Happy Monday, writer friends!
When I started this newsletter almost four months ago, I worried that I was going to run out of things to write about in the “News & Views” section. Surely, there’s not that much going on in the writing world on a daily basis.
Turns out, there is. Not only do I have enough to fill this newsletter five days a week, but I have to actively make choices about what to leave out because I couldn’t possibly include it all.
I see this as an incredibly good sign. When I started my career as a writer from India twenty years ago, there were only a few, very specific paths to becoming a writer. Now the opportunities are almost endless. It can take time to break in, of course. It’s damn hard work building an audience. It can feel like it’s taking more time than it should. And you may have excellent stories and ideas that people just don’t “get” right now.
But I can say with confidence something I could not have said ten years ago: Your market exists. If you have something to say and you can say it well, there are people who want to read it.
The challenge—and the opportunity—is in finding them.
Enjoy the issue!
NEWS & VIEWS
Werewolf novels and serialized fiction
In a feature article last week, Rest of World contributors Viola Zhou and Meaghan Tobin reported that “werewolf erotica is the latest global gig work trend.” The genre is not only popular, it’s so popular that social reading apps such as Asia-based Dreame, are hiring writers—often in the developing world—to spend as much as five hours a day, seven days a week, writing these romance novels.
“The central characters of many of Dreame’s most beloved werewolf novels often inhabit Americanized settings, but the authors don’t typically live in the U.S. Rather, they come from countries like Mexico, the Philippines, Nigeria, and China—and often write novels in their second or third language.”
The success of Wattpad proved that readers, especially young adult readers, were not only open to serialized fiction, but loved the community, the access to authors, and the real-time experience of unfinished fiction that it provided. Still, despite their best efforts, Substack and Amazon have not been able to tap into or capitalize on the serialization trend in any meaningful way.
Over in Asia, however, serialized fiction offered through apps is a $3.7 billion-dollar industry. “Dreame, GoodNovel, Webnovel, and Fizzo consistently rank among the most-downloaded reading apps in the U.S., the U.K., the Philippines, and Indonesia, and together rake in millions of dollars in revenues every month,” Rest of World reports. The books are genre novels, such as erotic-romance or thrillers, often set in the West “to appeal to international readers.”
Despite the glaring problems (the writers are encouraged to set their stories in the West and “de-emphasize” their own cultures; authors are paid a fraction of what they spend to read), what this shows is that audiences are ready for serialized fiction and are willing to pay for it in the right circumstances.
What they seem to be paying for, however, is not literary fiction by well-known authors, but genre fiction that follows certain tropes and offers a predictably good time.
How writers fail (money): “I know most of you are going to stare at this title and think: Yep, writers fail because they don’t earn enough money. Um…nope. That’s not the problem at all. Money causes writers to fail because writers bring the wrong expectations to their view of their financial spreadsheet.”
Writing advice from Nora Ephron: “You better make them care about what you think. It had better be quirky or perverse or thoughtful enough so that you hit some chord in them. Otherwise it doesn’t work. I mean we’ve all read pieces where we thought, Oh, who gives a damn.”
Slate is hiring for a bunch of full-time roles. Most are located in New York or D.C, but “strong remote candidates will be considered.”
Associate Writer, Culture (Minimum salary is $60,000)
Associate Writer, News & Politics (Minimum salary is $60,000)
Business & Technology Writer (Minimum salary is $60,000)
Copy Chief (Minimum salary is $64,000)
Home Page Editor (Minimum salary is $65,000)
Politics writer (Minimum salary is $60,000)
Slate Plus Editor (Minimum salary is $76,000)
THE WORDLING SPONSOR
… to TheFutureParty. It’s a free daily newsletter that curates stories spanning pop culture, entrepreneurship, entertainment, and tech, and breaks down what it all means for the future. Translation? It’s the only newsletter in the game that’ll both highlight the hottest trends in the alternative asset market (spoiler: it’s probably Pokemon cards) and share what’s trending on Spotify.
There are many ways to pursue a writing dream.
You could be a novelist writing a book a year in a genre that builds your readership over time and allows you to create regular work that your readers wait for.
You could be a novelist who writes a book every ten years.
You could be a novelist who self publishes her work and is self sufficient when it comes to marketing and ownership.
You could be a freelancer earning six figures.
You could be a journalist chasing human-interest stories around the world.
You could be a creative entrepreneur creating products and services for readers who value your insight and your message and want to learn what you have to share.
You could be multifaceted and do a number of those things.
You can follow along the path that others have chosen to pursue, or you can actively try to discover your own.
There are many different ways to pursue a writing dream.
Which one is yours?
SOUTH AFRICA: “RT, the Kremlin-backed TV network formerly called Russia Today, is setting up its first Africa bureau as President Vladimir Putin seeks to entrench support in a continent that’s largely refrained from criticizing his invasion of Ukraine. The company said in a response to a query that it’s “currently focused on developing our English-language Africa hub in South Africa,” which will be headed up by Paula Slier, a South African broadcaster who ran RT’s Jerusalem bureau.”
THE NETHERLANDS: “The study found that from the twenty countries that were looked at, the Netherlands ranked the best and is the best place for digital nomads to work. Therefore, if you are considering working on a remote basis and want to move abroad, then the Netherlands might be for you.”
MEXICO: The first few pages of “Chilango para todes” debunk common misconceptions and excuses about not using gender-inclusive language and commits to using it in all of the magazine’s content going forward. “When it comes to gender, our language has two ways of expressing it: feminine and masculine,” Jaramillo wrote in an editorial in that issue. “But far from being two fixed points, the expression of human identity offers various possibilities that deserve to be named, recognized, and that also enrich those aforementioned conversations and discussions in every way.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Writing is turning one’s worst moments into money.”
– J. P. Donleavy