With gratitude and a sense of quiet pleasure in expectation of the future, we mark this month as the beginning of Narrative’s fourth year of publication. Way back in 2003, we produced the magazine’s first issue during ten swelteringly damp August days while visiting at a friend’s house on Martha’s Vineyard. That first issue, featuring six pieces contributed by Rick Bass, Bridgett M. Davis, Min Jin Lee, Joyce Carol Oates, Jane Smiley, and Tobias Wolff, went out into the world without any advance promotion and without a single reader waiting. Would it find readership and support? Would a for-free, first-rank, online literary magazine be viable? Today, Narrative’s audience of some fifteen thousand readers worldwide expands by four to five hundred new readers each month—readers who come to the magazine mainly by Internet word of mouth, since we’ve done very little advertising and promotion, though we plan to do more in order to provide our writers with a larger audience and to help encourage literary values in the digital age. To each of Narrative’s readers and to all those who contribute work, time, thought, or resources, we are grateful, and we think that years from now you will look back with pleasure on your early association with the creation of something worthwhile. We hope you will.
Not long ago, you may have received a message from Narrative asking for a donation. We heard back from some of you with donations, for which we are extremely grateful—we’re working hard to make the magazine strong—but we also heard, later, from many people that the solicitation for a donation did not reach them. One of the difficulties of online publication is that email announcements may go astray or may be snagged in spam catchers and junk email boxes; or a reader’s email or snail mail address may change without our knowing it. And it’s not only requests for donations that go astray but also invitations to parties and readings, calls for manuscripts, prize announcements, and other news. We like to think that all the messages get through, but we know that they don’t always reach you. We encourage you to keep your contact information current by visiting the “Edit Account Info” link in the left-hand navigation menu inside the magazine whenever your email or snail mail address changes. Also, if you use a spam or junk filter, we ask that you set your filters to accept email from narrativemagazine.com. That way, when a new issue comes out, or when we send party invitations, news, and announcements, you won’t fail to get the word.