Are You Ten Thousand People?

Here’s something that happens way too often: People will come to a thread asking for advice and give their opinion. Worse still, sometimes someone will post advice that applies to general markets, and then a second someone will post their opinion as a counterpoint. Even if the first person is just making a guess about market trends based on their anecdotal experience, they are still actually trying to help the creator who asked the question. Someone who posts their opinion is implicitly claiming that a creator’s goal should be to cater to their tastes, specifically, or at best the tastes of whatever half-dozen random yahoos first walk into the Reddit/forum thread where the advice was posted.

Some creators are hoping to appeal to a broad audience of strangers in hopes of making a career out of their passion. Others have a more specific audience in mind, maybe some personal friends or what-have-you. In the latter case, no amount of personal opinions from random strangers will be at all helpful. In the former case, only the aggregated opinions of many thousands of strangers matters at all. If the creator is a writer trying to make a living self-publishing and they sell their books for $6.99 each and see about $5 of that in actual income, and if they’re writing one book per year, they need about ten thousand fans buying each book to make an average-ish annual income of $50k. If that writer asks for advice on their latest project and you walk in and give your personal opinion without even bothering to think whether or not anyone else shares it, the immediately relevant question is: Are you ten thousand people? No? Then shut up.

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