, aren’t you?  Nobody would say it that way.  It’s ‘I know whose woods these are!’ and then you’ve only gotta rhyme with ‘are’.  Get with the program, Bobbie!”

I do not believe any writer working seriously would want collaboration of others unless s/he was familiar with their work and wanted to do a collaborative piece.  I think most writers know writing is hard, solitary and private.  LATER you want feedback – NOT during the creative process.  I SEEMED to me, and perhaps I’m being unfair, that the folks who were so fervently behind this concept were NOT writers, but publishers, editors, agents & so on.  I would be very interested in what other writers think.  I did hear similar grumbling around me from those who were writers.  The others seemed blithely confident that it was a good idea.

I hope I haven’t insulted anyone.  Perhaps I’m just crotchety in my declining years.”


Fernando Botelho

I have a question for Mary Gannon, Editorial Director for Poets & Writers — who happens to be sitting next to me. Mary: How do you decide how much of your print articles to put on online?I noticed your online article on MFA Program Rankings contained much, but not all, of the print article — it was certainly more of a teaser, but made me want to go to the article to read the rest.

We post all of our News & Trends articles from each issue, as well as one feature, typically. The theory is to give potential subscribers a sample of the editorial content and also to post articles that are shorter and, therefore, easier to read online. Finally, we have a very writer-friendly policy, so we pay for electronic rights, and as a nonprofit we can only afford a certain amount. Regarding the MFA rankings article by Seth Abramson, we posted the rankings without the data and a condensed version of the article because, frankly, we couldn’t technologically reproduce the entire rankings/data chart online. And we wanted the piece online because we hoped it would drive traffic to the site and begin a conversation about the subject. If you only provide promotional copy to entice people to buy in print, people can’t fully engage with the content. And they may stop coming back to the site.

The concept for today’s convening is to have literary organizations present their technology plan — how they’ve come to the place they are, what issues they have faced and continued to face, and how their organization’s mission is represented by their choices regarding these technology plans. Each panel pairs a small organization (comprised of a volunteer staff member or two, for example) and a larger organization with greater staffing and financial resources. Each panel is moderated by a member of the literary community, a knowledgeable individual who will shape the conversation and help to weave your questions into a stimulating conversation.

All together at Poets House — Kathleen is reading the wonderful bit from The New Yorker. Which is seriously funny!

More soon . . .


Anne Marie Cooke
Senior External Relations Officer


20 Roszel Road
Princeton, New Jersey 8540

(Formerly Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic® at

Now that we’ve had the pleasure of hearing from Debora Ott and Kathleen Masterson, I’m happy to let you know we’ll feature LitTAP Convening panelists. So look forward to Q&A responses from BOMB Magazine’s Paul Morris, Geoffrey Gatza of BlazeVOX, and E.J. Van Lanen of Open Letter. After the convening, we will also feature your reflections on the event — a great way to continue the conversation!

In the meantime, Kathleen Masterson says, “If you want a good laugh re: technology and publishing, go to this article (a “Shouts & Murmurs” piece in The New Yorker):





Steven J. Tepper, Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy at Vanderbilt University

YouTube video — 58 million people have seen Paul Potts on “Britian’s Got Talent.” Root for pro-am — professional amateur. Vs. artists performing flawlessly for audience — our model. Shows that arts are not “dead.”

All in arts have operated in shadow of last great transformation in field — shaped by technology. 1909 — 365,000 pianos sold in U.S. Piano “was a musical hearth” in 19th Century. “Participation was all about doing.” In 19th Century, Shakespeare was “popular” art — performed by families. 1/3rd of pianos = player pianos. Era of passive participation had begun — radios, phonographs, movies, etc. changed from doing to consuming. From “thick” to “thin” participation — consume what someone else performed. Art orgs, institutions, schools developed to help.

By mid 20th century — participation = audience. People listening to events. 2002 NEA survey — audience participation = all about attendance.

Wholesale disengagement — young people not going to musical events, reading literature, going to baseball games. People who do things do other things, across all sorts of activities. SO, people are changing the kinds of things they do — biggest events, with biggest audiences, do not do best (i.e., Little League, Minor League baseball doing well). US rates similar to, sometimes better than, Europe.

Religious communities — engage in arts. Mainline churches — 20% have book clubs.

WSJ survey — 3/4 of college grads said moving to a place they want to live, as opposed to place for a job. Music is no. 1 activity for Gen. X & Y. Want “mash-ups” of art forms. 17% of young people want careers in arts — more than double that want to go into business.

UCLA student survey — students want to do more in arts.

Other surveys: 81% of Americans want to write a book. 33% of teens online have created something. 19% have created an online journal. NWU survey – 21.8 of students writing poetry/fiction. 86% — own creative work is very important to them. Survey: 52% discuss book, poem, story — vs. 90% own creative work.

Also — young people want to see creative process unfold. Why “Reality TV” is so popular. Plus, choice is important — exploration of the new is a cultural activity. Rhapsody — given the opportunity to listen to an unlimited amount of music, people take advantage of it. “Will lead to death of mass market.” Find niche market.

Also, breakdown of cultural consumption. Rise of the omnivore — person who likes Classical music will like all over kinds of music (except Country/Western!).

Second Life: 250,000 a day interact. 10 x the size as San Francisco. 100 million user-created objects. Average age = 32. $35 million traded in SL properties. Also, cultural graffiti. Terms: modding, wiki spaces, machinima, life catching, mob tagging, narrative overlay, etc.

12% — feel they are VIPs in 1950 vs. 80% in 1980. Avg. student in 1980 is more anxious than 85% of students in 1950. More overconfident, but more anxious.

Young people — better at engaging moment, but have a harder time finding meaning/purpose.

