March 24, was The Millions’ second birthday. In the year since my last “happy birthday” post, blogs have become firmly mainstream. It’s become difficult to find a person who asks the once common question, “What’s a blog?” The book blog world has become amazingly robust in the last year, meriting frequent mentions in the mainstream media and providing a real alternative to newspaper book coverage that manages, at best, to reach some of the readers some of the time. Based on the many emails I get, book blogs have become a venue of conversation (and a potential outlet for promotion) for authors and publishers. For those who bemoan the stagnation of the literary world – and all of the book bloggers seem to do it from time to time – we are in the midst of a shift, if not yet a revolution, in national (and international) literary discussion, which has migrated from book club meetings and bookstore aisles out into the open. I am regularly delighted when a Millions reader, and book lover, leaves a comment or sends me an email, thus entering the conversation. I also love the loose give and take among the several dozen book blogs and the way themes will propagate across the blog landscape one after another until there is a dense web of conversation floating among us in the ether. The best thing about this is it appears to be just the beginning. I have ten times as many regular visitors as I did at this time a year ago, and new book blogs appear almost weekly it seems, adding further depth to the discourse. When I started, I just figured it might be fun to write about books as a way to make use of all the time I spent surrounded by them at the bookstore. Everything that’s happened beyond that has been gravy. Thanks for two great years, Millions readers (and contributors)!
We are no longer accepting applications for this position. For the first time ever, The Millions is hiring a paid part-time social media manager. This person will helm our Twitter feed, Facebook page, and Tumblr, and help shape the social media presence of the site. This is an exciting opportunity to get in front of a laundry list of influential, brilliant folks in publishing, media, and academia, not to mention the most engaged, avid readers of literary work that you’ll find anywhere. The job: We are looking for someone who can spend a minimum of five hours per week, apportioned any way you see fit. (You will ideally have the flexibility to participate in “Make a book a dad book” hashtag games on Twitter from time to time.) The basic responsibilities are: Posting to our Twitter account, Facebook page, and Tumblr Curating our “Curiosities” link roundup Brainstorming with editor and publisher about how to get our essays and criticism onto readers’ screens You are: A voracious reader with a solid knowledge of contemporary fiction A culture vulture and up to date on the literary/arts issues of the day A social media superstar who voluntarily spends a lot of time online An engaging writer both under and over 140 characters Very organized, responsive, and able to make the most of your time with not a lot of oversight Reasonably technologically savvy (experience with Tweetdeck or other social media management tools required; experience with Wordpress and email marketing platforms nice to have) Compensation: $500 per month. After six months there will be possibility of expanding the position and renegotiating this rate. The Millions has no dedicated office, so this is a remote position and can be done from anywhere in the world. To apply: People of color are strongly encouraged to apply. Please send the following materials to [email protected]: A resume Three sample Curiosities, using the format we use on the site Twitter account(s) you use; any Facebook pages you’ve had the opportunity to run for schools, publications, companies, etc.; your Tumblr, blog, etc. (Essentially, show us that you have experience using these tools, even if it’s just your own sparsely followed, but very entertaining Twitter account.) The deadline is Friday, August 5. We look forward to hearing from you! Image credit: Flickr, brizzlebornandbred
We're welcoming a new regular contributor to the fold today. Lydia Kiesling has shared her "Modern Library Revue" project with The Millions over the last few weeks, and as of today The Millions will become its new home. As a regular contributor, Lydia will also depart from her project to offer up posts on non-"Best 100" books and on other topics as well. A bit more about Lydia:Lydia is a graduate of Hamilton College. She is an ardent book-lover and has spent the last two years working in the antiquarian book trade.We would also like to note that the addition of Lydia brings The Millions to near gender parity. And to think, not so long ago we were an all male shop.
Join us in welcoming our newest regular contributor at The Millions:Anne K. Yoder is a writer living in Brooklyn. She is the former books editor of KGB Bar Lit, and her writing has appeared in Tin House, BlackBook, and PopMatters. She moonlights as a pharmacist in the West Village.You may remember the two pieces Anne penned for us recently. Her next offering will be up shortly.
