December 27, 2014. It was 2007 when Joy Stocke and Kimberly Nagy did the unthinkable: They essentially converted the highly regarded literary magazine the Bucks County Writer – founded in 1998 and published by the Writers Room of Bucks County – to an online journal.
“We were told we were going to fail,” Stocke recalled.
In reality, failure was the likely outcome if the magazine reminded in print form, she said.
“We could no longer afford to distribute print,” said Stocke, 57, who, as a literary journalist, author, and community organizer of writers, took over the Doylestown-based nonprofit Bucks County Writer in May 2003, editing it until the winter of 2006. It had been funded through advertising, subscriptions, and donations.
Both the name “Bucks County Writer” and the printed edition are no more, succeeded by the online launch of Wild River Review. Within two years, Wild River Review (at www.wildriverreview.com) was being hailed in literary circles for its international reach and interesting interviews – and that still amuses Stocke.
“Afterwards, you’re called a visionary,’ she said, rejecting such highfalutin praise. “That was completely a business decision. For a successful business, you have to be practical.”
The Wild River Review, designed in part to get readers to think critically about social issues and leave them “nourished – they’re going to get some food out of it,” Stocke said, has attracted not only readers but potential book authors to Wild River’s publishing and consulting services.
Nagy, 48, honed her marketing and publicity-management skills at publishing houses in London and New York before becoming a work-at-home writer mom in 2003. That was prior to joining Stocke in the Wild River enterprise.
Going online was not a hard sell to the bookish Nagy.
“I love books. I am passionate about beautiful books,” she said. “But books alone aren’t enough anymore. Having an awareness of the digital world is mandatory for any author.”