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I know. I've probably used this title before. It may not even be the last time.

Yeah, long time since I posted. I do wonder why I even do. This isn't a call for sympathy, just an observation of facts. Long posts only get read if people can pass them around and shout how they agree with them or how the opinions inside are reason enough to put the author to the flame. And lemme tell ya, the agreement posts don't really move the needle in terms of orders or getting reviews. Which is the game. Which has always been the game. To stick out in the very wide and oceanic field that's approximately two inches deep if that much at all. Things don't even make splashes anymore, simply slipping beneath the choppy and turbulent and wind-blown surface that seethes like so much fractal noise, an equation which simulates life and activity and a sense of being but only simulates.

So, about All Waters Are Graves. I've ordered the print books for the kickstarter backers. If they arrive sometime next week, that's when they'll go out. My guess is the hardcovers will take longer. They usually do. Trying to do it all at once. I'll send out the ebooks when the print copies go out.

My guess is that will be the extent of sales because trying to attract attention to the books is nearly impossible unless I want to shell out dollars for online advertising of dubious utility at best. Mostly because everyone is doing the same thing, trying to reach the same increasingly small pool of readers. That's the thing nobody likes to talk about, and why would they? It's a grim subject. Who was it, Tarkovsky? Yeah. According to the internet.


We can totally trust the internet now, right?

“The allotted function of art is not, as is often assumed, to put across ideas, to propagate thoughts, to serve as an example. The aim of art is to prepare a person for death, to plough and harrow his soul, rendering it capable of turning to good.”

Only now art isn't just to prepare for one's own death, but the death of the form itself. I exaggerate, perhaps. But only a little. This is the problem with having lived long enough to have borne witness to a much healthier set of publishing and entertainment industries. I'd love for someone to compare the numbers sold that got a book on the top 10 of the NYT bestseller list in 1975 and in 2024. Oh, that's so unfair. That's fifty years. Unfair or not, it's the world we've got now. One that's been looted and income streams firmly pointed in the direction of those making the rules. Much like a state party deciding, say, that the governor of a state can remove any elected official for any reason whatsoever and there's no recourse. Because that's a thing that just happened. Just like a bunch of dudes taking over all the businesses that print books and make TV shows and record labels and movies have directed the meager flow of income in direction other than the creators.

It's grim going out there. If you're making your living solely off this, you have my admiration and my sympathy. It was always hard. It's harder now. And the folks who want to sell you access know that.

So maybe the only sane response is to refuse to play the game.

Maybe the only thing that makes sense is write the books, offer them via Kickstarter and folks who are interested can get them early and have some sense of participation in the process. Because the alternative of submission or scratching up outreach or promotion only to throw things into the seethe (see first paragraph) just doesn't make sense. It's an endless succession of auditions or writing checks to buy banner ads to get coverage (don't be so shocked). I'm not in a position to do that. Hell, I'm not in the position to pay an editor a thousand dollars to go over the copy in my books, much less get developmental editing, because, get this, that's more than any of these books has made or will ever.

I'm tired of seeing the independent creator not regarded as that, but as a source of income (from big companies mostly, looking at you, Adobe, but MS is as bad only with a reasonable price tag), or a source of prestige, or as a discourse target. I only ever wanted to write books but had the misfortune of entering an industry in steep decline, only to be sold a bunch of hot air once things went digital about the long tail and evergreen backlist items and how it was finally your time. The only thing that ever made sense to me was writing, but the process has done its level best to destroy that enthusiasm. This, I know, is where I'm told to Git Gud and activate Hustle Grindset Mode and split myself off from the requirements of marketing. Which sounds like sociopathy to me. I have enough trouble as it is.

I know, again, nobody likes to think about this. We like to think about successes, enough so that we redefine them. "You finished the book, that's a success." Well, I've finished, ah, many of them. It's never felt like that. It's just created a sense of impending anxiety and What Am I Gonna Do To Make This One Work. Maybe they're not there to work. Maybe they're not there to do anything other than to spark an experience in the reader. Protip: writing these isn't about exorcising something from the writer's soul, else they'd just write the one book and stop. Just like the myth of character catharsis, dig? Only if that character catches on, well guess what, it's franchise purgatory where nothing ever grows or changes except the side characters.

But I'd kill for a successful franchise. Don't kid yourself. I still hunger for that recognition. Every day. I know. The Buddha is displeased, but perhaps not disappointed.

Anyways, as I write this sort of withdrawal from the game itself, I am looking at what Adobe is doing and considering tossing half of my lifetime learning and using Photoshop because I'm just tired of being treated to having my work picked over for their profit and I'm paying for the privilege. Not to mention the wholesale embrace of pushbutton content via AI scripting which, read the room, Adobe. I guess if it means that someone is buying a subscription for the software, that's enough, right?

Getting treated as disposable is something nobody should have to deal with. Nor should you foist it on yourself. So work in a level where you simply can't be. This isn't me giving up on writing, but it is me rejecting the business.

Until next time.


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