Writing for publication: you spend forever writing something that may never get published, and when it does, the money you make (if any) divided by all the time you spent writing and submitting the manuscript equals a few pennies per hour — if even that. The gratification you receive may take years. If someone does love it enough to write fan mail, it usually freaks you out. However, despite all this, the prestige points are very high.
Writing for the web: It takes less than three hours to write a good blog. It’s published instantly. You usually don’t get paid (sometimes you do, but the likelihood is minimal) but you get instant feedback over the next week or so. The gratification is instantaneous. By the next day, you’re already doing something new and equally rewarding. However, despite all this, the prestige points are so low they might even count in the negative, as the publishing world looks at blogging like it’s the contents of a rancid, slimy gutter.
Is prestige important?
You can’t use the argument, “Well, I write novels” (or whatever) “because I simply love writing.” Because if that is the case, you are more likely to have someone read your story if you post it online. Sending it off into the publishing thrasher … well, unless you’re already an established author (and sometimes even if you are) that manuscript may end up in the tomb of the unloved and forgotten.
So if it’s not for the prestige, why bother trying to get it into print? Why not just pop it up on a website?
I’d really like to know.