Wow. I hadn’t quite thought of it that way, Ryan Fan. I think you’ve articulated the problem in a much more relatable way that I ever could, probably because the American Dream isn’t something I grew up with as I wasn’t born in the US.
So long as I manage to make one person sit up, take notice, and start wondering what’s going on then my job is done. More than one? Yay!
While I have nothing against success stories in principle as long as they are well argumented, honest, and provide context and facts, that is seldom the case. Instead, they sound like a marketing campaign disguised as native storytelling to me and it makes me feel icky.
Jenny Justice just wrote a very helpful piece that spells everything out so hopefully all writers can continue to create without feeling utterly discouraged when their craft doesn’t pay.
The positive side of all this is that we’re now having a conversation although it would be more interesting if the folks who write those pieces would join in and, well, accept to be held accountable for their work.
Alas, one of them blocked me the minute I sought clarification about one story and mentioned ethics. My query was worded in a no-nonsense way that was neither aggressive but disrespectful alas that person refused to interact honestly. No response, no dialogue, but a vitriolic comment under an allegedly fake name and brand new account created just for that purpose, which sounded just like, well, the person who had blocked me.
This gave me serious pause for thought then and it still does now.