In both the big and small ends of town, what does it take to stay afloat in the publishing business? These days, it seems that no matter your skills, the paying of bills looms large – whether you’re in small press, independent journals, magazines, books, ‘new’ media or news media.
Through subscriptions, retail, arts funding, sponsorships, donations, ads, crowdfunding and more, we’ll take a fresh look at the financial and technological changes keeping today’s publishers and writers on their toes. And we’ll talk about some of the tactics (and the logic underpinning them) that publishers are deploying in response. Who’s leading the field, who’s surviving most confidently, and how do you balance quality, quantity and liquidity? How are publishers and writers branching out – into events, publishing different kinds of material, taking on paid work in complementary fields – to make ends meet? Is there a better way?
Sam Cooney is the publisher of the Lifted Brow, who’ve just broadened their remit to include books as well as a quarterly magazine and website. Former Junkee editor Steph Harmon is now the Guardian’s Cultural Editor. Jane Howard is the newly-minted director of Digital Writers’ Festival. In conversation with Meanjin editor Jonathan Green, find out how they’re keeping the lights on.
Jonathan Green has been a working journalist since the late 1970s. This makes him both very old and reasonably experienced. After an early degree-ending flirtation with public radio, the bulk of Jonathan’s career has been spent in newspapers, beginning with a cadetship at the Canberra Times and taking in a small Cook’s tour of Australian dailies: the Melbourne Herald, the Herald Sun, the Sunday Herald, the Sunday Age and the Age. In mid-2015 he was appointed as editor of the literary quarterly Meanjin.
Sam Cooney runs the literary organisation TLB, which houses the independent book publishing press Brow Books and quarterly literary magazine The Lifted Brow, as well as running a website, writing prizes, events, and more. He is publisher-in-residence at RMIT, teaches sessionally at several universities, and is a freelance writer and literary critic.
Steph Harmon is founding and managing editor of Junkee, a politics, pop culture and comment site which publishes work from some of the best young journalists and writers around Australia. Prior to Junkee, Steph was the editor of music and arts streetpress The Brag, and founding editor of arts and culture website Throw Shapes. She occasionally appears on ABC radio, FBi Radio and The Project, and tweets from @stephharmon.
Jane Howard is a contributing editor at Kill Your Darlings, and a freelance arts journalist, critic and researcher with a focus on performance. Her work has appeared in publications including ABC Arts Online, RealTime, Meanjin and Junkee, and her experimental criticism projects have been supported by organisations including the Lifted Brow and the Performance and Art Development Agency.