Monday, October 29, 2018

Pierwalker Log: October 29, 2018

Writing start: 10:42 A.M.
Finish: 3:34 P.M.
Total new words (est.): 1000
Edited (est.): 4300 + last two poems written


1. Failure: Off till Thursday

2. Book Three Melody: 1000 new words
Notes: Coming to the meat of the chapter--almost 6K words in.

3. Ant Story: Off till Wednesday

4. Fractalverse: Read-though last two poems
Notes: Definitely a volume chock full of protest.

5. The Cheapery St. Heroes: Book Two: Third secondary edit of chapter six

6. Dread Pirate Roberts: Read-through
Notes: I may need to read-through the next chapter again, and then again, to hold on to plot-points relevant to the current chapter.

7. Firefly: Off

8. Rapscallion: Off till 11/7
Notes: I'm eager to get back to this project, which I haven't looked at in a dog's age!

Special: None today

Extra notes: Jaron Lanier says I need to toss my social media accounts entirely; and so does Cal Newport. The evidence they cite for why I should is pretty convincing, and pretty damning, too. Social media, to put it bluntly--and to put it as I always have--is a disease. It is designed specifically to addict people. It is designed to put far too much power, influence, and wealth into the hands of an elite few, which it has. It is literally destroying our democracy, and democracies around the world. And it has literally destroyed what Lanier calls a "healthy middle class" for musicians, writers, and many other artists. Only the biggest get noticed now; the rest of us starve. That too was by design.

Both claim that someone like me will do "just fine" without it. I don't need social media, they say: Lanier waves his hands dismissively and says, "Look at me. I sell books and I don't use social media"; and Newport, in his latest post that quotes Seth Godin (someone I really admire), basically claims that marketing via social media is a waste of time.

Maybe they're right. I haven't noticed an increase in sales this year; in fact, this year is on track to be the lowest-royalty year I've ever had. As in ever. I don't think I've made even thirty bucks this year on my published works. So maybe they're right. I post multiple times a day on Reddit; and I post elsewhere too, though not as much. I don't have a Facebook account--on principle; and for the same reason I don't have a Twitter account either. I don't use InstaGram or SnapChat. I work to limit where I maintain a digital presence simply because I think these men are right. But I don't know if they are right about this.

Both Lanier and Newport are able to sell books because they are well known. They are invited to speaking engagements. They appear on television. They have all sorts of name recognition.

I don't. I'm not invited to speaking engagements; and I'm not on television either. So what am I left with?

Sadly, I'm left with the very thing that by design is structured to press me far out along the long tail of the power curve that sees to it that only a tiny handful of authors are recognized and paid, Lanier and Newport among them. So I resent their dismissive manner. There they are, way up in that tower, looking down at the Great Unwashed, and sneering at us. I find it insulting and offensive.

What am I supposed to do, you two? Nothing at all? Newport implies that if my work is good enough, somehow, apparently magically, the masses will discover it. But that's a load of crap, and stands in the face of any scientific rationale that he, as a computer scientist, employs every day. My work is more than good enough, and yet I remain totally ignored. The reason why, I should think, would be obvious to those two, but evidently isn't: The same power curve that destroyed those middle classes for artists didn't just isolate itself digitally, but manifested in every other way as well!

So what am I supposed to do? Post fliers on the local bulletin board? Pay the local booksellers a monthly fee for shelf space so that I can display paperback titles of my works there? As anybody in the self-pubbed field knows, both are money drains, as are all the other suggestions: media announcements, radio time, advertising on movie screens, giveaways, and on and on ad nauseam. So is another massive waste of time--and a scam, in my opinion--giving away your hard work (for a massive fee) on BookBub and related sites.

Lanier and Newport's dismissive, magical thinking concerning us Unwashed Serf-Artists is crap. If all you're left with to keep from utterly disappearing into the Black Hole of Total Obscurity is a single terrible option, then that's the one you take.

Up yours, you two. You should be thankful to the God you both don't believe in that you are where you are.