James, Not surprised to hear about your writing productivity (energy, enthusiasm), and certainly the quality of your work on Medium and Quora (may she rest-in-peace) certainly speaks to the likely commerciality of longer efforts, like the 5 novels. I will keep an eye out for the one coming in print.
I once, long ago, taught a class in Creative Non-fiction in the Lit Dept. at UCSD which covered most aspects of writing EXCEPT marketing and popular acceptance, which remain a great mystery to me. But good luck with it.
I now see what you meant about Medium being hard to crack after your successes on Quora. I certainly thought your applause-o-meter would be up in the Ks in no time.
I have no such aspirations. Going viral, and keeping it up, sounds like a lot of work for a pretty hollow triumph. A little like receiving a million likes for one’s cat video. And to my cynical eye the number of claps is often fairly distantly related to the likely longevity and, in general, to the calibre of the finished product.
In any case, your AIDS and gay activist writings are useful and important. And often entertaining.
How are you liking Medium after settling in?
I have several major dissatisfaction(s) with the platform overall:
- the lack of an internal messaging system for comments like this one which are mainly intended to be private. (Important for community building.)
- cluttering up one’s list of “stories” with multitudinous short responses to other people’s stories. These push one’s major essays and ‘stories’ further down into the ‘never, never’ (Australian Outback) as in: “Out on the wastes of the Never Never -: That’s where the dead men lie! There where the heat-waves dance forever -: That’s where the dead men lie!”
- Inability of the writer to arrange their own ‘home page’, aesthetically, or practically, or in any other way. At the very least I would like to be able to group particular tags together, to separate poetry from essay from fiction, and to change the order of presentation to keep particularly favored stories from getting totally buried!!!!!!! The other day I spent many minutes looking for a particular story. Imagine what it is like once you have hundreds of stories that you want to keep accessible. Certainly I would like to be able to put similarly tagged stories together.
- And I wouldn’t mind a help page. For instance, I can’t seem to get my ‘series’ working properly. Sorry, James, to go on so long. Do any of these complaints strike a note with you?
Finally, back to pencils, ha, ha, ha: I had a minor Hemorrhagic Stroke seven years ago which left me with only one problem: I can no longer write cursive! Even with the greatest of care taken. Fortunately, I can still print as well as ever, so I still keep pencils (and sharpeners) around.