The Millions is six years old today. We're another year deeper, and as in past years it seems an appropriate moment for reflection.Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the shape and format of what we do here. The Millions is ostensibly a blog, a publishing format that seems to have had a brief heyday around 2005. Prior to that, blogging was maligned as some sort of barely human form of discourse, the rantings of madmen and -women or the laughably amateur efforts of the idle or obsessive.Gradually, the form matured, and was adopted and institutionalized in many corners. For The Millions, maturing meant bringing on regular contributors and working with publishers and publicists to wrangle interviews with and essays by notable writers. It also meant thinking of ourselves as a legitimate (even "mainstream") publication.But now, suddenly, blogging is feeling a little old-fashioned. First Facebook, then Twitter and Tumblr, have fetishized brevity and broadcasting, leaving blogs looking ponderous and even insular by comparison.There is, no doubt, huge value in these tools. Facebook and Twitter offer connectivity, though with built-in limitations to communication. And add Tumblr to the mix and you have three incredible tools for filtering, or, as it is sometimes better better termed, curation.In the vast wildness of the internet, we rely on curators. Some people are very good at it. There are also algorithmic curation tools and community-driven curation tools, though their output tends to be robotic in the case of the former and reflective of a form of self-reinforcing mass peer pressure in the latter. Meanwhile, through Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and more prosaic means like email and chat, our friends and "friends" curate for us, shooting links our way to make us laugh or think.We do some curation here too. Over the last year we've regimented our "Curiosities" posts, with all of our regulars providing links, making for a curious weekly mix of goodies from around the web.But much more of our energy is devoted to something else: generating original reviews and essays, some quite short and others very long. Increasingly, it seems, this sets The Millions apart. It dictates that, though there are nine of us, we rarely publish more than one or two items a day. It also means that we tend to have a lot invested in each item we post. We invest time in each piece you see here, but each also bears the promise of The Millions' survival and future growth - the more that people care about what we write, the more The Millions grows. And, of course, the opposite holds true as well.This isn't meant to be rant of any kind. I wanted to bring it up because I value the work that the contributors here do and because I appreciate that all of you out there read it and all the professional and amateur curators who link to it. That is a big part of what makes running The Millions worthwhile.In thinking about all this, I spent some time skimming through The Millions archives of the last year, and while these aren't the longest or most popular or even necessarily the "best" things we've run all year, they are, I think, a worthy sample of what The Millions is all about:This year, Garth cracked wise about novel titles. Garth and Kevin reviewed one of the most talked about books of the year, and later, the book's author made an appearance. We had visits from other illustrious guests, as well. Andrew reviewed a quirky book and wrote about music. And Emily asked, "Why So Serious Batman?" Edan did many a great interview. Garth tried to make sense of tragedy. We did group posts and covered notable literary events and generally offered our own twist on things.Thanks for another great year, Millions readers. We continue to value your intelligence, curiosity, and feedback.
I've got a great opportunity for any aspiring writers in Los Angeles. My good friend Edan Lepucki, an excellent writer and teacher (see her bio below) has decided to start her own fiction writing course. Edan and I met when we worked together at Book Soup in Los Angeles. While there we both led a book club, and her teaching chops were evident from the very start. Our book club members all became big Edan fans. Anyway, if you're interested, email Edan. This is definitely a worthwhile opportunity. Here are the details:Class Description and Information:This fiction writing course is open to anyone who adores, fears, and/or is challenged by the English language and narrative craft. Each week, we will meet at my apartment in Los Feliz to hone our skills as storytellers, discussing published work as well as the work of our peers. There will be in-class and out-of-class writing exercises, each one designed to tackle a different element of craft, including but not limited to: characterization, point of view, scene, setting, and voice. Light refreshments will be served.Thursdays, 7:30-9:30 pmSeptember 14th to October 26thMaximum enrollment: 9 studentsFee: $295 (plus the purchase of Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction, $18.00)--various payment plans available...Instructor Bio:Edan Lepucki is a recent graduate of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she won the Richard Yates Short Story Contest and taught classes in both literature and creative writing. Her work has been published by, or is forthcoming from, Meridian, Filthy, and West, the Los Angeles Times' Sunday magazine. Last summer she was a fiction fellow at the Vermont Studio Center. She likes Paris, dogs, and filling out forms.If interested, please email Edan at [email protected]