You’ll see news stories about people getting the “big paychecks” from writing, but you are more likely to be struck by lightning than be able to earn a living from writing.
--Mercedes R. Lackey
THE INTERNET is supposed to connect us to each other. But for me, I receive, almost always, either a busy signal or dead air. Very rarely do I "get through." In fact, I can count on two hands the number of times I've managed in fourteen years of hard, hard work trying to get my writing in front of folks. Truth be told, I'd probably have better luck standing in front of the worm and bait shop on Ellensburg Avenue and jump up and down with copies of my paperbacks in both fists.
The Internet doesn't connect. Far more often it disconnects and disenfranchises and dehumanizes and defames and destroys. It is the domain of trolls and liars (Trump, his administration, and the whole of the Russian government); it is the superconducting conduit for more oppression by oligarchs and evermore rapacious corporations; it is the swirling cesspool for the media and their continual attempts to brainwash and "convert" us. It isn't for artists. It isn't for creators.
Online communities are, for all intents and purposes, nonexistent. The term 'online community' is virtually oxymoronic. In real terms, there is no such thing as an online community. In terms of sheer numbers, they simply don't exist. Those that do--the one in a million or ten million or billion announced as such--are Super Duper Big Bang Lottery lucky.
It shouldn't be like this. But it is. I should be able to make a living selling my fiction and poetry and essays and fractals--a good living, actually. But as Lackey says above, I'm more likely to be struck by lightning than do so.
The playing field isn't tilted; it's vertical. There are those Big Bang Lottery Lucky Few at the top (who delude themselves into believing they got there by talent), and there's everybody else. There's me. We languish in the permanent shadow at the Permanent Bottom.
I've tried everything to get noticed. I've finally decided that it isn't going to happen. I'm not going to make a living as a writer. As in ever. And I'm tired in a way that 'tired' doesn't quite describe my attempts to be noticed. I'm giving up. This is my public announcement and declaration.
My last and final marketing venture--my mailing list--I deleted just this past Friday (4/14). I'd been trying to build it up for over five years, but with almost zero success. When it got shunted to my recycle bin, it had eight people on it. Eight people in five years. Eight people in 1825 days. That's a new sign-up once every 228 days!
How many hours did I spend crafting well-written emails to them? How many hours did I spend editing those emails before sending them? How many offers of free downloads and discounted pricing did I make to them? Most of all, how many times were those emails and free downloads and fractal art and illustrations simply and utterly ignored?
Enough. I've had enough. The mailing list is gone, and it isn't coming back. The offers are gone, and they ain't comin' back either. If I'm going to be ignored, then I'm going to be ignored on my own terms.
I started this blog because I finally divorced social media this year (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Google Plus, the biggies), finally recognizing it is as the hateful, poisonous, addicting, mendacious, and malicious enterprise that it is.
(I still have a LinkedIn account; but I don't consider LinkedIn social media.)
I started this blog because when I first started writing full-time back in 2004, it was a blog I started, under the same name, and I wanted to return to my "roots," as it were.
I no longer have a dedicated website. I'll never have one again. I'm done with them and the rip-off companies that offer them. I learned many valuable and oftentimes painful and expensive lessons in my interactions with them, but the biggest and by far the most important is this: avoid them like the plague. In fact, it would probably be better for you to get the plague than it would be for you to deal with Internet hosting sites. That's how nasty they are. Fourteen years of dealing with them makes me an expert. You should listen to me.
Not that Blogger is any great shakes. It isn't. But it's free; and it's my "roots" and all that. So be it.
So why continue with this blog if I'm done trying to get struck by lightning? I think I'll let Red Woodloe answer that.
Who's Red Woodloe? He was a character on The Partridge Family. He was a famous folk singer who disappeared off the radar. The Partridges, touring, discovered him singing in a small church and tried to convince him to make a comeback, but he refused. The Partridges managed to get him up on the stage for a local concert, which was packed, but before he got introduced, he disappeared out a side door and skipped out.
When asked why he did that, he answered something like this:
"Because those folks paid for a ticket to see someone they don't know. They don't know if they like me! They paid their hard-earned money and are taking a chance that it won't turn out to be a waste of time for them!
"I'm not interested in that. I'm only interested in playing for folks who already know me and like me. Those are the only people who should be paying for a ticket to see me!"
That's me right there. This blog exists for and only for those folks who already know who I am through my work and like what I have to offer. There are damn few of you out there. Not nearly enough to make a living. Not nearly enough to be struck by lightning.
That's the way that it is.
I'm damn proud of what I've given this world. This uncaring, apathetic, ignorant, brainwashed, consuming world. Ultimately it's not for those billions, but for the tiny, tiny, tiny handful of you who have read something of mine, have loved it, and want to keep up with me and my offerings. This blog is for you and no one else. And even though I've given up waiting for the lightning, I'll continue writing--for you. You are where I'm going to devote the whole of my attention from now on, and to hell with the rest of the world.