In and Out

I’d love to know how Normal Brains work. By that, a couple of assumptions are made: there are people who do not go through the mental turmoil I seem to cope with on a semi regular basis, and there are people who just write and everything comes out fine. Yes, I know you do editing and you tweak and then you go get some advice from your friends and tweak some more but… Okay, let me try and explain the problem I have in words that make sense.

I’ve always been able to write, and if you look at my work across a period of years it is obvious where the light-bulb moments have taken place. Just as pianists must practice, or an athlete will run every day whilst in competition, keeping mental faculties sharp is a vital part of the evolutionary process. What didn’t happen was the discovery of my own internal ‘voice’ until very recently (and by that I mean the last five years.) Fiction before this point was variable at best, and I’d not written a poem since the late 1980’s.

It was time to go to the mattresses.

Fighting myself has been very productive since 2012: pushing away the perceived barriers of ability, logically dismissing shortcomings, learning from everywhere and anywhere. The oddest stuff has been inspiration, literally hundreds of hours reading other people’s advice, so that a workable path could be plotted between where I was and where ability needed to be. A fellow writer this week has lamented the time its taken her to edit her novel. I’ve been at MMXCI for over 18 years, only now close to something that could be considered worthwhile.

I have 007 to thank, of course, for the training wheels that were stuck on my two fanfics, easily removed and bolted onto my own work. Creating a work of fiction in a well-established, easily accessible Universe give an opportunity to work out what is needed for your own to work, and for me there were so many holes to be filled when pulling MMXCI back to the table. However, now comes the realisation why that is so important, as the narrative pretty much runs as parallel experience for how I managed to find my way from the lowest point in my life in 2005 until now.

I have inadvertently written an autobiographical novel.

What has happened in between 1999 and now, of course, is the continued and systematic learning and unlearning of the restrictions on my mental freedom. After all that time, I really am getting somewhere.

Believe

On April 14th, the @InternetofWords Twitter feed is a year old. When I started this project, there was the belief writing could be successfully funded long-term, and that would probably have remained the case were it not for the fees issue that made me pull the project in December. Four months on from that, I’m grateful for a chance to sit back from obligation. Without the shift in emphasis, my novel would never have been finished, because a continuous sense of being beholden to patrons would have put that work ahead of personal desire. I still want to find a means to make money long-term that includes the processes that are being developed here, but what matters more right now is evolution.

The creation of my Patreon was done with the best of intentions but ultimately ended up stifling creativity. Part of the issue was not knowing exactly what it was I enjoyed doing, and not having enough of a portfolio of work to back up those assertions. This year, therefore, has become an exercise in building foundations, via the website and on Social media. Slowly but surely a body of work will emerge that reflects this personal journey, development along lines that I am able to dictate and command as an artist. Once that groundwork is in place, it will be time to look again at sustainable funding.

There Was No Glory

By far the biggest success story in all of this has been the development of my poetry, and if all goes well, I intend to crowdfund a project at the end of the year to translate both haiku and micropoetry into book format. Assuming that all goes well, we’ll look at other ways to maintain the momentum. Right now, they are all baby steps, but once we hit the one year Anniversary of the IoW in June? The only way is forwards and upwards.

I look forward to expanding Outlooks and Universes for many years to come.

GSME #8 :: Your Cheating Heart

Last week, if you were paying attention, was fairly significant for this site. That means that after today things won’t look the same, but this Guide will remain plugging away at improving the reach and interest in what is about to become a fully fledged ‘brand.’ In fact, if all goes to plan, I will be updating WordPress on this account to a Business Plan. That means that SEO is going to become rather an important part of what goes on around this parish in the months that follow, but for now I’ll simply mention it in passing. For now, we have Twitter analytics to look at and some more foundation work for the months that follow.

170417stats

The peak on the Engagements graph last week was my resignation as @MMOGames’ Warcraft columnist (in anticipation of the Patreon in June) and because of illness, the effort to engage has, I’ll admit, not been as full on as in previous weeks. However, I’m definitely feeling more awake, aware and willing to go this morning: I managed to CoPromote enough posts to get me to 44k Reach, but I’ll wait for my purchased 500k’s worth to hit the account before I use it on summat worthwhile. However, my 28 day stats are looking distinctly encouraging:

28summary170417

What is happening is the constant drip of what I know are genuine followers and not either a) robots or b) people with their own promotion to highlight. It helped at the weekend that a post I wrote on the Warcraft site appears to have been ‘shared’ somewhere that’s not on my radar. This normally means Reddit but as my WordPress analytics simply list the hits as from ‘search engines’ it is just as likely someone used me to mask traffic for summat nefarious. However, the number of relevant follows that could be as a result means I’ll take whatever, without complaint.

views2

As you can see, my Warcraft site generates only a handful of hits on any given day. Ironically, the post in question is a less than glowing review of current content, and isn’t something I intend to repeat on a regular basis. However, it gives me an interesting blip on the stats to write about, so you take your anomalies wherever you can find them.

