Renata Adler expressed her solidarity with Buzzfeed writers when she went to their HQ for an interview earlier this year: “The embarrassing part about writing something, and having it published, is the part right after when you’re thinking, Oh my god, what are people going to think? If you’re having one piece every three years, that’s it, it’s done. But if you have to write three times a week, the only way to get rid of the embarrassment is to try the next piece, and hope it will be better, and erase the last piece. Which is probably what you want. You want to just keep going forward. Is that what happens with you?” (She also explained how to know when you’ve finished a story that has no conventional ending: “When the deadline happens, that’s when it’s over. Otherwise, you can keep changing everything, and it becomes like an action painting—which is not good. You don’t want that.”)
Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan also has something helpful to say to the Buzzfeeders about their boss and about unions.
And Flavorwire ends up saying pretty much the same thing to Jeff Bezos’s beleaguered “Amazonians.” (The rest of us are advised to consider a boycott, but make a complaint to Amazon customer service—1-888-280-4331—on our way out.)
There are still a few people managing to do well out of Amazon, though—the first self-published author to reach the top of their charts is a linguist and behavioral psychologist whose winning sales strategy for his twenty-six-page children’s book was to make sure it would send people straight to sleep.
Even the most old-fashioned publishing types like nothing better than a listicle. But if you want to put in a book what should normally be confined to the internet, there are probably better ways to go.