Seattle's Office of Arts & Culture is accepting applications for its CityArtist Projects grant, which provides funds for artists seeking to complete a project. The grant changes disciplines every year, and literary artists are up for consideration this year. You have 55 days left to apply, so get to it.
Ted Closson's cartoon at The Nib titled "A GoFundMe Campaign Is Not Health Insurance" is required reading. It seems that every day I see another writer or musician or artist in medical distress whose lives depend on the outcome of a GoFundMe campaign. This, of course, is total bullshit.
Speaking of crowdfunding, here's something: "Neil Gaiman Will Do a Live Reading of the Cheesecake Factory Menu If We Raise $500,000 for Refugees."
At The Atlantic, Asher Elbein writes about the turbulence that Marvel Comics is experiencing at the moment. It turns out that Marvel isn't flailing due to an increased drive toward diversity (as some dipshit white men on the internet claim). In fact, Elbein argues, the company has fallen deep into a negative feedback loop of insularity and ego.
At The Beat, Heidi MacDonald backs up Elbein's column with her own observation:
...I came upon yet another problem for Marvel: working with libraries – another source of easy money for most publishers – isn’t much of a priority for them...As one prominent librarian put it to me, “People [in the library space] ask me is there a way to contact Marvel and I say, ‘nope it’s just impossible.’ Often, they’re people who want to buy 200 copies of something. I say ‘Good luck!'”
I just want to confirm MacDonald's experience and add that Marvel never supplies the media with review copies, a weird policy held by virtually no other publisher in the business. Additionally, I've talked to multiple writers over the years who argue that, for a company that likes to brag about the high value of its intellectual property, Marvel pays its contributors very little. Maybe if they actually invested in their people, Marvel wouldn't be suffering from low sales?
Yesterday, Amazon opened its first Amazon Books brick-and-mortar store in New York City. Thu-Huong Ha from Quartz didn't enjoy the experience:
The store doesn’t let you escape the noise of shopping online: One section is for books with more than 10,000 reviews; another display is for “page-turners,” based on ebooks that customers have read in three or fewer days; with a few exceptions, books need a 4-star review to be in the store; to enter, you have to walk around a table showing books 4.8 star-rated or higher.
Of course, the Seattle Review of Books visited the very first Amazon Books store in University Village when it opened two years ago. We were horrified.
We've visited Amazon Books a few more times in the intervening years, too.
We're still horrified.