That doesn’t even take into consideration that not every person will read even one book per year. I was afraid to look up those stats, to be honest. And remember, we only looked at print. No audiobooks, no ebooks. Even if those numbers can never fu…
For good reason, FF. Because the last I checked, most folks barely made it halfway through those books before putting them down forever. Other stats about who reads what, and how often, are equally horrifying.
I would posit that, to your point, the days of being able to make a living doing nothing but keynote speeches (I am also a speaker) are over. Because first, the meeting planners who pay top dollar will tolerate a shit speech from a Big Name ( for a while, until audiences dump them), and they will not take chances on some mugwump who thinks that having purple hair and twelve nose rings differentiates him from the competition. Reps are earned, and they lead to success, if and only if I’m willing to earn eyeballs, applause and interest by giving substantial value.
In the very same way that you and I have to earn our readers, I might also note that we have to earn our perspectives, pay for them if you will, through hard work, life and learning. Those very perspectives give us the lenses,such as they are, through which we can view and then write about topics that may or may not engage others.
Perhaps what I love best about Medium, as I pound out on average two to three articles a day when I am not out doing epic adventure travel (which is a lot) is that the audience is highly responsive to us. Once we have some folks who like our stuff, we owe them our loyalty. Their feedback, claps, suggestions, ideas are the kinds of things that, as an author, I have no access to outside a forum like this. It’s priceless. That I am making money as a result of those eyeballs speaks primarily to the fact that I spend equal time reading and responding to input, honoring highlights and tagging and noting good work by others. That, as Cavett Robert taught, makes the pie bigger, also to your point.
Nobody can possibly compete with me- or you- or anyone else. That has nothing to do with ego. Nobody else has lived this life, nor have they done the work I’ve done, made the mistakes, taken the chances….those are what make my POV useful. That’s what’s priceless. Nobody is competition. I win far bigger when I find superb material in other people’s articles that I can tag, reference, and highlight. That adds value to my reader’s experience. That continues to circle back around.
When we have such a highly interactive venue such as this, as I have slowly but surely gotten far more at ease with the rules, have made my gaffes and apologies, and learned the ropes, I find this to be a picture perfect environment for discovering what stuff that I write is shit and what I write that is useful, what changes lives and what is landfill-worthy. You cannot possibly put a value on that kind of feedback. I get it every single day. What that has done since April 2018 has made me a far better writer, more of my articles get curated, and I have a following. Because as you make clear, this isn’t about my ego.
This is about giving value. You give value, you provide substance or entertainment or stress relief or insight, people will pay you back with eyeballs.