The Business of Freelancing, Blogging, and Books, According to Author Jennifer Armstrong

Mark Armstrong:

Here’s my latest: A chat with author Jennifer Armstrong (we’re not related!) about the business of freelancing and book publishing.

Originally posted on News:

First, I should note: I am not related to Jennifer Armstrong. But! I have followed her writing closely over the years — first during her years at Entertainment Weekly, and more recently as the author of books like Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted (Simon & Schuster), which offered a definitive history of the classic TV series. Her blog also happens to be a must-follow on She gives glimpses into her current work (she’s doing a Seinfeld book next) and she’s refreshingly transparent about the business (and hard truths) of being a freelance writer in 2015. I spoke with her via email about the business of writing and tips for how she makes time for her own blog.

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A Birth Story

Mark Armstrong:

Meaghan O’Connell’s birth story is wonderful and highly quotable.

Originally posted on Longreads Blog:

Meaghan O’Connell | Longreads | Nov. 6, 2014 | 57 minutes (14,248 words)

Download .mobi (Kindle)Download .epub (iBooks)

It was Monday, June 2nd, and I was wide awake at 6 a.m. Maybe to some of you this hour doesn’t sound remarkable, but for me it was. It was the first day in a lifetime of six in the mornings, and I made the three-hour leap all in one go.

By this point, it was 10 days past my due date, and I had a very specific and recurring fantasy of being moved around town in a hammock flown by a helicopter. I wanted to be airlifted between boroughs.

When I told my fiancé, Dustin, this wish, he was quiet for a second. He had learned to reply to me with caution, but I imagine in this case he just couldn’t help himself.

“Like a whale?” he asked.

I laughed…

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When Mitch McConnell Met Roger Ailes: An Early Lesson in Winning At All Costs

Mark Armstrong:

Excellent bit of history from Alec MacGillis.

Originally posted on Longreads Blog:

Alec MacGillis | The Cynic | September 2014 | 13 minutes (3,241 words)

Below is an excerpt from The Cynic, a new book by The New Republic writer Alec MacGillis about Mitch McConnell, who was just elected to a sixth term in the U.S. Senate and—with Republicans now taking control of the Senate—will become the new majority leader. Our thanks to MacGillis for sharing this with the Longreads community.

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#Nightshift: Minneapolis

Mark Armstrong:

Jeff Sharlet is doing something really special with these Instagram essays, and it’s hitting on something I’ve been obsessed with for a while now: The idea that there are people whose voices are being recorded on the Internet, and people whose voices are not being recorded. There are millions of people who will never share anything on the Internet, and it’s an opportunity for those who are online to record the voices and histories of those who are not. Otherwise we’re all just talking about tech and media and business and startups all day.

Originally posted on Longreads Blog:

Excerpts from an Instagram essay, by Jeff Sharlet. See part one.

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On Indie Publishing

This is a principle thing: There are a lot of companies pouring money into long-form storytelling right now, which is great, but in many cases, there’s no real model backing it up. That creates a high-turnover, boom-and-bust atmosphere for sites. Are we going to have to keep relying on VC funding from billionaires to feed us these stories forever?

I believe that reader-generated, recurring subscriptions are critical for ensuring quality storytelling on the internet for many years to come.

I did a 60-second interview with Capital New York about the Longreads Member and digital story fund, and where we’re heading with originals.

Interview: Simon Rich on Guilt, Humor Writing, and Being the Worst Person Ever

Mark Armstrong:

Another great interview from Jessica Gross.

Originally posted on Longreads Blog:

Jessica Gross | Longreads | Oct. 2014 | 17 minutes (4,290 words)

By the time Simon Rich graduated from Harvard, where he served as president of the Harvard Lampoon, he had a two-book deal from Random House. Less than a decade later, the humorist has written four short story collections and two comic novels. He also spent four years writing for Saturday Night Live (he was the youngest writer SNL ever hired) and about two years at Pixar, and is now at work on a film and a television series.

Rich’s level of productivity, impressive as it is, takes a backseat to the quality of his humor writing. His stories are crystalline, eccentric, and universally hilarious. Many of the stories in his new collection, Spoiled Brats are built on an unusual premise, or told from a surprising angle. In “Animals,” a hamster narrates his wretched existence as a…

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Coming Oct. 29, NYC: A Night of Storytelling with This Land Press

Mark Armstrong:

Very excited to be coming back to Housing Works NYC, with This Land Press!

Originally posted on Longreads Blog:


A special night of storytelling with
This Land


Mark Singer (The New Yorker)

Rilla Askew (author, “Fire in Beulah”)

Ginger Strand (author, “Inventing Niagara”)

Kiera Feldman (writer, “Grace in Broken Arrow,” “This Is My Beloved Son”)

Marcos Barbery (journalist and documentarian, writer, “From One Fire”)

Wednesday, Oct. 29th, 7:00 p.m.
Free Admission

Housing Works Bookstore Cafe
126 Crosby Street
New York, NY 10012

RSVP on our Facebook page


Mark Singer has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1974. Singer’s account of the collapse of the Penn Square Bank of Oklahoma City appeared in The New Yorker in 1985 and was published as a book, Funny Money.

Rilla Askew is an Oklahoma-born writer and author of the novel Fire in Beulah, set against the backdrop of the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921.

Ginger Strand is the…

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The Longreads Membership Is Now Twice as Powerful

Mark Armstrong:

We’ve been wanting to do this for nearly five years. Now it’s happening.

Originally posted on Longreads Blog:

Since 2009, Longreads has thrived as a service and a community thanks to your direct financial support. Without Longreads Members’ contributions, it’s possible we would have had to shut down after just a couple years.

Now, here we are in 2014, with a global community of more than half a million readers. In April, Longreads joined the Automattic / family, which meant that the Longreads Member dues were no longer necessary to keep our four-person team going.

This also meant that we could finally make good on our original intention for the Longreads Membership—which was for 100% of your contributions to go directly to independent publishers and writers.

So that’s what we are announcing today: The Longreads Membership is now a great big digital story fund, financed with your generous support. The more Longreads Members who join, the more contributions we gather, the more stories we’ll help…

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Book announcement

Mark Armstrong:

Congrats Tommy! His ESPN story on Jared Lorenzen was outstanding.

Originally posted on Tommy Tomlinson:

I’m too excited to give this a fancy buildup so I’ll just say it: I’m writing a book.

Here’s the announcement from the site Publishers Lunch:


Yeah, I can’t really believe it either.

There are a lot of things I don’t know yet — we’re at the beginning of a long, long process. Apparently, now that the publisher likes the idea, they actually want me to write the damn thing. So it’ll be awhile before you get to hold a copy in your hands — although, if you’re reading this, I do expect you to not only hold a copy in your hands one day, but actually, you know, BUY it.

I’ve been thinking about this book for a long time, as I’ve tried to untangle not just my own struggle to get in shape, but the struggle of so many others. I’ve touched on it a few times, most…

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