Have to understand social life connected to Facebook, Twitter, etc. to engage w/ them.

Narrative — important to understanding who people are and why they do what they do. To succeed, most have an understanding of own story.

Process — question about Yaddo, which does not want younger attendees making videos, blogging about time. Audiences want to know about process. Theater group made video of rehearsals, showed to audiences before performance.

Anyone who’s doing something wants to do it better — and gain status from doing it better. “The fact that they are in the game is so important — we have to deepen their engagement.”

The money Seven Stories Press is making from Kindle is increasing every month! Also: this year, Seven Stories has changed from a static website to a blog format, which allows them to “talk to our readership.” Seven Stories: important for publishers to be content providers online — start conversations about books. Publisher must start discussion.

BlazeVOX moved into e-books from a literary magazine because of author demand. Track numbers online of how well authors do in moving from magazine to book. Web statistics allow for a greater understanding of who readers are, what they are looking at.

Question: “free-mium” model — how does it work for publishers? BlazeVOX only started charging for books in 2005, after five years of publishing. Operating in a “gift economy.” Emphasis on getting books into hands of readers. Seven Stories — believes in conversation, though needs to make money to operate. The field is wide open — any experiments in getting books out into the world are still new, necessary. Does serializing of books online, online sections of books which has been effective.

People have equated possible audience you can get on Internet to audience you can really get on Internet! It’s all about connections.

Book is part of the experience — author and publisher committed to doing that, through online experiments AND book publishing, according to Seven Stories Press. But according to BlazeVOX, literary experience is no longer contained — bound! — in a book. With Kindle and other digital readers, reading will change.

Great quote, from Geoffrey Gatza on 1984 and Kindle, which pulled the novel from devices: “Violence was involved.”

Blogs can create community, help lovers of book tell friends — help foster experience. Help bring readers to events, according to Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer. Author is no longer someone who writes — has to go out and “gather an audience,” according to BlazeVOX. And tech can create virtual discussions online, according to Seven Stories Press — can have conversation w/ writer(s) “within” the text itself.

Can create directed conversations about a book (vs. social networking). Next great quote, from Lars Reilly on social networking: “I barely want to talk to the people I live with.” And, from a friend, “If you don’t have Facebook and Twitter as a publisher, that’s malpractice . . . you are not serving your authors.”

Seven Stories Press: publishers can connect readers to other books they may respond to, love online. Important to promote press as curatorial — “like a great old record store.” Must do that as well as promote individual writers/pieces as well.

Makes sense to know about “Internet Titles” — books talked about online, not available in stores. Also, sometimes easy to focus on a title that wouldn’t necessarily sell well. Really about getting readers to “try” the book — really about reaching out to a wider audience. Not so worried about quantifiable translation right now — though happy for e-book revenue.

Seven Stories Press: catalogue — went from print to virtual, to save money. Got responses from new readers, but lost a certain audience. And literary readers seems split between print book buyers and a new online generation — must reach out to both camps.

BlazeVOX: books cost $3 ($2,000 total). With many titles, can make revenue on small sales numbers.

Seven Stories: sent PDF of review copies — most didn’t want them, a few did.

Question: online as promotional vs. revenue-producing. Seven Stories: worst thing we can do is think about the Internet as strictly promotional — it HAS to be revenue-producing. Is still predominantly promotional, but starting to see revenue. Have to let the market to figure out a universal way to let an e-book sell — we’re not there yet at all.

One Story — successful org uses tech to further mission. Only do tech that has a chance of revenue. Developed online Submission Manager — 100 mags use. Also developed online subscriber DB. Websites help publishers look more professional.

Publishing Genius — artifact is still important. Is Reads, Chapbook Genius, Everyday Genius. All are vehicle to get attention for book.

BOMB — started blog last Jan. Video, audio, podcast. From 5 to 10 person staff, plus additional interns. “Free-mium”: all interviews now online for free — BOMB’s rights (vs. literature — don’t have rights). Discussed payable options, not feasible for cost of doing, stats. on how would sell. Subs increased by 25% since putting up more recent content. Happened w/ mag redesign — a more desirable object.

PG — all except for books online. Don’t pay writers — use content to get an audience. vs. OS — don’t give anything away for free. If you give something away for free, and audiences don’t like that — they may think they might not like us. MB — OS is mag w/ website. Stategized w/ consumer mag — took content off website, put teaser on, got more subs. Smart to test, follow stats.

BOMB — also working w/ JSTOR (library sub. service, list of mags which you can access via computer — “like a library loan, but in cloud”). Online — BOMB doesn’t look like it does in print vs. JSTOR. Also — good to see changes over the years.

PG — for readers: several communities online for every kind of writing that you like. Important to find, become active, connect. Agree that no one is late to the table right now — no one knows what will stick. Electric Literature — uses all possible formats to promote literature (NYT article:

OS — in the beginning, got friends to give work for free. But pay writers for stories. Pay a little more for Kindle (do either by sub or by piece). BOMB — pay writers as well. OS — People wouldn’t pay for online content, but WILL pay for via Kindle! Like newsstand: you give them, they charge what they want.

PG — Blog helps us reach audience. OS — asks for feedback on blog. If they get a few responses, that’s a lot. PG — BUT, people might talk about OS on THEIR blog.

Maribeth Batcha: New York Review of Books — Had Poem-a-Day for Nat’l Poetry Month on website, brought people via Twitter.

Hypertext work — not showing up on mag websites.

CLMP website — has list of literary magazines online. EBSCO puts mags online to Amazon. Poets & Writers has magazine database.

PG — au. of chapbook novel worked hard, chapbook went viral. Got interview on Bookslut. Production company for Spike Jones read, followed up. What can writers do? Facebook, blog — PG au. used blog effectively, became active in community. “Uncomfortable deliberateness” to write blog so you can sell a book, but useful.

