Today, I spoke to Mike Sacks, who is an editor at Vanity Fair and is the author of And Here’s the Kicker. Mike talks to us about how important it is to build a website on your domain name if you’re a writer, how to start a writing career and advice for getting to write for major publications.
You own mikesacks.com. Should ever journalist (or person) have their own site?
I think it’s smart, yes, especially for writers. Editors, readers and friends can quickly find what you’ve written, which is important. But I think it’s also vital that you keep the site simple, and to always have your contact info readily available. Too many sites are too confusing, and contact info is too difficult to find.
What did you learn while writing your book “And Here’s the Kicker…”?
It’s important to do as much research for each interview as possible. The interview will turn out better for it. It’s long, tedious work, but it has to be done. At the very least, the interview subject will respect you for it and open up more than he would have otherwise.
How did you start your writing career?
I sold my first magazine piece a few years after college when I was working in a record store in suburban Maryland called Kemp Mill Records. But I didn’t make a career out of it until years later, after I worked as an editor at the Washington Post.
I think it’s practically impossible to make a career as a freelance writer. I’d recommend getting a job in the industry, such as an editorial position, and freelance write on the side. By doing this, you can also network, which is incredibly important.
Where do you think the media industry is heading in the future?
I think the media titans of the future will be found working out of their basements in their boxers and T-shirts. The industry will be run by many more people with a lot less power (and money).
Mike Sacks has written for Vanity Fair, Esquire, GQ, The New Yorker, Time, McSweeney’s, Radar, MAD, New York Observer, Premiere, Believer, Vice, Maxim, Women’s Health, and Salon. He has worked at The Washington Post, and is currently on the editorial staff of Vanity Fair. His first book, And Here’s the Kicker: Conversations with 26 Humor Writers About Their Craft, was released in the Spring of 2009. Some of those interviewed include: George Meyer, Harold Ramis, Al Jaffee, Buck Henry, Bob Odenkirk, Stephen Merchant, David Sedaris, Jack Handey, Robert Smigel, and Daniel Clowes.