To do good writing, read good writing. Here’s the good writing I’ve been reading this week:
Yesterday, I wrote about blogger Andrew Sullivan’s bold move to leave the relative security of working for someone else to strike out on his own, building a website that readers will pay to access, with fees starting at $19.99/year or a sliding scale.
I wrote that going out on his own is a good move for a blogger such as Sullivan, who has an established reputation, huge following and editorial support staff, and that other bloggers can learn from it, even if they’re not nearly as well-recognized.
Others disagree. Portland writer and CulturePulp web cartoonist Mike Russell, who writes for the Oregonian and elsewhere, took to Twitter last night to disagree with my basic premise. Russell based his opinion on what’s happened in the universe of webcomics — comics that live online — over the past half-dozen years. He pointed me to a post he wrote summarizing a lecture he’s given about the webcomics business.
Bottom line, Russell writes, the most successful webcomics have built businesses by giving away the comics but charging for T-shirts, books and other ancillary products. “Webcomics make every online mistake 5-10 years before other media, and they gave up on paywalls near-totally years ago,” he tweeted. Read Russell’s post here: Workshop Notes & Links: The 7 (or so) Habits of Highly Profitable Webcomics.
Russell and I aren’t the only ones weighing in on Sullivan’s subscription-based blog. Here are some others:
- BuzzFeed, Andrew Sullivan and the future of making money in journalism (TheAtlantic.com)
- Andrew Sullivan is going back to the future as an indie blogger (New York Times)
- Is Andrew Sullivan worth the 20 bucks? (WSJ MarketWatch)
- Andrew Sullivan is making bank (Politico)
Other Good Reads from This Week:
Why You Won’t Be the Person You Expect to Be (New York Times) – “At every age we think we’re having the last laugh, and at every age we’re wrong.”
Dish Network, the Meanest Company in America (BloombergBusinessweek) – Writer Caleb Hannan’s no-nonsense cover story of Dish Network owner Charlie Ergen is a great example of how richly detailed a profile can be even when the subject won’t talk to you.
The Chickens and the Bulls (Slate) – A historical look at a sting operation that took down a major gay extortion ring in the 1960s, and one of Longform.org’s picks for the top dozen long-form reads of 2012.
Media Industry News
Tiny Castles of Doom (Dallas Morning News) - Writers aren’t the only ones that fret over unsent emails, as Salon personal essays editor Sarah Hepola shares in a carefully crafted essay of her own. Hepola is as busy as any other editor and doesn’t always respond to the many messages she gets from writers. She’s so down on herself about not answering them she can’t do anything about it, which perpetuates the cycle – until now. The next time you wonder why you haven’t heard back on a letter of introduction or query, remember this.
News media in 2013 looks like 2009 all over again (Pando Daily) – It’s deja vu all over again, says Paul Armstrong, the guy behind the @themediaisdying Twitter account, which in four years of sharing newspaper layoffs and other industry bad news has grown to 25,000 followers. “ Updates on @themedisiadying network are up, and circs are usually always down,” Armstrong writes. Read the post to see why.
Content Marketing Trends For 2013: 5 Questions With Joe Pulizzi, CEO Of The Content Marketing Institute (Web Search Social) – Design for the mobile web and other trends to look out for this year.