BOMB — got grant from NYSCA & Warhol Foundation to digitze archive. Website is a search engine for archives. OS — doesn’t have digital rights to archive, but is considering to do so.

BOMB — spend a lot of time trying to keep people on site — on bottom of page, “If you enjoyed this article, you might enjoy this article.” Connect to more work.

Stephen Motika — seems like response has a lot to do with individual personality (i.e., Harriet blog on Poetry foundation, Ron Silliman blog, etc.)

Academy of American Poets: online since 1993, before Amazon and Yahoo, etc. 1997: launched w/ programming: poet biographies, games. Now: over 1 million visitors a month. One year — had Almanac, with new content every day, which set up current structure. Coding, structure easier, more automated.

Open Letter, 3 Percent. Press — 2 years old, 12 books. Idea: webblog — tell who Open Letter is, what they do. Now reviews, awards. Build support and community.

Billy Merrell: “The funny thing about technology: the more we have, the more it opens up to us.” Every development leads to further development.

Open Letter/3 Percent: challenge is time. Tough to keep up w/ new ideas along w/ publishing work. Would farm out work if they could.

AAP: less integrated than they would like us to be. 9,000 dues-paying members as well as subscribers — but both DBs aren’t integrated. Web Store and ticket buyers list not tied to Fundraising DB as well. AAP — done fundraising appeal (“help us buy a robot”) around automating for website. Also, once ahead of curve, now behind in some ways — “Do you wait for something to be cheap and readily available, or do you build something yourself and have to fix it constantly?”

Challenge: AAP website gets hacked! Big sites get scammed for vulnerabilities — recently hacker went through calendar on AAP. Google will take off search ranking if they find out. Can’t know of vulnerability until you get hacked.

OL: at university, started own website so as not to go through monolithic structure. Content Management Systems for publishers too expensive, not so customizable — so OL built own CMS.

AAP: a time when funders would give tech grants for website creation. Past that stage — hard to get funding for web 2.0. How to get funders to realize how valuable website is as program that reaches a wide audience. AND, how audiences want content delivered. Beth Harrison: “It’s not just a website, it’s a way of life.”

“Evergreen vs. ongoing” content — why AAP can’t add 200 bios. Each bio is a commitment to keep up-to-date into perpetuity. Google analytics — a lot of javascript online for problem solving. Billy Merrill: “Once you got so used to knowing stats that once you start making decisions based on that, you want it for everything.” Google can give you info. Web redirects — shows you who goes to which redirect — track sources. Billy Merrill — contact him for two links that explain (e-mail:

Question: how much marketing, outreach is too much. AAP: newsletter — make easy to unsubscribe. As long as subscribers are growing more than unsubscribers, good for org. Manage staff marketing work via staff-wide Google calendar to make sure it’s spaced out. Can also ask for feedback as marketing — i.e., what ideas do you have? — follow up w/ fundraising appeal to lists, let audience know. Layer things on top of each other — provide both print and web materials to members/community. Used to think there’s no too much ,b/c you can turn it off. Be aggressive, watch traffic — when that drops off, you can stop. OL: reach out on everything — anyone who’s following in any way will see it. E. J. Van Lanen: “Try to be consistent, focus on one book/event at one time, with everything we do.”

OL: Use Google for mail, don’t get statistics. But follow website — starts small, builds. Main thing is to update each day w/ material that readers will find interesting — not only content, but explanation about what you do. Doesn’t have to always be interesting to whole audience.

AAP: count newsletter response via click-back response. Can see through Google analytics. 67,000 subs to newsletter — successful newsletter: 5,000 click-backs. Not accurate, though. Anyone can cut-paste to blog, but won’t count as statistic. Also, just reading text doesn’t count.

Gary Glazner — Bowery Poetry Club. Putting together shows w/ tweets. Launched webcasting all events live in Sept.

How use technology to fundraise? Beyond “button — pay now!” Online auction — works for some orgs. E-Tapestry — fundraising. Web-based. Nonprofit enterprise section of Google. Google — back-end resources. Geoffrey Gatza: online bakesale! AAP tried to make money via mobile phone fundraiser, didn’t work. Also, Giftworks from Mission Research — DB answer to Raisers Edge.

Spam — AAP doesn’t even get alerts, just hears from newsletter subscriber who no longer can get e-mails. Different in different cases — e. e. cumnings and “Sappho, Lesbian poet” can get blocked. Have to go through manually — usually school systems that block.

VPN — virtual private network.

All resources mentioned will be posted on LitTAP website!

Question: AAP — thought of members-only section. Beth Harrrison: “We want poetry to be free. People expect it to be free.” Explain to consumers — you want Poem-a-Day to be free, please help us. Premium to audio archives — $25 or more, can download a CD worth of poetry (“deep cuts from archive”). List that asked to donate first outperformed 2 to 1 over list that ask to pay once used. Psychologically — pay, have value.

E. J. Van Lanen: “Building an audience around literature as translation will lift all boats.” Working to create fan base.

Bob Stein, Institute for the Future of the Book

Talking to publishers — in order to keep doing what you’re doing, you have to make only incremental changes. Don’t have to do what he recommends — for the future.

Printing press — 1454. Took 50 years to put page numbers on books. SO, takes humans a long time to figure out how to use technology. Personal computer is only 35 years old. In middle of deep transition — how species communicate with each other.

When left publishing in 1996, needed professional programmer to do online content. Institute of the Book — MacArthur foundation-supported.

Ways of thinking anew about book, w/ tech.

Writing in margins, book + conversation. Book as blog posts in the making. Teacher working with class, annotating on piece — active engagement w/ text

Dorris Lessing’s Golden Notebook — comments in column alongside text. Proved value of asyncronous reading — didn’t have to meet all together in a physical space.

