Press: Grub Street Revisited

All work and low pay make freelancing a dull joy

Gay Talese was an obscure metropolitan reporter for the New York Times in the late 1950s when he sold his first freelance magazine article, a 3,000-word profile of Boxer José Torres, to a men's adventure magazine called Argosy. His fee: $500. Talese went on to bigger things (a total of $1 million from The Kingdom and the Power and Honor Thy Father, a $600,000 advance for his major book on sex, due in 1981), but Argosy did not. It's stated top payment for an article,...

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