UPDATE: All backers of the Best Music Writing Kickstarter campaign get a discount code for the National Book Critics Circle Award finalist in criticism, Ellen Willis's Out of the Vinyl Deeps. Check our "backers only" update for more info!
This post is a call for lovers of writing about music to come together to support a new initiative. Starting with the 2012 edition, the Best Music Writing series will be independently published and have a new editorial structure that will better serve the music writing community and create a more dynamic, wide-reaching book for music writing fans. We need your help to make it happen!
Best Music Writing is a beloved annual publication of the best English-language music writing. It was begun in 2000 and has featured guest editors such as Matt Groening, Alex Ross, Robert Christgau, Mary Gaitskill, Mickey Hart, Jonathan Lethem, Nelson George, Ann Powers, Nick Hornby, Peter Guralnick, and Greil Marcus.
Each year the book collects the outstanding music features, essays,
reviews, profiles, blog posts, short stories, news reporting, Tweets,
online commentary and many other forms of writing into one handy space
that defines the cultural conversation had through music today.
The 2012 edition will be the first book for a new, music writing-focused press, of which Best Music Writing will be the flagship title. We need support from followers of the title, music fans, music writers, music publishers, the music industry, and independent publishers to launch this book!
This Kickstarter campaign will raise money to pay for the production of our 2012 book, including payments for reprint rights from writers, a small editorial board stipend, graphic design services, and administrative services for licensing and project management. It's hard to believe but this much alone is around $20k!
Anything above this amount will cover printing costs, administrative and start up costs. We would love to hear from other funding sources, donors, or from those who would supply us with in-kind services. If you are a music and music writing fan who has have brilliant ideas or skill sets related to publishing, marketing, or editorial service, we want to hear from you.
The Best Music Writing series stands as the most important space for music writers to be honored each year and has brought many readers to their favorite writers, musicians, and publications (send a testimonial if you're one of these people!) With your help, the book will be even better and its future will be assured. We promise to maintain the high level of attention to quality writing and depth of coverage to as many forms of music and music culture that the book has offered in the past, while reaching out to a global network of writers and publishers, embracing new formats, and serving 21st century readers and writers.
The series will be growing dynamically this year. It will have a new, improved submission process that is, as always, completely open to the public for nominations of great writing from 2011. For the 2012 edition, there will no longer be a "series editor" position, but rather an editorial board of ten music writing peers who will solicit materials, read, nominate, and argue for or against pieces.
The 2012 board is stellar: Adam Curley, Jewly Hight, Miles Marshal Lewis, Bongani Madondo, Michaelangelo Matos, Anupa Mistry, Ann Powers, Mark Richardson, Victoria Segal, and Alex Ross.
Their selections will be "The Best Music Writing of 2012." Then our guest editor, selected after consultation with the board, will select the pieces that go in the curated book version of this list. The book will exist as a low cost digital copy and as a print copy, and will be designed by a noted book designer who loves music. It will appear earlier in the cycle of “best” anthologies than it has in year’s past. Read more about the project structure here.
I ask you as lovers of this book, as writers, editors, and publishers, as book buyers and book reading attendees, maybe even as friends, lovers, or parents of people involved in music writing, to support this campaign by donating to the fundraiser. Think of it as a really early pre-order, since everyone who gives $15 or more gets a copy of the book!
Stay tuned for news and updates here (or sign up for the mailing list), and join me in the making of a new, better Best Music Writing series.Thank you,
Daphne Carr (series editor, 2006-present)
Read more about the project at the Village Voice
Praise for the 2011 edition of the book (with guest editor Alex Ross)
Curled Up With a Good Book
“This is music journalism at its finest.”
Library Journal, 11/15/11
“Aficionados of music and illuminating critical writing will find much to savor in this collection, which exemplifies Ross’s assertion that music can ‘reach across the human universe with astonishing ease.’ Recommended."
- (47 days)