create / 2020
Los Angeles Review of Books Publishing Workshop
The LARB Publishing Workshop is a three-week intensive summer course offering students a comprehensive overview of how the publishing industry works and where it is heading. Our curriculum and program of speakers reflect LARB’s commitment to innovation, inclusivity, and independent literary production, featuring students and leading professionals from wide-ranging backgrounds and a robust scholarship program. Our goal is to train a new, diverse, and forward-thinking generation of publishing professionals here in Los Angeles.
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- Central LA
In what stage of innovation is this project?Expand existing program
What is the need you’re responding to?
The publishing industry shapes the stories we read and determines whose stories we encounter. As a result, its acute lack of diversity—predominantly white (76%), straight (81%), and non-disabled (89%)—raises concerns about not only its hiring practices, but also its cultural gatekeeping. Recent literary controversies have borne out such concerns, highlighting troubling blindspots in how publishers treat authors of color and stories about people of color.
At LARB, we see the lack of diversity within publishing as partly a function of its traditionally high financial bar of entry. Publishing, centered largely in New York City, has historically been built on unpaid internships or underpaid jobs, legacy connections, and expensive programs that offer little to no financial aid. We created the Publishing Workshop to train and support talented students regardless of their finances or location, and, in doing so, to highlight the innovative work of independent publishers here in LA.
Why is this project important to the work of your organization?
Democratizing access to the smart, vibrant exchange of ideas is the cornerstone of LARB. Our flagship magazine gives voice to more socially and intellectually diverse writers than the legacy outlets. We provide free online content to six million readers annually in all 50 states and 200+ countries. Our civic arts programs, the Publishing Workshop and the Little Literary Fair (LITLIT), were created to advance the next generation of writers, editors, and publishers with the same commitment to access and creative exchange in mind. LARB is uniquely situated to offer the Publishing Workshop because of our professional relationships and the extensive network of community support we have established over the years. We welcome 60 leading publishing professionals from all over the industry every year and offer 90% of students financial aid through the support of LARB’s readers, eight university partnerships, individual sponsors, and grant funders including the LA Department of Arts and Culture.
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?
- Direct impact
- Indirect impact
Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.
Our emphasis is on creating access for students underrepresented in the publishing industry and amplifying the work of independent publishers. Fellows that we train this year will go on to be the next generation of publishing professionals and leaders both in LA and across the country. If an average of 75% of this year’s cohort go on to careers in publishing, we estimate that in the course of their careers they will have a hand in the careers of 120,000+ writers, and countless readers across the globe. As editors, agents, publicists, designers, and marketers, LARB Publishing Workshop Fellows will enter a rapidly changing field and shape its future into one that is inclusive, diverse, and reflective of the world we live in.
Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.
Success to us means: —Meeting admitted fellows’ need for tuition assistance. We measure this through a review process where we evaluate statements of need and finances, and work with students, donors, and institutional partners on a case-by-case basis to establish funding packages that make attendance possible.
—Seeing our fellows flourish in publishing jobs. Through a biweekly newsletter, monthly events, and comprehensive directory, we continue to support our students and celebrate their career achievements as they’ve gone on to work at places such as Jack Jones Literary Arts, Palgrave Macmillan, Prospect Park Books, Stanford University Press, W.W. Norton, and many more.
—Helping fellows launch new creative ventures in publishing. Through our project incubator programs and tailored workshops on entrepreneurship, we’ve fostered nearly two dozen magazines, publishing houses, websites, workshops, and residencies, both in the U.S. and abroad.
—Building a diverse and supportive community within the publishing industry. Through the application process, we’ve learned that they’ve joined us from all over the U.S. and nine other countries; half are people of color (versus 15% in similar programs); and many can only attend through varying levels of financial assistance. By maintaining our alumni network, we know that they’ve gone on to work together on projects, find jobs and mentorship with our speakers and faculty, and a few have even returned to staff the Publishing Workshop itself.
Which of the create metrics will your submission impact?
- Arts establishments, instillations, and exhibitions
- Employment in the creative industries
- Minority- and women-owned businesses
Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?
- LA is the best place to LEARN
Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?
- Access to the LA2050 community
- Host public events or gatherings
- Communications support