The Problem with Publishing
The conversation at Wednesday night’s indie lit mag panel at Powerhouse Arena did not stray from its predictable territory: the challenges of getting funding, the ever-evolving landscape of digital publishing and self-satisfaction about being Brooklyn-based.
Though quieter than some nights at Powerhouse, the audience that turned up to hear the discussion between six editors (from Moonshot, A Public Space, SET, Slice, Tin House, and Electric Literature’s newly launched Recommended Reading) and moderator Jamie Schwartz, managing director of the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses, was considerable.
Ms. Schwartz began the conversation by asking about money, a topic panelists returned to over the course of the night. “I think it’s a mystery to most people how the economics of literary publishing works,” she commented. “It’s really like an oxymoron.”
Anyone who hoped this mystery might be illuminated further was sorely disappointed.
the literary scene
The mood was largely self-congratulatory Monday night at the celebratory release of New York Magazine’s first ebook, a collection of the magazine’s 26 most popular stories from the past five years, published by Byliner. New York staff and readers gathered at The Half King, singing praises to the publication over sliders and spinach salad and interrogating writers on their celebrity interview techniques.
New York editor-in-chief Adam Moss introduced “three of the longer lasting writers at the magazine,” Steve Fishman, Vanessa Grigoriadis and Jennifer Senior, who each read selections from their iconic cover stories—a profile of Bernie Madoff, Lady Gaga, and a sociological exploration of “why parents hate parenting,” respectively.
In the Q&A that followed, Ms. Grigoriadis was asked about her ability to “seduce the celebrity, to get her to … share intimate details of her life, only to end up reading a piece in which many things are said about her that she doesn’t particularly wish were said about her.”
“I never do that!” Ms. Grigoriadis replied indignantly. “I don’t know what you are talking about,” she added, with only a trace of irony.