Nov. 14, New York City: Malled event!

The final frontier — Manhattan!

My book, “Malled: My Unintentional Career in Retail” was published April 2011 in hardcover and July 2012 in paperback, but my first-ever event in New York City is November 14, presenting with three other authors at a mediabistro evening.

I’m glad to finally have a chance to present the book in NYC, as it’s virtually impossible to get a bookstore or other event there unless you’re a Big Celebrity; 100 authors (!) asked to be chosen for this event, so those odds give you some idea what we’re up against!

The Stand

228 Third Avenue, between 19th and 20th.

6:30 to 8:30p.m.

Few Broadside readers live close enough to stop by, but if you do, I hope you’ll come out!

I’ve been doing a lot of public events in the past few months: The Decatur, Georgia Literary Festival; speaking to 200 retail students and retailers at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis; speaking locally to two women’s clubs.

I love meeting readers and potential readers. We all shop and many of us have worked, or are working, in retail, so it’s a subject we can all easily relate to. Retail and foodservice, part-time jobs with no benefits and very low wages, are the two largest sources of new jobs in the U.S.’s still-struggling economy.

“Malled” offers several important stories:

It’s my own story of losing a well-paid staff job, at the New York Daily News, in July 2006 — returning to freelancing — and watching my income plummet to barely one-quarter of my former salary, like many people in the recession.

It’s the story of what it’s like to, even part-time, shift careers from a respected and intellectually-challenging role as a writer to a low-wage hourly worker whose every move is captured on security cameras.

It’s the story of dozens of retail associates around the country, some earning excellent money on commission to a woman in her 50s, with a shiny new master’s degree, making $7.25/hour at a department store in North Carolina.

It’s also the story of how a global supply chain puts workers’ lives and health at risk, like the 30,000 workers in Shenzhen, China who make electronics for Apple, Nokia, Samsung and others; as I was writing the book, 17 workers at Foxconn committed suicide, so appalling were their pay and working conditions; this link is to Wired magazine.

On Black Friday, 2008, on Long Island, a worker who opened the doors to impatient shoppers was trampled to death. His story is in “Malled” as well.

Here’s a sample of the book.

If you buy a print version and would like me to sign it to you or someone else as a gift, email me and I can share my mailing address; it’s also available as an e-book, of course.

I’d really appreciate it if you’d help spread the word about this the event and the book — blogging, Facebook, Tweets. We also have a Malled FB page with timely, updated retail-related stories.


The Facebook Effect — New Book Chronicles Life Inside 'A Company Of 25-Year-Olds'

SAN FRANCISCO - APRIL 21:  Facebook founder an...
Mark Zuckerberg. Image by Getty Images North America via @daylife

Curious about Facebook and how it came to be? Check out this video, an interview with ex-Fortune magazine writer David Kirkpatrick about his new book The Facebook Effect.

Kirkpatrick, clearly not a man in his 20s, says he was given full access to the company and its employees after meeting its founder Mark Zuckerberg at Davos. Having abandoned earlier ideas for business books, on cellphones, IBM and Microsoft, Kirkpatrick gratefully realized he had an uparallelled opportunity to explore one of the world’s most popular companies.

And one, unlike many, full of 25-year-olds who talked too much, he told Mediabistro. Since Facebook is built upon principles of transparency, Kirkpatrick found a surprising openness and candor from his many interview subjects.

It's J-Day: Mentors, Money and Where to Find Them

A helping hand
Image by Eduardo Deboni via Flickr

For anyone still trying to make a living doing serious, thoughtful journalism, it’s crazy out there. Staff jobs are increasingly hard to get and keep. Freelance budgets have been slashed. Blogs pay poorly for all but the big stars. Whether you’re trying to fund a project, a book, a pitch, a series, a documentary — or the travel costs to get to a great story —  the bills keep showing up, no matter how frugal you are or, if you’re really lucky, how generous, patient and understanding your parent(s) or partner.

What happens if you just hit bottom? You’re about to become destitute, despite years of hard, recognized work? Contact the Writers Emergency Assistance Fund, of which I’m a trustee. Our maximum first-time grant is $6,000 and those in desperate need can get a check within a week or two. We listen carefully, read all details of a request, check your credentials (we’ve had people try to scam us), confer, vote and respond quickly. Our trustees include magazine editors of national magazines, past and present, and several veteran freelancer writers. We don’t approve all applicants, so please read the details. But we’re here to help, and we’re able to do so as well as we can, recently, thanks to a fellow writer, Cecil Murphey, who has made several extremely generous donations. As many of us know, some writers make a lot of money, while others live check to check. Sometimes, the smartest work can’t find a ready audience.

I also want to talk about mentoring, a fancy word for help. Continue reading “It's J-Day: Mentors, Money and Where to Find Them”