Easy to do, inexpensive. Examples, not online: Howl — text + audio, audio goes along w/ text (turns page as read). Emily Dickinson text — showcase all possibilities of text

Experiments — work well in a closed group, and if author is present. BUT, doesn’t work if you just put it up online.

“A book is a place where readers and sometimes authors congregate.”

“Old school” authors — engage with subject for readers vs. “new school” authors — engage with readers on behalf of a subject.

To publish online: need 1. distribution mechanism (Internet is great), 2. display (iPhone good, iTablet will be better), and 3. tools (DON’T have). Don’t want to publish five things, want to publish 50 things. CD-ROM — elegant. Vs. Internet. Locating content in a network — not that you could get it, but that it would put you in touch w/ others. Internet — connecting. And examples — easy to do, but might break! Not stable enough.

Looking to establish fair use for audio that we have for text. Found Bob Dylan lyrics — quotations are fair use, but included musical accompaniment. Copyright will be fought “in the streets,” depending on what people do, what happens in response.

Comment Press — will be available online at Institute soon. Way to present text, image/audio at once. But will be hard to commercialize.

200 years — post-Enlightenment — cult of the individual. Future — about collaboration.





Here is a post from Kathleen Masterson, Director of the Literature Division at the New York State Council on the Arts, about the history and development of the LitTap Convenings. Thanks so much, Kathleen!

The NYS Council on the Arts provides support for the Literary Presenters Technical Assistance Program (LitTap) at Just Buffalo Literary Center, and for the NYTAP program for literary magazines and presses at CLMP.  These projects address technical assistance needs of literary presenters and publishers all around New York State.   NYSCA has had a long tradition of supporting field-wide convenings in its various discipline programs, as well as across disciplines.  The organizers of LitTap and NYTAP wanted to bring this face-to-face experience to both literary presenters and publishers, so the Facing Pages literary convenings were begun five years ago.  We took the name from the method of printing writing in translation and in the original language side by side on facing pages.

Deborah Ott of LitTap (formerly at Just Buffalo), and later Laurie Torrell, also of Just Buffalo, took the lead as project directors at LitTap in making the convenings happen, with help from a great Statewide Planning Committee, and with support from NYSCA.  Writers and Books of Rochester was the founding sponsor for LitTap and Facing Pages, prior to Just Buffalo’s involvement.  The Poet’s House event will be the fifth convening.  The first was at the Center for Independent Publishing in Manhattan, the second at Writers & Books, the third at Minnowbrook Conference Center in Blue Mountain Lake with help from the Adirondack Center for Writing, and the last here in the Council’s offices.  The convenings have covered technical assistance topics requested by the field, including successorship, fundraising, and the ever-changing issues surrounding new technology.  Each has been designed to help presenters and publishers strengthen their infrastructures and their service to the public and to literary artists, and to exchange resources and information to serve that end.

This year’s Facing Pages, at the stunning new Poets House space in Battery Park City, is entitled “Beyond the Tangled Web: Envisioning a Comprehensive Technology Strategy for Your Literary Organization.”  There is a talented subcommittee of literary people planning the agenda, comprised of Michael Kelleher of Just Buffalo, Ron Kavanaugh of Mosaic Magazine, Veronica Liu of Seven Stories Press, Billy Merrell of the Academy of American Poets, and Stephen Motika of Poets House, also our MC for the day.  The subcommittee wanted participants to step back and look, not only at what’s right or wrong with their websites, but at how to think strategically and comprehensively about their overall use of technology and how it will shape itself over the next several years, including, beyond the web, approaches to audience development, marketing, archiving, use of databases, and so on, and how to engage staff and board members in technology planning and use.

I personally find these convenings to be so idea-driven that my mind is reeling for weeks afterwards.  My literary colleague at NYSCA, Christine Leahy, and I are inspired daily by the energy, intelligence and skill in the literary field in this state, and we’d like NYS’s literary organizations to experience firsthand the wonderful resource they have in one another.  People will be attending from as far away as Olean in the Southern Tier, from the Adirondacks, Syracuse, the Finger Lakes, Rochester and, of course, Buffalo.  Participants will have the opportunity to meet NYSCA’s Executive Director, Heather A. Hitchens, as well as NYSCA’s newly appointed Deputy Director, Megan White.  The insights of featured guests Steven Tepper from the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy at Vanderbilt University and Bob Stein from The Institute for the Future of the Book should be perfect antidotes to any lingering deprivation thinking.  No question we’re in hard times right now, but, ironically, that makes it the perfect time to come together and see that bigger picture through the wide new windows at Poets House.

I’m writing to announce the blog for the upcoming LITTAP meeting, on Friday, October 30th at the new Poets House location in Battery Park. To help get all the attendees “revved up” for the Convening, I will be featuring the day’s presenters/presenting organizations, as well as our convening “co-founders,” NYSCA’s Kathleen Masterson and Deborah Ott of LITTAP. Stay tuned . . .

