Fleeced by FC2?
We’ve shit on Narrative Magazine so much that I thought it might be fun to have it go the other way round for once: here’s someone shitting on a press that I really like.
I give you a link to and excerpt from Tim W. Brown’s essay in Preditors and Editors and in the ULA’s Monday Report. The essay, published in 2006, is (hilariously?) titled “FLEECED by FC2: Being an INVESTIGATION into the CONFLICTS of INTEREST and SELF-DEALING that Plague the Publisher FICTION COLLECTIVE 2, with ADDITIONAL OBSERVATIONS on the Academic-Government Complex, Proper Organisational Stewardship, &c.”
Excerpt after the break.
…FC2’s books are written by tenured radicals based in creative writing programs in universities around the U.S. Together they form a “collective,” a small coterie of authors of fiction on the self-styled “cutting edge.” FC2 authors fancy themselves avant garde and “transgressive” – as transgressive as you can be, I suppose, living in college towns and congregating in university classrooms. FC2 long ago left behind Brooklyn and any rude edges it ever had, and its operations are now divided among three verdant state university campuses. Collective members are extremely tribal about whom they choose to enter their club. Acolytes of über-plagiarist Kathy Acker, they exist outside her Downtown space/time continuum, but they sorely wish they had hung out in the East Village back in the 1980s and made the scene with her.
Yet my interest in FC2 isn’t really about the content of its list – if the press considers surrealistic logorrhea to be fine literature and want to publish it, that’s perfectly okay with me.
The truth is nobody has much interest in FC2’s books’ content, there being far less interest than I expected before my investigation. The press sells small print runs of their titles mostly to libraries. A recent grant application to the Florida Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) expressed the “hope” of selling 700 out of a total of 1,500 copies printed of each title it planned to publish in 2005-2006. Despite a few admiring critics who have reviewed their titles in a handful of mainstream and independent periodicals, there isn’t much public curiosity in or commercial market for their books.
FC2’s operations and funding are extremely opaque. It was like investigating Enron when I looked into its business affairs. Early in my inquiry, I emailed Berry asking about the relationship between public funding of FC2 and regular publication of its board members. Berry responded, imperiously, “[W]e are not a division of Florida’s state government, we are not subject to its ‘sunshine laws,’ and disclosure of financial information is at our discretion, as in the case of other private corporations.” Because Berry was less-than-forthcoming about FC2’s finances, I was forced to rely upon publicly available tax records and grant application information to piece together FC2’s business operations…
To read the rest of the essay go here.