The market will always win, but sometimes we can resist just a little, and be better for it.
John, I'm an old guy who has been writing since age 8, and after doing my scales for many decades, have written 8 novels and a couple of professional nonfiction titles. Thus said, I, like millions of others have spent countless hours, months, years even, in the grip of gambling on queries by the hundreds, to little or no avail. Finally, I went DIY because I wanted to see my work in print and find the few hundred people who would read my work and gain a modicum of enjoyment. And yes, your obvservations on the reality of writers actually reaching a level of success we all hope for, and at some point in our youth, expected would happen if we never give up. Well, I never gave up and never will. It is the writing after all, especially in fiction wherein I can create a cast of characters, set them on a journey and I alone can create together. And while I never expect all these years later to br suddenly discovered, I write this satisfied that I have felt the satisfaction of having completed my 8th novel, even though it sits unpublished, attracting no interest from agents, and at this point unfunded by my CFO and wife. We cannnot go to ghe well one more time. And yet novel number 9 is gestating in a petri dish on my desktop, luring me from time to time to add those next words exposing bits of the story. Thanks for addressing the blunt reality of publishing. BTW, I was once a bookselller had had the option of returning unsold books. George Byron Wright, www.c3publications.com
I figure most young people who want to write (play an instrument, paint, run track,...) will never be able to do it as a career. But I wish I knew of a way that 'patrons' could contribute financially to said young persons to help them keep writing, even for a little while. Something like the Biblioracle Fund for Hopeless Writers. Then someone like you John could redistribute that money to writers as you see fit. Crowdfunding, but not to pick a winner. Aligned with your article, there's no market for this, of course. But I'd love to support it.
Thank you, John. This is exactly the post I needed to read today.
re: patronage and Substack... I wish Substack allowed for 1-time donations. I appreciate your work and, honestly, probably won't become a paid subscriber b/c my funds are so tight. (I received a free ticket to live music last night but am still lamenting this morning that I paid $15 for one drink.) But, if Substack allowed and implemented Patreon (or something similar) on the platform, I would absolutely make a $6 donation instead of typing this comment b/c reading this post today is akin to a great conversation with a friend over coffee.
Do you think there's any chance that Substack will ever implement the "make a one-time donation" option? WordPress makes this pretty easy now but I'd rather, like you, stay on Substack.