paper trail

Mar 11, 2013 @ 12:43:00 am

Fyodor Dostoevsky's wife, Anna.

The Slate Book Review’s Dan Kois breaks down how he calculates how much to pay writers. Among more predictable factors (“how much I love or think I will love the piece,” “how little I think I can get away with paying”) is an especially interesting one: “whether the writer has friends who I have also assigned pieces to who might tell her how much I paid them.” Melville House executive editor Kelly Burdick makes the point that “it makes me think that we’ve all discounted gossip as a reliable threat for underpayment.”

Meanwhile, at the Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates considers when it’s worth working for free.

With it’s $150,000 prize, can the Donald Windham-Sandy M Campbell Literature Prizes (awarded for the first time this year) compete with the Nobel Prize for Literature?

Billfold breaks down the economics of writing and self-publishing an 70,000-word supernatural romance novel.

The Moscow News has an article about the wives behind the novelists: ”Russia's most celebrated writers—including Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Nabokov, Bulgakov, Solzhenitsyn and Mandelstam—are often depicted as solitary geniuses. But many of their works were the fruits of creative partnerships with their wives. Far from being passive typists, they served as editors, researchers, translators, publishers and more.”

At Salon, Laura Miller writes about a $50 million donation to the University of Michigan’s creative-writing program, and argues that it's money wasted. Though programs can provide supportive environments for promising writers, she argues, they "have difficulty imparting to their students a central truth of most authors’ lives: Nobody cares about your work. When it comes to books, the supply is much larger than the demand.”