Magazines, Journals & ‘Zines:
32 Poems
Able Muse
The Adirondack Review
Alaska Quarterly Review
The Alsop Review
a l y r i c m a i l e r
American Letters & Commentary
American Literary Review
American Poetry Review
The Antigonish Review
Antioch Review
Another Chicago Magazine
Atlanta Review
The Atlantic Online
AWP Writers Chronicle
Barrow Street
Bellevue Literary Review
Bellingham Review
Beloit Poetry Journal
Big Bridge
Bird Dog
Black Warrior Review
Blithe House Quarterly
The Bloomsbury Review
Blue Moon Review
Boston Book Review
Boston Review
Briar Cliff Review
British Electronic Poetry Centre
Brooklyn Review
Burning Deck
The Canary
can we have our ball back?
Carolina Quarterly
center international de poesie Marseille
Chattahoochee Review
The Christian Science Monitor
Chiron Review
Circumference: Poetry in Translation
Colorado Review
Columbia: A Journal of Literature & Art
Contemporary Poetry Review
Cortland Review
Cream City Review
Double Change
Drunken Boat
Duration Press
Earth’s Daughters
The Electronic Poetry Review
English Matters
The Evergreen Review
Exquisite Corpse
The Fairfield Review
Five Fingers Review
Five Points
Free Verse: A Journal Of Contemporary Poetry and Poetics
Frigate: The Transverse Review of Books
Georgia Review
The Germ
Gettysburg Review
Good Foot
Grand Street
Greensboro Review
Gulf Coast
Harvard Review
Hotel Amerika
Image: A Journal of the Arts & Religion
Iowa Review
Jacket Magazine
The Journal
The Kenyon Review
La Petite Zine
Laurable: Poetry Audio Links
literal Latte
Literary Review
Lodestar Quarterly
London Review of Books
Madison Review
Many Mountains Moving
Marlboro Review
The Melic Review
The Missouri Review
Mid-American Review
Mississippi Review
The Nation
New Criterion
New Delta Review
New England Review
New Letters
New York Review of Books
The New Yorker
Nightboat Books
No: A Journal of the Arts
North American Review
Notre Dame Review
Octopus Magazine
Ontario Review
Open City
Our Echo
Oyster Boy Review
Painted Bride Quarterly
The Paris Review
Partisan Review
Parnassus: Poetry in Review
Phoebe: A Journal of Literary Arts
Pif Magazine
Planet AUTHORity
PMS: poemmemoirstory
Poetic Voices
Poetry Daily
Poetry International
Poets and Writers
Prairie Schooner
The Prose Poem
Puerto del Sol
Puppy Flowers
Quarterly West
Rain Taxi Review of Books
Readme Magazine
The Redneck Review
Riding the Meridian
Seattle Review
Seneca Review
Sewanee Review
Sleeping Fish
Small Spiral Notebook
Sound Eye Irish Poetry
South Dakota Review
Southern Review
Spoon River Poetry Review
Sycamore Review
Tampa Review
Tarpaulin Sky
Tar River Poetry
Terra Incognita
Threepenny Review
Third Factory
Times Literary Supplement
Tin House
The Transcendental Friend
Two lines
Virginia Quarterly Review
Web Del Sol
Western Humanities Review
Words Without Borders
The Yale Review
XCP: Cross Cultural Poetics

Our first Q & A features Debora Ott, LitTAP Founding Director and Liaison for National Projects — thank you, Debora!

Can you tell us about the history of the convenings? How did you come up with the idea, and how has it developed?

In the mid-late ’90s, the Lila Wallace Readers’-Digest Fund (now the Wallace Fund) supported an audience development initiative among eight select literary arts centers and libraries throughout the U.S. called the Audiences for Literature Network, or ALN. When ALN ended after three years, the intention was to expand the network of literary arts centers and keep dialogue/sharing going through technology. Without funding, the best of intentions were not realized.

Kathleen Masterson, Director of the Literature Program for NYSCA, decided to move forward with a New York state-based technical assistance program in keeping with ALN’s goals. In 2001, she approached me and asked it I would organize a technical assistance program for NYS literary arts presenters. LitTAP — the Literary Presenters Technical Assistance Program — was conceived, a web site was built, and literary presenters were able to apply to Consulting Funds to build their infrastructures. Kathleen Sarkis, formerly of CLMP, assisted with the first convenings. The first administrative partner for LitTAP was Writers & Books in Rochester, under the guidance of Executive Director Joe Flaherty; now the program is facilitated by Just Buffalo Literary Center, Inc., under Executive Director Laurie Dean Torrell’s supervision.

The first convening took place on June 3-4, 2005 at the Small Press Center, The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen, at 20 West 44th Street in New York City. This convening did not have a theme, but was a mix of technical assistance break-out sessions, roundtables, and reports from the field. Subsequently, convenings were held in Rochester in collaboration with Writers & Books on May 12-13, 2006 (theme: The Future of the Book); and October 19-21, 2007 at Minnowbrook, a conference and retreat center in the Adirondacks (theme: New Leaders in Literature). Budget cuts from NYSCA resulted in our postponing convenings for FY 2008 and 2009, but as in the convenings, we were able to focus on particular issues that were important to the field and host the following one-day intensive workshops: October 2008, Fundraising for Literature (at NYSCA) and upcoming on October 30, Beyond the Tangled Web: Envisioning and Implementing a Comprehensive Technology Strategy for your Literary Organization.

One of the greatest developments to come of this venture is collaborative nature of planning the events. NYSCA’s support allows colleagues from around the state to gather twice yearly, conceive of, and plan these events.

What ways do you feel the convenings have helped NY State literary orgs?

The intent was and remains “facilitating exchange among Literary Presenters, Publishers and Writers in New York State.” Best practices are shared, trends are explored, and colleagues have time to share informally with each other. Many other fields have national organizations (dance, opera, chamber music) that sponsor annual convenings; literature does not. The program is unique in the US.

What are you most excited about in regards to this year’s convening?

Hmmm…untangling? Seeing the new Poets House? Understanding how to use technology to advance the work? ALL OF THE ABOVE!

Here’s the Q&A response from Billy Merrell, Web Developer for the Academy of American Poets.


1. How has your literary org changed over the past 5-10 years due to technology changes?

As the internet has become an increasingly valid and now necessary means of serving our various audiences, the Academy of American Poets has shifted priorities to embrace as a priority program with transformative posibilities for reaching new readers nationally–much more than the bulletin board for Academy programs it was when the site was launched in 1996.

