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First Chapter: Dave Eggers' New Novel, 'Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever?'

Mark Armstrong:

Here’s the first chapter from Dave Eggers’ new novel. And: You can now follow Longreads on WordPress.com. Do it now!

Originally posted on Longreads Blog:

Dave Eggers | Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever? | June 2014 | 23 minutes (5,800 words)


—I did it. You’re really here. An astronaut. Jesus.
—Who’s that?
—You probably have a headache. From the chloroform. —What? Where am I? Where is this place? Who the fuck are you?
—You don’t recognize me?
—What? No. What is this?

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Longreads’ Best of WordPress, Vol. 2

Mark Armstrong:

Here’s the latest installment of Longreads Best of WordPress, featuring The New Yorker, Guernica, The Toast, The Walrus, The Paris Review, and more of the best independent publishers in the world.

Originally posted on WordPress.com News:

Here’s the second edition of Longreads’ Best of WordPress! We’ve combed through the internet to put together a reading list of some of the best storytelling being published on WordPress. (You can find Vol. 1 here.)

As a reminder: If you read or publish a story on WordPress that’s over 1,500 words, share it with us: just tag it #longreads on Twitter, or use the longreads tag on WordPress.com.

Before You Know It Something’s Over (Riese Bernard, Autostraddle)

On grieving after the loss of a parent at a young age:

My father died on November 14th, 1995, when I was 14. Every day since the day he died I am one day farther away from him than I was before. This is the truest thing about me. It is the most important and worst thing to ever happen to me. It is me. My father died when I…

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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Mark Armstrong:

Put it on your calendars:

Originally posted on The Latest in Longform:

Join us at the Graduate School of Journalism, University of California, Berkeley

With a keynote address by essayist Adam Gopnik, and panels featuring some of the top journalists in the country, this all-day event promises to be an extended, bracing conversation about the state of literary nonfiction.Under the direction of Constance Hale, this Cal conference gathers an audience of talented, veteran journalists, who will hear thoughts and advice from master writers, editors, and agents on the tradition and the edges of literary journalism. We will not just explore how to research and write great stories, but also where to publish them, and how to collaborate with agents and editors.

In addition to Gopnik’s keynote and various panels, there will also be lectures and practical workshops. (And, on on Sunday, November 9, we will offer “master classes” for an additional modest fee.) Sessions will ask big questions but will also…

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Themes for Longform Writers

Mark Armstrong:

Super handy! I am currently using Syntax.

Originally posted on WordPress.com News:

Many of the themes in our Theme Showcase are great for writing and reading longer articles and stories, from our classic default themes — including Twenty Fourteen and Twenty Twelve — to popular personal blogging themes like Ryu and Manifest

Last week, we shared ten of our favorite longreads across WordPress, and we hope you’ve taken some time to sit back and savor these longer pieces. Below, we’ve gathered some themes that work well with longform writing and offer a clean, enjoyable experience for your readers.


On Otium, Yale PhD student Sarah Constantin writes about mathematics, cognitive science, philosophy, and more. Aside from a colorful graphic header image, Sarah keeps her blog simple. You can click on the button on the left to open the menu and access her About page, but the site is minimal, which keeps the focus on her prose.

On Syntax, you’ll…

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10 Lessons from 4 Years Working Remotely at Automattic

Mark Armstrong:

Great advice from Sara Rosso.

Originally posted on When I Have Time by Sara Rosso:

4 years ago today I started working full-time for Automattic.

Four years seems like a lifetime, but it’s a pretty short time in my work history, and it’s been the most life-changing job so far for me. I’ve had years where I spent 40+% of my year away from my home base (with only two weeks off), and I told you how I almost stopped myself from applying and sabotaging my own success. Working at Automattic and working in a distributed team has changed how I will look at work and being productive for the rest of my life.

I wanted to share some of my own reflections, lessons, and scenes of working for a startup with an entirely distributed team for the past four years, in no particular order. Some may say Automattic is no longer a startup, though we just raised more funding, but 4 years ago when there…

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Fake Bestsellers, Concern Trolls and Hidden Agendas

Mark Armstrong:

This is a really great breakdown of ebook sales and rankings. It’s unclear whether Tony’s book could have/should have been self-published, because the only way he was able to report it in the first place was by receiving an advance from a publisher. Publishers, like VCs, take bets on talent, and they help alleviate financial risk for the creator. That’s why self-publishing (while ideal!) won’t always work for those who need upfront cash to realize their vision.

Originally posted on David Gaughran:

boomLast Friday we were treated to a story from the Op-Ed pages of the New York Times, where Tony Horwitz claimed “I Was A Digital Bestseller” then complained about how little money this made him, and how he would now stick with traditional, print publishers as a result.

Then this Op-Ed was held up – in outlets like Gawker – as another example of how writers have it so tough in this scary new digital world which is going to lead us all into penury.

Just like the story I wrote in January – Fake Controversy Alert: Hitler’s Mein Kampf Was Not A Digital Bestseller – the key “fact” in Horwitz’s tale of woe doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.

Can you guess what it is?


Tracker1Boomwas published on January 29 this year. According to KND’s Tracker, before the Op-Ed, the highest rank it achieved in the…

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Introducing Longreads’ Best of WordPress

Mark Armstrong:

Very excited for this.

Originally posted on WordPress.com News:

Today we’re excited to launch a new series with Longreads, the storytelling community that recently joined the Automattic and WordPress.com Editorial family. And we need your help.

We’re looking for the best long-form stories over 1,500 words, across all of WordPress—a quest that will span 22% of the Internet. It will include work from undiscovered writers, as well as the authors and publishers you already know and love.

Help us find and share the best stories

Authors and publishers: When you post something great that’s over 1,500 words, use the longreads tag on your post so we can consider it. You can also share a link to the story on Twitter: Just reply to @Longreads or include #longreads in your tweet. (If your WordPress site is self-hosted, Twitter is still the best way to reach us.)

Readers: If you find something that you love, share it with us!…

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Why Journalism is Expensive

Originally posted on :

Right, so I have this story in The New Republic about how and why the HIV epidemic was so much more severe than Western Europe. It’s nothing earth-shattering, just me listing the higher prevalence, incidence and death rates between countries and giving some (pretty speculative) reasons for them. Standard statistical explainer-type stuff.

Except that this is the first time I’ve ever done something like this, and I spent the whole time researching and writing it absolutely stunned at how much work it was, and the bottomless amount of time it sucked out of my life for the last two months.

One thing I always knew, but didn’t like know-know, about journalism is how much time you spend just getting people to talk to you. One of the tropes of these kinds of stories is saying ‘I called up [name of incredibly prominent and busy researcher or author] to ask…

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Longreads Joins the Automattic Family

Mark Armstrong:

Big news today. We are thrilled to be a part of this amazing company.

Originally posted on WordPress.com News:

Today we’re excited to announce that we are acquiring Longreads, the pioneering service that helps readers find and share the best longform storytelling around the world, for reading on mobile devices.

Over the last five years, Longreads and its community have created a new ecosystem for readers to find great in-depth stories, and for writers and publishers to distribute their best work over 1,500 words. Longreads will continue to do what it does best — recommending stories from across the Internet — and we are excited to have them join the WordPress.com team and continue in their commitment to serving readers.

Mobile reading and the appetite for longform content

As consumption has moved to mobile devices, there has been a growing hunger for longform content: phones and tablets are perfect for enjoying in-depth articles, and there are more moments than ever for readers to dig into a story —…

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