If you’ve spent much time around a slushpile, you’ve probably heard someone complain that too many writers don’t read nearly enough. (Or perhaps you have been the one to make that lament).
Tin House has something along the lines of a solution:
Tin House Implements New Policy for Fall Reading Period. Unsolicited Submissions must be Accompanied by a Receipt for a Hardcover or Paperback from a Real-Life Bookstore.
PORTLAND, OREGON (JUNE 30, 2010) In the spirit of discovering new talent as well as supporting established authors and the bookstores who support them, Tin House Books will accept unsolicited manuscripts dated between August 1 and November 30, 2010, as long as each submission is accompanied by a receipt for a book from a bookstore. Tin House magazine will require the same for unsolicited submissions sent between September 1 and December 30, 2010.
Writers who cannot afford to buy a book or cannot get to an actual bookstore are encouraged to explain why in haiku or one sentence (100 words or fewer). Tin House Books and Tin House magazine will consider the purchase of e-books as a substitute only if the writer explains: why he or she cannot go to his or her neighborhood bookstore, why he or she prefers digital reads, what device, and why.
I like it, as any writer worth anything should be able to scrounge up a receipt from a local favorite bookstore pretty quickly. (Unless you are like the young Roberto Bolano, who is said to have stolen his reading material. In that case, Tin House may suffer a surfeit of young waifish poetry.)