2. What do you feel new technologies offer you a chance to do that you could not before? What do you wish you could do, if you had limitless resources? is now our primary way of interacting with general readers–some of which know who we are as an organization, and others who may not know who or what the “Academy of American Poets” is.

The web also allows for free, interactive exploration possibilities, as well as more democratic curations of our content. If we were able, would dramatically increase the ways through which readers can share and discover poetry, specifically through integration with third party sites and networks, as well as through on-site advancements in how readers can personalize the for their own purposes and interests.

3. What are the challenges you have faced, and expect to face in the future, in terms of technology?

The proliferation of web-based publishing has made us question much of how we obtain and promote content for Increased permissions costs, as well as a shift toward exclusive web rights, will continue to be a problem for a presenting organization that promotes existing content rather than publishing new work.

4. What other literary orgs do you feel use technology most successfully, and how?

I am most impressed by organizations which carefully select technologies that are most suited to their needs and the needs of their readers–and then who work within the limitations of what they’ve chosen to offer something robust and original.

I’m impressed, for example, by how Two Dollar Radio distributes their catalogs digitally, using the clickable PDF format as an alternative to static (and expensive!) print.

Not only can organizations serve their communities at a lower cost, but they can share their innovative spirit, become an integrated and real part of their readers’ daily lives, and sometimes exhibit the less public sides of their work.

5. How do you see the literary landscape in 10-20 years from now, given the possibilities that technology is opening up for us. How do you think technology might specifically effect literary orgs?

I cannot begin to fathom what the landscape will be like in 10 years, let alone 20. So much will depend on privacy, copyright, and intellectual property law for me to be comfortable even speculating.

I do believe, though, that as readers grow more and more comfortable with rapid, superficial distribution of links, status updates, and reading recommendations, the curatorial value of traffic analysis will increase–and it will be easier than ever to separate the lasting literature from language and reading that takes up most of the day.

Next up: E. J. Van Lanen, eidtor of Open Letter at the University of Rochester.


1. How has your literary org changed over the past 5-10 years due to technology changes?

Open Letter Books is only about 2 years old, so we were born more or less at the moment when publishers were discovering new ways to communicate with their readers on the internet. We incorporated these ‘advances’ into our plans from the very beginning. For example, more than a year before our first book went on sale, we launched Three Percent–a blog dedicated to covering international literature and literature in translation–as a way to build interest in literature in translation and also to establish ourselves in the public mind as both fans and publishers of these kinds of books.

2. What do you feel new technologies offer you a chance to do that you could not before? What do you wish you could do, if you had limitless resources?

The most important aspect of new technologies is that they allow us to get in closer touch with our readers, creating space for direct communication in both directions. This is relatively new in book publishing; traditionally, the only real feedback publishers got from their readers were sales numbers. Now we can find out what people think of our books even before they’re published, which allows us to more finely tailor our marketing and publicity efforts.

3. What are the challenges you have faced, and expect to face in the future, in terms of technology?

Our biggest foreseeable technological challenge will be e-books. Obtaining these rights is difficult (so much is up in the air right now), and because we have a small staff, it takes a great deal of our resources to keep up with making our e-books available in the different available formats. We await the mysterious Apple tablet with some trepidation.

4. What other literary orgs do you feel use technology most successfully, and how?

I think PEN America has been out in front with their website for a while, especially with the advent of the World Voices Festival and the videos of authors, translators, and publishers they’ve been able to make available.

5. How do you see the literary landscape in 10-20 years from now, given the possibilities that technology is opening up for us. How do you think technology might specifically effect literary orgs?

The main effect of most of the recent technological advances seems to be a kind of atomization. On the one hand, this is good, since it opens up space for smaller organizations to have some real influence. On the other, this atomization makes it more difficult to find the persons and organizations you might want to reach and affect. I think those literary organizations who are best able to use technological advances to draw a community of supporters around themselves will likely be successful in a way, and on a scale, they wouldn’t have been able to even 10 years ago. However, it still feels like the early days, and it’s difficult to say which of the technologies we find so interesting today will be actually useful and interesting 10 years from now.

The below is from Geoffrey Gatza, Editor and Publisher of BlazeVOX Books. Thanks so much, Geoffrey!

1. How has your literary org changed over the past 5-10 years due to technology changes?

In every new age there comes a new method. Today the cyber culture sits on the brim of explosion. Our mission, after ten years is still very hard to pin down; we represent neither a group of writers nor one mode of writing. We enjoy innovative works of literature in whatever format that it chooses to find itself. We wish to promote new style, emerging voices and provide an outlet for these artists to express their artistic visions. This sounds good, and in turn we will try to live up to these standards and will do whatever is humanly possible. Please forgive us in advance for our flaws. Without the computer or other technologies, BlazeVOX [books] would not exist.

BlazeVOX Books has published over 150 volumes, mostly poetry, and will publish approximately 20-25 more each year during 2009 and 2010. Our latest book authors include Anne Waldman with illustrations by George Scheenman, Raymond Federman, Ted Greenwald, Celia Gilbert, and Craig Paulenich. A detailed list of all of our titles is located in our online catalog Also just out is the latest issue of BlazeVOX2k9 and online journal of voice. But wait, there’s more; our Wilde Reading Room has 75 ebooks available for free download. As you can see, BlazeVOX [books] presents some of the most original voices writing today.

2. What do you feel new technologies offer you a chance to do that you could not before? What do you wish you could do, if you had limitless resources?

