Alert, alert! Jane Friedman and Manjula Martin, of beloved Who Pays Writers fame, have launched a magazine! It is called Scratch, as in money, and also as in writing, and it will be have interviews, reportage, and personal stories about the economics of being a writer.
A free preview of their first issue is online now, and it’s definitely worth checking out. My favorite part so far is their Transparency Index, which details not only how much everything that went into the magazine costs (hosting, design, contributor pay, et al), but all of the personal relationships that led to the different pieces in the magazine.
Okay, actually my favorite (money-related) part is in Manjula’s interview with Jonathan Franzen where he talks about his early years as a writer and how he got by (hint: no debt, low overhead):
After I graduated, I worked a little bit in New York City for my brother, Tom, in the summer of 1981. I was his gofer, basically going to plumbing supply stores on the Bowery. It was wonderful. And at the end of six weeks, he gave me six 100-dollar bills, which seemed like a lot of money at the time. I put it in my sock when I took it back to my apartment, in case I got mugged.
Then he talks about how his wife baked their bread, and how he hasn’t Googled himself since 2001. God bless him.
P.S.: Do any of you bake your own bread? Or do you leave that up to your wives? Ha. I’ve done it once. I have bread-baking ambitions but the time and labor involved makes my $5 bodega bread seem worth it for now. Maybe this is the winter of bread baking for me. Only time will tell!