Lunchtime Links, 6.21.19

How to save journalism, good news in book publishing, and brilliant weirdos using Kickstarter

I read a lot online about publishing, journalism, money, etc., and thought you might be interested in some of what I’m reading. If you’re not interested, feel free to skip the link posts, which I’ll call out in the subject lines.

As I mentioned in my March newsletter, I’m a huge advocate of public funding for writing. It’s heartening to see a policy proposal like this.

“One part of Yang’s plan for journalism is what he calls the American Journalism Fellows program, which would see the government pay for 535 experienced, vetted journalists to be placed in local newsrooms in every corner of the country.” Andrew Yang, the most meme-able 2020 candidate, also wants to save journalism (Josh Wood for Nieman Lab)


“According to the study, every $10,000 in total family income, a person is about 2% more likely to go into a creative occupation. A family income of $100,000 makes it twice as likely to become an artist compared to a family income of $50,000…The significance of family income contributes to understanding why large numbers of non-white individuals are left out of artistic professions, considering that the median income of Black and Hispanic families in the US is significantly lower than the income of white families.” A Study Says High Family Income Significantly Increases Likelihood of Becoming an Artist (Hakim Bishara for Hyperallergic)


“In late-stage capitalism, as with pretty much every field, publishing is woefully top-heavy. How does any industry not collapse under that?” Of Dollars Per Word and Words Per Minute (Sari Botton’s Adventures in Journalism newsletter)


Some good, specific tips for running a Kickstarter project for an anthology or magazine:

“We all toil in this capitalist hellscape and most of us make our living outside of our creative hustles.” Everything We Learned from Kickstarting Eternal Witchcraft (Pomegranate Magazine)


Some good news in publishing:

“Defying all death notices, sales of printed books continue to rise to new highs, as do the number of independent stores stocked with these voices between covers, even as sales of electronic versions are declining.” The Comeback of the Century: Why the book endures, even in an era of disposable digital culture. (Timothy Egan for New York Times)


For the first time, 50% percent of Americans have listened to an audiobook, (Adam Rowe for Forbes)


I’ll leave you with this chunk from an interview with Kickstarter supercreator Josh O’Neill, who’s doing things differently with his company, Beehive Books:

“When we talk to illustrators or authors or anybody we know we want to work with, the first question we ask is, ‘What is the craziest idea that you have? What’s the thing that you would love to do but you think is impractical or unfeasible or you don’t think you could find a publisher to work with you on?’

“Obviously we can’t do everything, but the excitement of our model is seeing how you can make these wild, quixotic, exciting projects possible. That’s part of why we built our line around crowdfunding, because stuff that can be fatal in the book trade, the things that can make you fail as a publisher using traditional methods can make you succeed in crowdfunding, where people are really drawn to things that are novel, things that are different, things that don’t already exist.” ‘Accidental Publishers’ Markus Sebastian Braun and Josh O’Neill on Making Analog Books in the Age of e-Readers (Kickstarter Magazine)


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