Make it Work
Make It Pay
Our regular While You Were Writing author, Sara Castillo, is off on assignment covering Comic-Con International this week in San Diego. I’ll do my best to fill her big sneakers and find the clever voice she drops in your inbox every Friday. I don’t expect to succeed.
Comic-Con was once about nerds and comics – ink-on-paper graphic novels and serials. It’s evolved into something like a All-Things-Fantasy event, but this year the big draw is an ink-on-paper success story – E.L. James (@E_L_James), author of “Fifty Shades of Grey.” James’s Thursday discussion and book signing sold out fast, according to The Hollywood Reporter, which said of the audience, “a majority of those there to get their books signed by James didn’t look like typical Comic-Con fans. Instead, they were older women, with a few men sprinkled in.” Nerds of a different breed?
Passion drove James to write Fifty Shades, but every freelancer has known the siren call of a pay day — those assignments we take just for the cash. The tactic isn’t new, says English professor Ken Davis on his blog Manage Your Writing. Daniel Defoe, author of Robinson Crusoe, was taking such gigs as far back as 1745. His how-to, The Complete English Tradesman, might be blamed for the tide of self-help’s, how-to’s, and pop-psychology texts that currently keep writers and the publishing industry busy.
Crusoe wanted a paycheck; New Yorker staff writer John Cassidy wants enemies, two in particular–President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. In an interview published this morning by Talking Points Memo, Cassidy (@TNYJohnCassidy), said he “hopes his writing infuriates both the major campaigns.” He also shared his thought on the transition from longform to blogging. (Follow Cassidy’s blogging on the campaign).
“I’d been doing those great long tedius pieces for 15 years… At the New Yorker, everything goes through the machinery, that’s the great strength of the New Yorker, that it’s not spontaneous. Everything is put through the machine. It means I’d often spend three, four, five months on a single story. I have a newspaper background. I kind of missed getting involved in the daily news cycle. This was a way of doing that.”
As members of the the old guard, like the New Yorker, are embracing the power of blogging to report the news, SCOTUSBlog continues to revel in its success last week studiously, and slowly, reporting the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act while major news organizations had to correct reckless headlines. But blogs and bloggers remain second-class citizens in many circles. Poynter’s Mallary Jean Tenore (@mallarytenore) wrote Wednesday about SCOTUSBlog’s struggle to access to the very forum they report on.
“Despite high reach and widespread use, SCOTUSblog is still not credentialed by the Court — and probably won’t be anytime soon… SCOTUSblog reporter Lyle Denniston, who’s been referred to as an “icon of the Supreme Court press corps,” has a Court credential — but only because he also files reports for WBUR in Boston.”
Other writers and writerly events in the news this week… Women’s writing site She Writes launches book publishing division. “It’s for writers searching for a model that actually makes sense in a radically changed publishing landscape,” She Writes founder Kamy Wicoff told PaidContent… Pulitzer-prize winning reporter Linda Greenhouse asks if if it’s time to ignore the siren call of he-said, she-said journalism. (Nieman Journalism Lab)… Magazine Closures Drop Significantly In First Half Of 2012 (Folio)… But layoffs may be coming to Sports Illustrated (Adweek)… And, the Associated Press announces olympic-size coverage plans for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Phew! Thanks for tolerating Sara’s substitute this week.