A step towards the future of writing…
Writers have a fundamental problem – they don’t have an audience. And it’s hard to try a bunch of things and get almost nothing in return. For example, take my Quora profile as an example. I have written almost 400+ answers and it has reached 300,000 views.
That’s amazing and astounding. I have gotten 82 followers out of this. But zero money and no credibility. Sure, I got an audience for my writing and they upvoted my answer. But it hasn’t propelled my writing career.
Did some writers benefit from writing on Quora? YES.
But those were lucky or they have millions of views on their answers.
1000 True Fans
This is a famous article by Kevin Kelly which states that for you to live a good life as an artist – all you need is 1000 true fans.
It means I shouldn’t need millions of viewers on my articles – only a few thousand and a percentage of those would become my fans. By writing on social media with an agenda is an issue.
Quora will promote Quora and the following I get on their platform is useless to me. Because even if I write answers, it doesn’t promote it to my followers. It has become a vanity metric. So, eventually, you are writing for a loss.
But as a writer – you still write because you need eyeballs. Initially, it gives you validation.
However, you run out of energy because validation doesn’t pay bills and doesn’t help you shift to a full time writing job.
The Same Promise Everywhere
Platforms like Medium, Substack and Quora promise you many things. But they keep the control and you don’t get the audience or if you get the audience it’s with no access to them.
As of now, Substack is kinda becoming open. So that’s a good cause. They have added writer’s fellowship which acts as a discovery mechanism. Also, they promote the writers in their monthly newsletters. So, it’s not all bad. And the biggest promise of Substack is that you can get paid.
When someone lands on Substack, they have promoted your newsletter and pushed to pay for the subscription.
It’s a beautiful thing for a free service. Sure, Substack takes 10 per cent if you start earning revenue.
But that’s fair as long as they invest in things like writers’ fellowship. lawyers, discovery options, writers highlight and so on.
What Substack Couldn’t Become
Substack is trying to become a good platform but there are gaps in how it can become a force in the writing industry.
And that gap is being fulfilled by many collectives. And one of them is Every, it started on Substack. And now, it’s a standalone thing where it’s providing a bundle of newsletters to their readers.
Everything Awesome About Every
- Its founding letter is an amazing read – it highlights their mission on how they want to promote writers and domain experts.
- You can apply to join them as lead writer, contributor writer or freelance writer – and you will be given cash from day one, even if you have no audience. This is big in any industry, especially writing.
- They take a percentage of revenue when you start earning money from your newsletter. But you can take your audience and leave the platform. It’s a beautiful thing.
- Sure, Substack allows these things too. That’s the reason Every was able to go their own platform. Initially, they started on Substack.
- But Substack doesn’t offer a collective experience like Every. This could be a learning experience for Substack – to promote collectives on the platform. So that many writers who are good without an audience can benefit. Or position itself as a place for collectives.
- And as such, a large number of writers can get paid, write articles they want to write without juggling a day job.
What Problem Does Every Solve
Let’s say you are a writer with a passion for cryptocurrency. You have a few options to start your journey.
- You start writing on Medium and build a following and get paid based on your reads. But the problem is – you are at the mercy of how many people read your article. You have to focus on virality. You can’t have 1000 reads and $1000 in payment. Also, the payment is handled via Medium, they can change algorithms.
- You start writing on Substack. But then you have to do the SEO and other things yourself. For a long period, you won’t be paid. And since, discovery is still an issue on Substack, you will be lucky if you succeed. But if you do, then it’s a good platform with access to your reader’s email and payment solutions.
- You start writing on your domain with an open-source CMS like WordPress. For that, you have to learn all the technological hassles – do the SEO and since the readers coming won’t be so willing to pay like in Substack, you have to go the extra mile to ask for payment. You have full authority and access but it’s too hard.
- You find a writer’s collective like Every or some new collective which allows you to share your writing sample. And if it’s good, you can join as a writer. You apply to a few collective. Assuming your articles are good, you will be accepted in one of them. Now, you don’t have to worry about technology, SEO, audience – you can focus on writing. Along the way, you will receive mentorship and learn many things. And the best thing, you can leave with your audience. And maybe start a new writer’s collective.
I have written on Medium and been getting 1000 views per week. But I have stopped writing because it doesn’t promote your article if it’s behind a paywall. And I can’t put it because Medium doesn’t allow writers from India to participate in their Partner program.
I have written on Quora and been getting 1000 view per week. But I have stopped writing because I realized although it was good for testing my writing and getting dopamine. But I need money to sustain and keep my passion.
I do have a blog @rohanbhardwaj.com and I write whatever comes to my mind.
Going forward, I will write on topics including everything on the internet, connection, platforms, publishing, business, growing, commerce and so on.
And about the writer’s collective – I was thrilled to see Every and wanted to join them. I submitted my application to join as a writer. And with my publication, I hope I may get noticed or I will apply to be a lead writer too.
Being a part of a writer’s collective is the ultimate goal. Because as Every puts it – it’s somewhere between an individual website and a media site like New Yorker.
You get the support, mentorship, audience and a response to every application and also cash to start your writing journey.
I hope more such collectives pop up and fill up space. It will solve the two most pressing problems for writers who are good – audience and money.