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Sure, let's blog again. It's been awhile.

So, what's gone on since I last posted here? Well, a lot of the end part of last year was burned up by taking care of my wife who'd had an illness flare up. That took a lot of physical and mental energy. Add to that the holidays and all they require. Yeah, kinda rough. Don't want to repeat it and I know full well that I'm not in charge of that decision.

Around the first of the year, maybe a touch before, I decided to do something different in terms of putting out books. Or rather I figured out that I couldn't keep doing what I've been doing. That being put books onto Amazon and hope the algorithm would turn readers onto them. That doesn't even work in the movies. I know. But when your books aren't going to make money, spending money on ads and book tours and buying reviews (which is about what it takes to get more than handful of reviews when you're at my level of non-fame) just doesn't make a lot of sense. Oh maybe if I intended in being a prolific indie author or wanted to get into the Kindle Unlimited ecosystem (hint: I do not.)

Besides, this was stuff that my publisher was supposed to be doing. Yeah. The publisher that I was no longer affiliated with after I figured out they were more interested in doing RPG materials than putting my book out and after a couple years of missed opportunities and kicked cans (all of which ended up costing me money as I paid the editor for their time and work and the cover artist for their time and work -- yes, they'd been paid by the publisher but I didn't want the book that they weren't going to put out to be the reason they took a hit; so I paid them out of my pocket.)

I figured I'd try something new. I'd do a kickstarter. We all know what those are, though I had to explain what it was to my mother in law. I figured since I'm nobody and don't have a record, I'd start small. Five hundred dollars. I was hoping for twenty readers to buy in. Twenty folks to look over what I was offering and then say "yeah, this sounds like something I'd be into". Needless to say, given my history in publishing, I expected this to not fund and for me to just return to what I'd done before and maybe put out the couple books I'd had written and walk away from it. I have other things I should be spending my energy on anyways.

So last Wednesday, not even a week ago, I post the kickstarter campaign, after putting together the text and graphics and all that. I didn't really study other kickstarters or project pitches. I didn't record a project video and probably won't ever do that. You want to see me on video, you can check me out at this segment I did for the Lovecraft E-Zine podcast last year.

I simply wrote up the background of the project and a bit about myself, repurposed some of the cover art from the Hazeland books that I'd reworked around the end of last year (yes, I had energy enough to do those because doing graphic design doesn't require actual focus on my part -- weird to say, but 100% true -- I just go into another mode and don't... think so much.) Put all that together and just mashed the launch button.

That $500 figure? I got it before the end of the first business day. Mostly via posting on Bluesky. I didn't even hit Instagram until the day after. I haven't used Twitter in actual months, maybe since early summer? Gosh, I don't even remember now. Maybe I should post there. But that'd be craven and transactional and yeah...

Right now? I'm up to $1300, or just shy of it, and 39 backers. That's the first week. Granted, the action was fast and furious in the first 48 and tailed off. I'm aware that means my audience isn't all that big.

But it is bigger than I'd thought so before that. My books don't get much in terms of reviews at Amazon or Goodreads. I've sold books to people at shows (though the last time that didn't go so well - one over the entire weekend). It's easy to be disconnected from the audience. Which isn't a surprise as the platforms that you might build an audience on, well they want that relationship monetized and they make it hard for you to actually get a hold of everyone. Luckily that's not really happening on Bluesky. Yet. It will. Facebook has set the standard for that, for the whole "make a service and then get people used to that reach then break off chunks of that and get creators to pay to get it back" and no. I'm not doing that. But nearly every other platform is. Which sucks.

This, however, has been an amazing surprise. I know. I'm getting worked up about 40 readers. Which means I'm accepting the New Normal. For a long time, I played at it but never really did. And that just made me feel like I was writing books and chucking them into the void. Much less never getting paid for them (which is another set of conversations entirely.) I thought that getting a contract would help make things feel real. And it's more complicated than that, much more. But getting a contract with a publisher that can't... do anything other than put the book out and hope for the same sort of magic to happen, that's not healthy. I should have understood that in 2019 back when I thought that being published actually mattered in the ecosystem of readers and bloggers and reviewers and all that.

And yes, at a certain point, it certainly does matter. I was not at that point. Nor will I be at that point. I'm becoming more okay with this. It's still not okay, but I'm adjusting to it.

This is all something new and I'm trying to learn that what I think is well and good but maybe having some other people out there behind you helps a lot more than I was ever going to admit. Does that make sense? I always knew that the books were real. It was just draining to see the world not act the same way, or to have that level of connection stripped from you (but Amazon got their cut, Ingram got their cut, etc.)

No, it's not a living. Yes, on an absolute scale it's something like a buck an hour or less for the work I've put in on it. Okay, that might be an exaggeration. But not much of one. It is not paying the bills. But then writing doesn't for most of the people who actually write. Yeah, sorry, but it's true. If you can make it work, my hat is off to you. I could not. I couldn't write anything people wanted badly enough to publish, that would be Bookstagrammable or a viral moment on TikTok. I didn't build the following in the nineties to bedcome an elder statesman. I'm just a dude who writes books that don't neatly fit into any particular genre (I've also come to the conclusion that genre itself is a categorizing term that's kinda cancerous and narrow-minding, but that's a rant for another time.)

All that said, I've found a small audience. It's hopefully something I'll be able to build up from. And maybe I'll even get more folks to take a look at this one and contribute more to the financial and mental nest egg. That's the job until the end of the month or so. Then it's finish the layout (including thank-yous to the contributors) and maybe a brief foreword. Then to Wonder-Con, I think. Let's go back to a comic show.

Yes, I went last year. I'll try not to be so dramatic.

Then it's plan the next campaign, this one for Fake Believe. Then I gotta write that fourth book, The Missing Pieces.

And adjust to the way things are now. But that's an ongoing process.

Thanks again.


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