Frequently Asked Questions:
What is Oldster Magazine?
Oldster Magazine explores what it means to travel through time in a human body—of any gender, at every phase of life. It focuses on the good, the bad, and the ugly we experience with each milestone, starting early in life. It’s about the experience of getting older, and what that means at different junctures.
Remember when you were about to turn 20, and it was a big, scary deal? Or 30? Or 40? Remember when you were in your 20s or 30s and you thought people in their 40s were absolutely ancient? Remember the first time you realized that moving into a new phase of life—graduating, getting married, becoming a parent, getting a major promotion, retiring—meant that you would be leaving behind another phase of life? That’s what Oldster Magazine explores.
A more serious part of the Oldster Magazine mission is de-stigmatizing and normalizing aging by demonstrating that’s it’s happening to everyone, of all ages, all the time.
How often will I receive a new issue?
Oldster will appear in your email inbox at least twice a week, but most weeks, it’s more like four times, and sometimes even five. I did not set out to publish a daily publication—and it is a lot of work, and I am doing this all by myself—but I am really enjoying this work and it might be the only thing keeping me vaguely sane through this crazy time in the world.
If you can’t find it and you have gmail, check your “promotions” folder.
What’s up with the name?
The overwhelming majority of subscribers *get* that I am using the term “oldster,” an old-timey borderline slur, subversively. They realize it’s tongue-in-cheek, and like it a lot. I hope the handful of readers who don’t *get* it will eventually catch on.
Who qualifies as an “oldster”?
Everyone. You read that right: everyone qualifies as an oldster. Oldster Magazine is NOT about old people. Well, not exclusively about old people. (And who decides at what age “old” begins, anyway?) It’s about all people, who are having the experience of getting older.
“You call a person who is (28, 30, 47, 67, 71…) and oldster?! Gimme a break!”
Sometimes the eldest of the oldsters get mad at me for featuring contributors who are younger than they are. But I said what I said: Oldster Magazine is about the experience of aging, which everyone who is alive is experiencing. Everyone is an oldster to people who are younger, and a youngster to people who are older. Oldsterism is all relative.
Again, part of the Oldster Magazine mission is both de-stigmatizing and normalizing aging by demonstrating that’s it’s happening to everyone, of all ages, all the time.
Who is behind this?
Oldster Magazine is the brainchild of its 56-year-old editor-in-chief, Sari Botton, a writer, editor, and teacher living in Kingston, NY, best known for editing Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving & Leaving NY, and for the five years she worked as the essays editor for Longreads. (She is writing this text right now, even though it appears in the third person.)
Do you have a Substack Pro Deal?
Despite rumors to the contrary, I do not have a Substack Pro Deal. I rely on paid subscriptions in order to pay contributors. If you aren’t already a paying subscriber, please consider becoming one. Not only will you help me pay others, you’ll help me build this to a place where I can do more ambitious and better and things with it. I’d love for it to be my actual job. Right now, I juggle this with a bunch of other gigs, and barely get by.
As a paying subscriber, will I have exclusive access to paywalled content?
I was hoping to not have to put anything behind a paywall, but it might be the only way to convert many non-paying subscribers to paying ones. I have some ideas in mind for features I might paywall—like an advice column I’m developing called Ask The East Village Yenta. Stay tuned for more on that…
I want to write for Oldster Magazine, but I haven’t seen instructions for how to submit.
I haven’t yet put out an official call for submissions for Oldster Magazine. As this is currently only a side-gig for me—and I juggle a bunch of other demanding jobs in which I am tasked with reading and responding to other people’s writing—I don’t have the bandwidth to respond to a tidal wave of essays and questionnaires coming over the proverbial transom (at my last job, I often received 50 to 100 essay submissions per week), nor the budget to take on more than a few pieces per week.
As Oldster Magazine grows, and I build subscriptions to a level at which they can better support me and this work, I will post about how to submit.
How much do you pay contributors?
Right now, with what I have, I generally pay $50 for the questionnaire and very short blog-type posts, and $100 for more substantial posts/essays—with a few exceptions. I’d like to be able to pay more, but I’m doing what I can with what I’ve got.
There’s an awful lot of professional writers featured. Why is that?
Writers are generally who you hire to write for magazines. They (myself included) have been honing their craft for years, sometimes decades, and I’m fortunate that so many of them are willing to contribute here, despite my limited budget.
That said, I do hope to eventually include more interviews and podcasts episodes with “regular people,” and to add shorter blog post formats so that more non-writers can easily contribute.
You also feature an awful lot of Gen X-ers.
Well…I happen to be Gen X myself, and I’m acquainted with a lot of peers. Also, Generation X as a demographic is going through some interesting age-related changes right now and I’m curious about how others are handling them. We were latch-key kids who grew up too fast, then swung the other way and got stuck in protracted adolescence, which makes the “adulting” milestones in our forties and fifties feel really, really weird.
I will note, however, that I am working on making sure other age groups are also sufficiently represented.
How can I get one of those Oldster tee shirts I’ve seen Sari wear in photos?
You can order Oldster Magazine Merchandise—tee shirts and mugs—from my Etsy Store.
Read more about my mission in the interview Substack conducted with me:
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