It was, perhaps, the worst time in history to be starting out as a writer. In 1934, only 15 authors in the United States sold 50,000 or more books, and the magazine market was even more straitened; advertising was at an all-time low, and many of the mass-market, high-paying “slick” magazines had either shrunk or folded.
— From Blake Bailey’s Cheever: A Life. (It’s not… unfamiliar sounding, is it?)