It was my pleasure to do a half-hour interview with Dorian on WFMU-FM’s “The Speakeasy” last night. Our talk ranged from A Field Guide to the North American Family to Julio Cortazar to print vs. online to James Wood (natch). Check it out at www.wfmu.org/playlists/SE, where you’ll also find interviews with Lawrence Wright and Charles D’Ambrosio, among others. (Segment starts at 27:00, following…that’s right…Ashford & Simpson!)
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)!
As you’ve probably noticed from the new byline attached to the review of Richard Ford’s The Lay of the Land that I posted earlier today, we’ve been joined by a new contributor at The Millions. Noah is an old friend of mine whose book reviews have appeared in a handful of publications, and I’m glad to have him aboard.
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.
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
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)
$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.
People of color are strongly encouraged to apply. Please send the following materials to [email protected]:
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
I’d like to interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to invite our New York-based readers to come out this Friday, November 2, to celebrate the launch of my first book of fiction, A Field Guide to the North American Family. The release party will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. at the lovely and capacious Housing Works Bookstore & Cafe on Crosby Street in SoHo.I’ll be reading from the book for about half an hour and showing slides of the illustrations. During the remaining hour and a half, I’ll be signing books and Max and I will be hanging out and drinking free booze with you. We always enjoy meeting our readers, and I’d love to see any and all of you there. (I need all the support I can get!)
I do this every summer don’t I? If you haven’t noticed, posting has become a bit sparse at The Millions, and I expect it to be more sparse as the summer wears on. We’re leaving Chicago soon, and we’ll be heading to temporary digs in Washington, DC, before finding a permanent place to live (the final destination is as yet undetermined though we’ve narrowed it down somewhat.) So, essentially, I’ll have a lot of stuff going on and so blogging will take a back seat. And anyway, it being summer, I’d guess that most folks will be enjoying themselves outdoors and on the road rather than in front of the computer. So, look for just a couple of posts a week give or take until the fall months roll around, and maybe by then I’ll be unveiling some changes at The Millions. Or perhaps it’ll stay the same.In the meantime, here’s a small cache of links for your purusal.An old link, but new to me. Slate commisions pulp covers for classic novels. (via BoingBoing)The Book Critics Circle blog decries litbloggers linking to Amazon. (My response is in the comments.) The Literary Saloon weighs in as well. (via Scott)Alan Cheuse presents his “summer reads” at NPR and shares some background on the selections at the Happy Booker.