When I was young, there was the allure of Jay McInerney fame: first novel fortunes, romantic entanglements with fashion models, snorting and spilling drugs with your equally good-looking, smirking pack of young New York City writers… Yes, all of us were going to be so sterling and Vanity Fair pictorial famous—even if you were a weary eyed editorial assistant at Knopf, your evenings and weekends devoted to mimicking the terse and stodgy stylings of New Yorker Fiction.
I mean, how else would you become a famous writer?
And, if you graduated college in the early 2000s, in the psychological and economic aftermath of 9/11 and Big Media consolidation, all the young writers—female, too—were still bewitched by the glamorous illusions of New York City and its socioeconomic caste system.
Or, if you couldn’t compete with the generational bloodlines of New York City Publishing, you would relegate yourself to Boston.
Hell, if you were desperate, Chicago.
At some point, maybe you got an MFA in Creative Writing from… Iowa.
Of course you did…
Maybe, you rejected Academia and just…Stayed. You didn’t even move to Philly. You became an underemployed cubicle drone at The Globalist Corporation’s Regional Office.
But, you still wrote.
And wrote wrote wrote wrote wrote wrote wrote wrote wrote wrote wrote wrote
While you got older.
And older older older older older older older older older older older older older
Fuck… LIFE happened.
And, if you were feeling despondent about life as an aging, unaccomplished artist jealous of The Remainder-Pile-To-Be Sad Upperclass White Men Of N+2=6 Literary Fame being lavished with eight figure advances by Big Publishing, well…to keep you inspired, the latest edition of Writers Cosmo—I mean, Writer’s Digest—had, for the 20,000,000,000th time that year, produced their listicle of Writers Published After 40… I mean, you could still do it! Just go to another writer’s conference! Sign-up for another Writer’s Newsletter, and don’t forget to renew your subscription for every writer’s magazine on the shelves of Barnes&Noble…
Fuck your fame.
Fuck The Curated New York Times Bestseller List with all those whining memoirists peddling their exaggerated tears of dirt poor Southern childhoods, the derivative Carrie Bradshaw’s, Anything Written In The MFA Template Of Raymond Carver/Gordon Lish and…The Tragic Immigrant Story Set In New York City.
Yes, nothing makes a literary agent’s Rich White Millennialist editorial assistant cry like an Epic, Sweeping, Multi-Generational Tale Of Immigrant Hardship in Trumpian Times.
If the Internet is decentralizing how we consume, then it should decentralize how we become famous.
For writers, the stigma of Self-Publishing—to a certain extent—has been vanquished. Everyone, it seems, is suddenly 50 Shades Legit thanks to Amazon Publishing.
Wattpad is surging with stories.
Donation buttons proliferate on the websites of bloggers.
Patreon—and soon, Kickstarter’s Drip—help writers survive.
For some writers, Patreon helps them thrive outside the confines of bland Academicized “Art” and Big Publishing’s algorithmic blockbuster beach reads.
Even Bret Easton Ellis is doing pretty good these days on Patreon!
In the 1990s and 2000s, it was cool to be an Indie band or musician.
Maybe, it will be cool to be an Indie Author. But, that’s only if writers stop worshipping The Great, Grand Institution Of New York City Publishing and the MFA’ization of writing.
And—This is also a BIG IF—the Young Kids resist the mesmerizing effects of their smartphones.
Or, this could all be for naught if The Silicon Valley Technocrats, colluding with Big Media, transform the internet into a totalitarian thought control device thwarting anyone from making a living outside the realms of Mainstream…
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