Sep 28, 2023

If everyone creates, who consumes?

Everyone's a creator these days. I made my feelings towards the word "creator" known in issue 48's essay. This isn't about that, though. It's about how everyone should start a Substack, have a Patreon, get subscribers on X, and generally make money on their online activity.

I subscribe to, and pay for, more newsletters than I care to admit. I should cancel some of them, I don't even read them all. It's a patronage of sorts, I can afford it, and I want to help maintain things, even if it's not a fit for me personally anymore. It was, at some point obviously, since I started paying.

(Come to think of it, I've given a couple of indie authors and newsletter publishers over a thousand US dollars over the years. I should cancel some of those subscriptions, after all.)

I know creators (dammit, the word stuck!) who subscribed to Switch to iPad in part to help make it sustainable. It's a nice tip of the hat, a courtesy that brings something to the table. I do the same, as I said.

It got me thinking though. If everyone's going to charge for this and that online, and thus be overly active on social media promoting said this and thats, who's going to pay for it? Sometimes it feels like we're swapping money, at least some of us. That's not right.

The paid newsletter wave has all but died down. That doesn't mean that there aren't a gadzillion of them out there, and more added to the fray every minute, but I'd wager that the publishing niche isn't growing when measured in money. It's saturated, and more. If your big idea is to write a thrilling newsletter and getting paid doing it, you should think again. Sure, it can be done, but there's a lot of noise out there.

Unless, you know, you've got enough creator friends who'd love to chip in out of loyalty. Since you've been doing the same for years.