Yesterday I spent an hour or so flicking through as many different YouTube channels as I could, trying to see as many different topics. There is such a large diversity that I found it difficult to believe, but as I thought about it, it’s not surprising that such obscure subjects can attract hundreds of thousands of viewers. This idea is something that writers can easily use to their advantage.
How many people read in the English and buy a book reasonably often, worldwide? A safe and low guess for me is around a hundred million in the Internet, and as a writer working on the internet, we can have access to all of them. Assume you have written a book that 0.1% of people will love, that seems like a vanishingly small amount, but with numbers outlined above, that’s a potential market of 100,000, which if promoted properly can certainly provide a writer with a decent living. I suppose that this is all to say, in the world of the internet, even the most obscure genres have a chance to get a decent number of readers.
To some bad news. For anyone with an interest in music history, the following will be common knowledge. A well-supported reason for the guitar becoming the dominant single musician’s instrument over the piano, is the ease of transporting a guitar and that it made things less complicated and expensive to tour. The reason big bands vanished and smaller ones became the norm, is that it was easier for small bands to make money for each individual member, as they were only sharing between three or four rather than twenty or more. To me, writing is in much the same place as the less efficient ways of playing music now, to put it simply, it is now easier to make a decent video that will entertain for half an hour than to write a decent short story that will do the same.
Additionally, viewers are accustomed to having adverts in their videos, but they are not accustomed to the same with a novel or short story. Combined with a distaste online for paying for a product, it’s a problem for writers. This means that making videos presents more avenues for funding than writing, unless the writer is innovative about these things. It seems to be a potential problem for any writers who seek to make writing their job. It’s the biggest question in writing now, how do writers make their money? I don’t have the answers for this, though I’ve a few ideas I can try. I’ll share any successful ideas and would implore other writers to do the same.