SCRATCH: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living (Simon & Schuster)

Based on the online magazine of the same name, SCRATCH: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living is a collection of honest and informative essays and interviews, addressing the relationships between writing and money, work and life, literature and commerce.

In the literary world, we romanticize the image of the struggling artist, but pursuing a career as a creative also stirs a complicated discourse: either writers should be paid for everything they do or they should just pay their dues and count themselves lucky to be published. You should never quit your day job, but your ultimate goal should be to quit your day job. They are told by more-successful writers to “do it for the love,” but the advice gets quiet when it comes to how to make a living out of writing. It’s an endless, confusing, and often controversial conversation that, despite our bare-it- all culture, still remains taboo. For SCRATCH, editor Manjula Martin has gathered interviews and essays from established and rising authors to confront the age-old question: how do creative people make money?

For the first time, these authors get down to the nitty gritty of money, MFA programs, freelancing, teaching fellowships, finally getting published, the bestseller list, and how they define “success”. They also tackle the penetrating questions on what living in the literary world is really like, including issues of diversity, female likeability, debt and credit, and having a family while managing an artists’ career.

The result is an entertaining and inspiring book that helps readers and writers understand what it’s really like to make art in a world that runs on money—and why it matters. Essential reading for aspiring and experienced writers, and for anyone interested in the future of literature, SCRATCH is the go-to guide to doing the impossible: making a living by doing what you love.

Praise for SCRATCH

"Well-organized, fascinating anthology...highly recommended"-Kirkus Reviews

"Solid counseling for aspirants on what it means to offer the labors of their heart for sale in the marketplace."-Publishers Weekly

"Meaningful for those working in any discipline."-Booklist, Starred Review

Manjula Martin created the blog Who Pays Writers? and was the founder and editor of Scratch magazine, an online periodical focused on the business of being a writer. Her writing has appeared in the Virginia Quarterly Review, Pacific Standard, SF Weekly, The Billfold, The Toast, and other publications. She is the managing editor of Zoetrope: All-StoryScratch is her first book.

Manjula Martin by Ted Weinsten

Julia Fierro is the author of the novels Cutting Teeth and the forthcoming The Gypsy Moth Summer. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Julia’s work has been published in The Millions, Poets & Writers, Flavorwire, Buzzfeed, GlamourTimeOut New York, Psychology Today, and other publications. She founded The Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop in 2002, and it has since become a creative home to over three thousand writers. Sackett Street was named a “Best NYC Writing Workshop” by the Village Voice, TimeOut New York, and Brooklyn magazine, and a “Best MFA-Alternative” by Poets & Writers. She lives in Brooklyn and Los Angeles with her husband and their two children.

Susan Orlean has been a staff writer at the New Yorker since 1992. She is the author of seven books, including Rin Tin Tin, Saturday Night, and The Orchid Thief, which was made into the Academy Award–winning film Adaptation. She lives with her family and her animals in Los Angeles and may be reached at and

Susan Orlean photo by Gaspar Tringale 

Kima Jones has received fellowships from PEN Center USA Emerging Voices, Kimbilio Fiction, Yaddo's 2016 Howard Moss Residency in poetry and was named the 2014-2015 Gerald Freund Fellow at The MacDowell Colony. She has been published at GQ, Guernica, NPR, PANK, Scratch Magazine and The Rumpus among others and in the anthologies Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, Her Own Accord: American Women on Identity, Culture, and Community and The New York Times Best Seller, The Fire this Time, edited by Jesmyn Ward. Her short story "Nine" received notable mention in Best American Science Fiction 2015. Kima is an MFA candidate in fiction and Rodney Jack Scholar in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. She is a founding board member of Makara Center for the Arts. Kima lives in Los Angeles where she operates Jack Jones Literary Arts, a book publicity company. 

Harmony Holiday, poet and choreographer, is the author of Negro League Baseball (Fence Books, 2011), winner of the Motherwell Poetry Prize; Go Find Your Father/A Famous Blues (Ricochet, 2015), and Hollywood Forever (FenceBooks, 2016). Holiday curates the Afrosonics archive of Jazz Poetics and audio culture as well as a fantastic blog,nonstophome. She teaches at Otis College in Los Angeles and has a BA from the University of California, Berkeley and an MFA from Columbia University. She runs a boutique production house devoted to the crossing between archiving, improvisation, myth, and black music.

Event date: 
Thursday, January 26, 2017 - 7:30pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501134579
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - January 3rd, 2017

Cutting Teeth: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250068408
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - July 7th, 2015

Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend Cover Image
ISBN: 9781439190142
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Published: Simon & Schuster - October 9th, 2012

Saturday Night Cover Image
ISBN: 9781451660982
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Published: Simon & Schuster - August 16th, 2011

My Kind of Place: Travel Stories from a Woman Who's Been Everywhere Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812974874
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Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - October 11th, 2005

The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup: My Encounters with Extraordinary People Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375758638
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Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - January 8th, 2002

The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession Cover Image
ISBN: 9780449003718
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Published: Ballantine Books - January 4th, 2000

Negro League Baseball [With CD (Audio)] (Motherwell Prize) Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781934200421
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Fence Books - August 2nd, 2011

Hollywood Forever Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780986437304
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Published: Fence Books - April 4th, 2017