paper trail

Aug 13, 2013 @ 12:26:00 am

Aaron Swartz

It’s getting harder and harder for longform journalists to support themselves writing, especially now that big media outlets are tweaking staff writer contracts to make sure that if articles get optioned for movies, magazines get a portion of the payout. This is why Joshuas Bearman and Davis have started Epic, “a kind of online literary platform that will commission and publish big, nonfiction narratives that might also make good movies.” The idea is that the money made over "the entire life" of an article—"magazine fees, sales on and Amazon Kindle Singles, ancillary film and television rights"—will go right back in to funding longform journalism.

E.L. James topped the list of the world’s highest-earning writers this year with an income of $95 million, followed by James Patterson, Suzanne Collins, and Bill O’Reilly.

Bookstores are turning to online crowdfunding to afford paying their bills. The turn to sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo marks a big change for bookstore owners, who are typically tight-lipped about their financial troubles. “You never tell people your problems,” children’s bookstore owner Peter Glassman told the New York Times. “The worst you say is, ‘Business is a little tight.’ ”

In an essay for the Times, essayist Phillip Lopate worries about worrying about his status as a “midlist” writer and poses the question: “How are we to keep a firm grip on our own sense of worth when the authorities dish out such random responses? How are we to stop obsessing about ‘them,’ the reward-givers?”

John Berger, Vivian Gornick, Wayne Koestenbaum, and others list their all-time favorite essays.

Wired has published the first 104 pages of of the Secret Service file of the late coder and activist Aaron Swartz. The documents were handed over as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought forth by Wired staffer Kevin Poulsen.