All of our work comes from the computer, either the writing itself or the method it comes to our inbox, to the way it is processed and published. In one sense our resources are unlimited, well limited to what can humanly be done. We have managed to publish a great many authors as our online journal can be distributed to anyone with a computer anywhere in the world. We have no upper limit on page count so we can display a larger look at one author’s work, where in many print magazines we can only view one or two poems. This has been very successful for the authors and us.

With new technologies we have the ability audit our performance and see in real time who and what is being accessed on our site. We know how many people are reading which author and from that we make decisions on how to best plan for future issues, ebooks and printed books. Oddly though, our ebooks are the most popular items on our website, as folks want to read poetry but are resistant to buy the book. The reason for the success, one garners readers and make waves for future book publications. Our ebooks have an average readership of 7000 downloads per title, this compared to the POD titles which have a sales of less than 500 copies.

We are also looking to update our services with recorded performances, video and other emerging forms of communication as technology grows. Not only the tech we have to bring things out, but more importantly it is our reader who are using new devices to read literature and we are ready to meet those needs.

3. What are the challenges you have faced, and expect to face in the future, in terms of technology?

Some challenges are in keeping up with the new programs and educating oneself in the current methods of real communication. Only recently I have been feeling overwhelmed by the new forms of communication, like Twitter and Facebook. Which are themselves not difficult to learn, but to keep up with all that is out there and how close ones readers are to that author have had a real impact on how we conduct business.

Also, as you know, every year software changes and to keep current required a lot of time keep up on self-education. I have recently joined training site, which has short films on how to work almost every piece of software we might encounter. So this helps.

4. What other literary orgs do you feel use technology most successfully, and how?

There are a thousand more but these are a part of my daily ritual.


UbuWeb is a large web-based educational resource for avant-garde material available on the internet, founded in 1996 by poet Kenneth Goldsmith. It offers visual, concrete and sound poetry, expanding to include film and sound art mp3 archives. UbuWeb was founded in response to the marginal distribution of crucial avant-garde material. It remains non-commercial and operates on a gift economy. UbuWeb ensures educational open access to out-of-print works that find a second life through digital art reprint while also representing the work of contemporaries. It addresses problems in the distribution of and access to intellectual materials.

Their extensive collection is wonderful, various, important and free. The collective, decentralized nature of UbuWeb gives it the ability to be open and responsive in keeping these works in the public eye.

Poetry Foundation

The ideal website for a poetry magazine, luckily this is Poetry magazine so it is good that they are leading the way! From their archives, to their blog of revolving prominent poets on varied subjects, reading guides, videos and much more. If the Lilly Foundation gave me money this is what I would install immediately. This is one of the great resources!

Silliman Blog

Generally, a well-informed blog by Ron Silliman, providing a daily run down on the current Post Avant poetry activity.

5. How do you see the literary landscape in 10-20 years from now, given the possibilities that technology is opening up for us. How do you think technology might specifically effect literary orgs?

Literary organizations will thrive in the new technological landscape. In the next generation of the Kindle or a more advanced device based on the cell phone, literary journals and arts organization will find to project their texts and performances over the new devices for audiences to see then when they want to and not go to the event itself. This is already beginning to happen and will only become more pronounced as a single platform and device becomes established as the new reading / watching / listening device.

Here is a Q&A response from Paul Morris, General Manager of Digital Media and Marketing for BOMB Magazine. Thanks Paul!

How has your literary org changed over the past 5-10 years due to technology changes?

BOMB launched a basic HTML website in 2000, featuring partial content from the current issue only. This helped to increase exposure to BOMB’s mission: to deliver the artist’s voice through carefully developed interviews between visual artists, writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians. However, at that time we had no way to sell subscriptions online, except by referring people to a phone number and to newsstand retailers. Our resources were limited back then, and most grants and private donations were funneled back into printing and overhead costs for our quarterly publishing operations. Staff size was approximately 4.5 people—primarily comprised of editors—and most were considered part-timers.

It wasn’t until 2005 that we really began to strategize e-commerce solutions for driving online subscriptions and back issue sales, and also for delivering past and current content. Since that time, we have completely reconceptualized BOMB’s entire web presence to include a radically restructured website running Ruby on Rails web server, using a MySql database, that contains a near-complete online archive of BOMB’s 28-years of interviews.

The BOMB Digital Archive, made possible in part by grants from NYSCA, the Warhol Foundation, and private donations, is a three-year digitization project that will be completed by the end of 2009. In addition to the Archive, BOMB has been pursuing several new online initiatives over the last three years made possible by new media technologies, including a streaming BOMBLive video series; downloadable podcast features; photo galleries of parties and live events; web-exclusive interviews and conversations; and regular e-blasts that promote new content and programming. Most importantly, we now have a clearly visible subscription and back issue sales option that has increased revenue substantially, and we have plans underway for a more formal shopping cart model.

About a year ago, BOMB launched a blog, BOMBlog, which has allowed us to reach a younger and more widespread demographic than ever, especially students, through programs like As opposed to the long-form interview format for which BOMB is famous, BOMBlog features short, pithy Q&A’s, reviews, round-ups, photo essays, original poetry and fiction, and regular event listings curated by BOMB staff. Built into the fabric of the blog is an option to comment on and discuss articles so as to encourage discussion among our readers, inviting them to join in on the conversation that is at the core of BOMB’s mission.

In addition, through third-party licenses with such companies as JSTOR, Project MUSE, and the Copyright Clearance Center, BOMB’s content will now be accessible at university and institution libraries throughout the world via private database companies, who pay BOMB modest annual royalties. We are currently exploring other ways to monetize BOMB’s content using e-publishing platforms through Kindle and other e-book reading devices, an iphone application, and digital facsimile editions of the magazine.

