Your Destiny and Ours: How Readers of The Millions Are Changing Our Story

November 28, 2017 | 3 min read

A year ago, I invited readers to join us in supporting The Millions. It was something we’d thought about for years, always hoping to put it off as we supported the site through other means. But in the end it was also a decision made in a hurry, as the editorial staff of The Millions had something like a collective premonition that a major shift was occurring, and reader participation would be essential if The Millions was to survive.

I’m glad we did. We can now see a path whereby our readers might one day insulate us from the forces being unleashed by massive companies. But we aren’t there yet.

Today, we are again asking our readers to support the site, not because we are in dire straits but because we believe it is time for you and us to take our destiny into our own hands as much as is possible. Please visit our Membership page, sign up now, and become a part of our story. It’s a very quick and simple process, and we have a number of tiers that should be manageable for any budget. The three main tiers are annual recurring donations. There is also a monthly option.

We are also excited to announce that members now receive an exclusive monthly newsletter in which our venerable staffers let you know what they’re reading right now. It’s a great way to find new books to read!

The Millions is a unique place. Over the last nearly 14 years, we have helped launch many great writers, and we have improved the reading lives of many thousands. We have helped countless books, small and large, find their audiences.

The Millions is also home to curious, thoughtful, sometimes long and untimely pieces that might not find a home elsewhere but that are important to our readers.

We have various costs as well. Aside from fees for hosting and other services, we pay our staff writers. We also have a paid editorial staff. None of our staff is full time, but we believe that paying them is an essential part of the project. They are the beating heart of The Millions. As founder and publisher, I forwent payment in 2017 and will likely do so again in 2018.

On the other side of the ledger, 2017 was a very complicated year. Amazon, long our largest source of revenue, sharply cut the fees it pays to members of its program. Facebook, once a large source of traffic, increasingly narrowed its algorithm to deliver traffic to us and sites like us in dribs and drabs. Twitter, with an increasingly algorithmic timeline, is headed in the same direction.

The bottom line is that we see a path forward but we need you to join us on that path. As I wrote when announcing our recent redesign: I am now quite certain that the ONLY way that The Millions will be here five years from now is if our readers support us.

Rather than ask for your support at some future moment, when The Millions is under duress, it has become clear to us that it makes much more sense to ask for your support now, when we are doing well, producing great work, and hopeful about our big plans for the future.

Finally, you will see that we offer what we call the Sponsor tier for corporations and institutions as well as for individuals in the books and publishing ecosystem who are thriving. We know that The Millions is important to the literary ecosystem, and this tier is for members of that ecosystem – corporate or individual – who have the means to ensure a future for small but essential places like The Millions.

We were very lucky to have two Sponsors at that level in 2016. Having more Sponsors in 2017 would go a long way. Learn more here.

And thank you to ALL of our Members over the last year. You helped make The Millions possible in 2017. We hope you’ll decided to renew your Membership again this year.

created The Millions and is its publisher. He and his family live in New Jersey.

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