How much are words worth? More than a penny for your thoughts? The perception these internet days is that it’s not worth buying our words–though some superstar writers are raking in millions. And it seems hawking words on Amazon is big business.

It is hard to tell if it is worth it, aspiring to be a journalist or novelist in the 21st century. Who buys an article for publication or who buys it to read? And I am not talking about those items written by “writers” who have abandoned definite and indefinite articles “a” and “the”, as in “a woman” sitting at “the desk”. Nor those 12 hidden secrets or eight ways to success in…

To stay on point, some 19th century novelists serialized their work, selling chapters at a time before assembling it all in one book. Charles Dickens was one such who serialized his work, peddling chapters of each novel for a shilling, that is 12 pennies.

Later in 1800s Britain there were news scandal sheets called penny dreadfuls because of their terrible (and popular contents) and their price.

Today Alexander McCall Smith is one who carries on the tradition of respectable serialization. He publishes chapters of his works in progress in Scottish newspapers. He and his publisher are brave in the new world. They must compete with war news and rumours of war; news and rumours of sex offenders and sundry criminals winning high political office; news and rumours of celebrities and their brands at war with AI; and news and rumours of AI taking over jobs as sports journalists, while operating vehicles delivering goods to stay at home unemployed journalists.

Meantime, so-called curators hoard the work of media organizations into one online place, bundle advertisments into the mix and pass it all off as their own work, leaving the creators penniless.

This is where comes in. We are inviting writers of fact-based features and analysis and short prose in fiction, to share their thought products for a penny; and we invite those who think writing has value, to pay a penny a day,  $3.65 a year, to read those thoughts. 

Simple. We want to be the marketplace where human ideas have value. Join our mission.

About Mark Lee

Mark Lee has been a long-time journalist writing, editing and producing in print, radio television and new media.

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