I also considered this week promoting a post using Twitter’s own boost feature. However, when I tried to work out roughly how much this would cost, I could find nowhere where pricing was listed, except from 2012. A quick look at Twitter’s knowledge base revealed why:

nomoney

If I have to hand in my credit card details before I am even charged for the service, I’m really not interested. I appreciate this may be standard practice for other services, but as I’m not a massive company but a single person with the most limited of budgets? Nope. Yet again, Twitter are a complete waste of time and CoPromote continues to look like the best move I could possibly have made in order to extend my reach into a completely new and unknown audience. It is odd how these things work out: I’d thought the service would be a complete waste of time, but for what I’m paying (set amount, easily budgetable for) it knocks spots off the ‘professional’ alternative.

Sometimes, the biggest provider is not necessarily the best choice.

Shut Up

We interrupt your normally scheduled fiction this morning with an important aside.

I’m quite late to the Social Media game, if truth be told. In fact, I can remember when Twitter launched and all my mates were jumping on the bandwagon thinking ‘seriously who the fuck wants to talk in real time what’s THAT about’ and now? Well, I get the appeal, and the usefulness, but I also understand that a lot of the time, people do genuinely get lucky. Unless you are an ACTUAL REAL CELEBRITY with, you know, movies and presence and history? Being a long term media fixture doesn’t happen. [*]  Life’s too full of cats and GIFS and all that other stuff. To make that leap you need to be an actual icon and there aren’t too many of those any more. Mostly, if you can manage 15 Minutes of Fame? I’d be more than satisfied.

ALMOST SIX FIGURES

Now, you’d think, looking at this Tweet of mine from last week, that actually 99k impressions (where that’s your Tweet making it to someone’s feed, but they may not actually read it) is pretty good. Except actually, that’s woeful. The official Warcraft Twitter account has approximately 793,000 followers, so that’s about an eighth of the fanbase there, and there’s no idea of who actually read the post. Fortunately, Twitter provides a girl with metrics, and if you thought the impressions were bad?

OH MY GOD :O

These stats are frankly WOEFUL: basically, approximately 100 people took any kind of interest. Four replies is less than most of my Blog Post links get in a day from a regular audience and FIVE FOLLOWS? That’s just stupid. What this proves is that even when you get retweeted by a major player, the impact is often minimal, if at all. What matters more is what you put into your feed to begin with, and for most that means keeping a 24/7 stream of content and comment. Just having more people follow does not make you a significant player, because of the 793K followers Warcraft have I’m betting quite a few aren’t actually real. Many will be selling gold, or using this feed as a means of creating their own content. A fair few won’t listen unless there’s an Expansion or Patch imminent, and even more simply follow because it’s an ‘official’ account and therefore that’s what you do.

Maths however, it must be said, has a tendency to make certain types of people act like idiots, because of the notion that if you have a bunch of numbers, this must always be in some way equatable with actual facts. Yes, metrics are great, but as Ford will tell you, all the marketing and statistics in the world won’t mean you’ll never get an Edsel. Ironically World of Warcraft itself could well have suffered this same issue with the current Expansion, but I doubt we’ll ever know. My point this morning is twofold: being ‘popular’ is really horrendously relative, and thinking you ARE popular is even more dangerous, because then you believe you have the right to go off on all manner of ridiculous self-propelled rants, and that’s just WRONG. That also goes the other way too, for all the people who like to remind writers like me we should allow everyone a voice and the right to use it.

Personally, I only believe that’s true to a point.

THE BEST .GIF EVER.

Tact is becoming a lost art in the Virtual World, and this makes me sad. When everyone else is offering their tuppence worth on something, should you even bother with a response? Some days I’d say yes, others I’d say no, and the fact that I’ve written this post at all says to my own sense of right and wrong that some people don’t think nearly often enough before they go off on a rant. Personal indignation is all well and good, but soapbox posturing only really works if you get up, walk away from your PC, and then do something about the issue in reality. Virtual change is a lifetime away from actual difference making, and that has to extend to every part of your life: actually eat better, don’t say it, walk don’t drive, make changes that are reflected in all walks of your life. Respect other’s privacy, treat people as you wish you would be. You know, all that basic common sense stuff. But mostly, most people don’t give a fuck about things until they see them personally causing detriment to their own existence. Then the indignation flares.

And with Social Media as a soapbox to potentially millions if you hit the right combination of luck and positioning? You’d better be damn sure you can justify yourself. Mostly, I’d like a lot of people to never press Tweet right now. I am as guilty of this as the next person, especially when it comes to contentious issues. It’s the need to make a point in the conversation that never ends, and never gets tired.

Except after a while, it does.

==

[*] No, those people aren’t celebrities. NO, they’re NOT.