“I mean if I published a book I would get more money,” he said.
He still wants to hold back his big swings for traditional costume fashion and is working on a novel that will be published by Random House.
Daily business briefing
Aug. 30, 2021, 5:48 p.m. ET
Substack has money to burn. It raised nearly $ 83 million on a valuation of $ 650 million and recently acquired Cocoon, a subscription-powered social media app with no ads.
Mr. Rushdie has always been a maximalist, on the side and in life. His fiction is a highly stylized mixture of magical realism and meta-theatrical storytelling, stories within stories told by multiple narrators. He had an adventurous private life and was married several times. In many ways, Substack seems like a natural place for Mr. Rushdie. His catholicity of preferences and interests lends itself to the often extensive (sometimes informal) epistles that already make up the many thousands of Substack’s newsletters.
Even so, Mr. Rushdie thinks the written word has stalled when it comes to the internet.
“I have a feeling that literature has not yet found a really original place in this new world of information technology,” he said.
He added that he liked the experimentation potential of Substack. “Anything that comes on my mind just gives me the opportunity to say something right away, without an intermediary or porter,” said Rushdie.
It offered a foretaste of what might appear in a collection of essays, Languages of Truth, published earlier this year, an extensive work covering everything from Shakespeare to the death of Osama bin Laden. Critics have battered the book, one called it a “confused vision of this century”. His most recent fictional work “Quichotte”, a post-modern retelling of “Don Quixote”, was received similarly.
Rushdie’s move to Substack, a platform better known among tech bloggers and journalists, could be a coup for both sides. The novelist gives the tech start-up some literary weight, while Substack gives a fashionable shine to a twilight writer.
“Let’s see how it goes,” he said of his new experiment. “I’m just as curious as everyone else.”