BOMB regularly partners with key organizations, via cross-linking, digital ad trades, and content sharing; these relationships complement our own distribution methods by pushing our content online virally to areas that we have yet to penetrate. Finally, BOMB makes full use of social networking sites to broadcast its message, with a robust presence on Facebook, Twitter, and its own Youtube Channel. BOMB is now a 10-person large organization, with 8 interns on rotating days per semester. Our ability to grow the brand online has increased exponentially in a very short period of time.

What do you feel new technologies offer you a chance to do that you could not before? What do you wish you could do, if you had limitless resources?

The advent of new technologies has allowed BOMB to broadcast our mission of delivering the artist’s voice across multiple channels and through different mediums. Whereas before we only delivered the artists voice within a print magazine and primarily through the medium of text, we are now able to explore a fuller range of media for disseminating our content, from streaming video conversations, to podcasts of interviews, to 140-character tweets of interest for our fans and followers to appreciate. BOMB content is now available to a greater number of people, as well as a greater variety of users, who might not otherwise have encountered BOMB in print, but who prefer to receive their content in audio, video, or mobile technology formats.

Given additional, or limitless, resources, BOMB would provide the most complete picture possible of its 28-year legacy for free as an online open-access model for content sharing. This would require full-time technical support, which we don’t currently possess, and the purchase of additional hardware like computers, scanners, recording equipment, and state-of-the-art software applications. This would allow us, for example, to make full PDFs of past issues available online and for download too, to better illustrate the vintage layouts from the ‘80s and ‘90s. We would also expand our video series and push it into the broadcast television realm, through cable programming or such sites as and We would increase production of our podcast audio series and venture into internet radio, featuring a variety artists & writers in conversation. We would launch the BOMB Oral Histories Project with a dedicated staff to coordinate, record, transcribe, and edit transcripts. With limitless resources, we would expand our range of partners we work with to ensure that BOMB’s content reaches the widest possible audience, becoming a content provider for other websites, blogs, and organizations where appropriate. This would entail research, outreach, and strategic planning with additional full-time staff leading the charge…resources we currently lack.

What are the challenges you have faced, and expect to face in the future, in terms of technology?

There has been a steep learning curve as we get up to speed with new technologies and what they can do for us. We are still very much a small staff, most of whom are artists and writers in our spare time who come from traditional print (i.e., analog) publishing environments. The language of new media technology is not our lingua franca. But as we learn the value of going digital everyday, we appreciate the democratization of information that we’re witnessing. In keeping with our mission to deliver the artist’s voice, we understand that BOMB’s content will be of the greatest value if it can be accessed online for free worldwide.

Our biggest obstacles include limited resources and few full-time staff. With the example of our Digital Archive, we have relied on unpaid interns, enthusiastic and committed students and recent grads, to help scan, OCR, code, and proofread past interview content for the web. The learning curve for the technological processes is high, and interns invariably move on, so we find ourselves in training mode frequently, which slows our progress. As we gear up to tackle e-books and iphone apps, for instance, we’re facing the dilemma of whether we will be able to afford to pursue these initiatives just to test the market, with no guarantee of success. We need to be very focused with how we spend our time, and on what, so as not to be stretched too thin. As a result, we cannot pursue some of the more exciting and innovative avenues until other projects have been completed, and even then we may find them too cumbersome to tackle given our limited means.

What other literary orgs do you feel use technology most successfully, and how?

We like what the Paris Review does with their site, as well as The Believer. Several of our peers’ e-blast newsletters are smartly configured, like A Public Space’s. We’re big fans of Stephen Elliot’s The Rumpus, and the new McSweeney’s iPhone app is a great model for us in thinking about this possibility. We partner with the Academy of Americas Poets and PEN America, and we’re happy that content and link sharing is so seamless with these organizations.

How do you see the literary landscape in 10-20 years from now, given the possibilities that technology is opening up for us. How do you think technology might specifically effect literary orgs?

More and more, we are seeing that readers no longer necessarily head to websites for their content; the content is now coming to them through RSS feeds, PDAs, Audible/iTunes, etc. Likewise, people are not going to bookstores, preferring instead to order online. The novelty of attending a reading or panel or staged conversation has worn off, aided by the pervasiveness of podcasts that offer recordings of these same events, without the need for tickets or crowds. With the advent of smart phones and other mobile technologies, people are reading on the go more than ever. The result is an ever-discerning, harder-to-reach audience, one that may well end up having a shorter attention span and which will not be satisfied with a just a text-based experience. They will be expecting multimedia to complement, or replace, what was once a text-dominated industry.

Literary orgs will have to adapt to this lifestyle change, finding ways to promote their missions and their content to audiences with inventive solutions that anticipate this trend. A decline in traditional “reading” does not have to mean a drop-off in interest in literature, however. Literary organizations will need to work together in the future, supporting each others’ efforts by partnering on new projects. As more content is created, and as the access to more information increases, readers will be looking for trusted, reliable filters to help them make choices. That’s where we as literary organizations come in. Lits orgs, independent publishers, etc. will have to step up and strengthen their identities, refining their editorial choices, ensuring that readers understand their curatorial tastes. In this way, technology will keep us all more focused in our efforts to support arts and culture.

The 2014 LitTAP Facing Pages Statewide Convening

Wednesday, May 7th and Thursday, May 8th through lunch

At Poets House /Battery Park / 10 River Terrance/ New York, NY 10282

Join colleagues from around the State in New York City as we explore the ever evolving role of the writer in literary organizations.  In addition to providing an opportunity to gather together as a field and share information and skills to advance our literary organizations, the 2014 Convening will continue last year’s emphasis on engaging your boards – with board members most welcome to attend!

Registration is FREE.

Travel stipends of up to $200 (per organization) available for those traveling in from out of town.

Registration Packet will be available in mid-February.  Register by April 25th!

2014 LitTAP Planning Committee