One of the things we’ve been reviewing around here is our intake of information from our interaction with the Web.
I’m old-fashioned and struggle with everything having to be on a screen–whether for work or play–so to help myself, I’ve entered Mostly Broadcast Mode when it comes to social media. This has cut down on the chatter and done wonders for my mental health. I also get my news directly from the source via a few news apps I have on my computer phone. Other sources of incoming data come from a good old-fashioned newspaper focusing on local news. For websites, I have an app on the computer phone called Read (which I discuss here) and it’s a way to log the websites and blogs I regularly visit and be notified when a new post shows up. Most of them I can read directly on the Read app, which then eliminates the urge to surf the Web.
The idea here is to stay informed while also watching my Web time so I can spend more time making things for you guys.
Yes, the irony of having a blog (on a screen) and a webcomic (on a screen) and a YouTube channel (on a screen) doesn’t escape me. I’m just doing my best to adjust to the Digital Frontier as best I can after having taken some time away from it.
I’m finding the older I get, the harder I find change, but I also realize I need to embrace change to some degree in order for this whole multimedia A.P. Fuchs experiment to work.
Like I’ve been saying lately, one thing at a time.
This past weekend I spent some time taking a page out of Warren Ellis’s playbook by downloading a blog feed reader called Read in an effort of curating my own Internet. I loaded into it all the blogs I follow. Now it will notify me of new blog entries from these sources. Since I’m 99.9% off the social feeds for the winter (except for the odd post here and there, usually about my cooking), this makes things easier for me and saves me time checking in on websites.
The goal is to make my pocket computer’s Internet nice and streamlined in a season of life where I need things streamlined. There are a lot of moving parts going on, both professionally and personally, and it’s time to cut out the clutter and keep things simple. Self-imposed boundaries can be healthy and this is one of the good ones.
Speaking of which, and this idea is at the consideration stage at the moment, I’m thinking about going dark next week so I can ensure the release schedule is maintained. Pursuant to this blog entry here, I tire out quicker than most because of the after effects of being ill so any spare energy I can save and funnel into my projects is a good thing. I’ll keep you posted.
Back to Read.
So far, so good. Saves clicking around or fumbling through my computerized telephone’s browser.
Here is the link should you wish to add this blog, Canister X (the Realm of Heroes and Monsters), to your feed reader, if you have one.
Lastly, tomorrow on Patreon airs the next chapter of Gigantigator Death Machine, my ongoing serial novel about a group of young adults hunted by something huge and deadly, with all the creature-feature fun that goes with it. Go here to get caught up and get ready for the new installment.
This has been an exhausting week. Getting lots done, mostly odds and ends that needed completing plus regular upkeep of my Internet offerings and freelance work. As well, work is being done on Project Jackass and I’m still hammering down more of the winter schedule. This week has also been plagued with technical glitches, which have bogged things down and have depleted my patience, but I’m muscling through anyway. (I remember during my early years in this industry how much easier things were and websites and interfaces and all the rest just simply worked. Don’t get me started on computerized telephones. And get off my lawn!)
The big thing to mention here is a picture is coalescing regarding some upcoming releases so watch this space for an announcement(s).
Once more I’ll state my belief that blogging is not dead, just misplaced. In a world of quick social media posts and soundbites, it’s easy to forget the Web is loaded with websites chock full of information, entertainment, and news. Many folks are dissatisfied with the way social media has gone and how it affects their mental health and overall well being, so I encourage you this coming week to spend time web surfing to see what you’ll find. Check out articles you’ve been meaning to read, creator websites you’ve been meaning to go to, topics you’ve been meaning to investigate.
As an invitation from me, please take a moment and explore this blog. There is a lot here by way of free entertainment and free information. A decent portion of my creative output is spent giving readers things for free and I want you to take advantage of it so you can get to know me as a creator. On this site alone you have access to numerous articles, artwork, movie and book reviews, links to other creators, and more. This blog–the magic of blogging–is my way of getting information and entertainment to you in a way social media doesn’t let me. This blog is my house and you’re welcome to stay here and put your feet up for a while.
On a personal note, I’m enjoying blogging five days a week. It’s an opportunity to share ideas and information with the world on a platform that is my own. I’ve always believed writing is about honesty and that any creator needs to live and express themselves honestly without fear of what other people think. There are enough clones in this world and part of the role of the arts–when handled without pretension–is to speak to the human condition and portray things as they are uncut and uncensored. This role also falls on the creator and not just their work. The idea of art being about self-expression (that is, the work created) but not the artist themselves being self-expressive is a contradiction. I’m not saying an artist needs to put their whole selves on the display for the world to see, but I am saying that–and I’ve seen this countless times over–it’s a disservice to the reader or viewer for the artist to put across one message with their work but then muddle that honesty by playing to the public and telling the public what they want to hear instead of being truthful in whatever is being expressed.
The magic of blogging is that a blog is one way for a person to express themselves honestly. Sure, some folks might not like what they read. Others will be all over it. The point is that the expression was made and, frankly, these expressions will be all that’s left of us after we leave this world. I’d rather leave bits of my true self behind than an illusion for the public.
This is my approach and arguments can be made against it being the right one. What I do know is that my blogging and what I blog about works for me both professionally and personally. And that’s really the trick, isn’t it? Finding out what works for you? The only way to do that is to experiment and play around and find your groove. Only then will you, too, discover the magic of blogging.
This is an update regarding PROJECT REBIRTH, my codename for getting things up and running in a new way after stepping back for a season. PROJECT REBIRTH was first announced here. Here are the status updates in list form for easy reading.
Comics – Sketchbook work has begun. This is me getting down how I want things to look for my yet-to-be-announced comic project.
Resumption of The Canister X Transmission – A couple issues have already gone out and a new one will hit this Saturday. Archives are here. Subscribtion box is on the right or please go here. You get a free novelette as a thank you.
A Patreon account with special content just for patrons – This was recently launched. A serial novel is part of the deal starting at $1. Other goodies at the higher tiers. New chapter of GIGANTIGATOR DEATH MACHINE airs this Friday. Please join my Patreon journey either via the button to your right or by going here.
Order fulfillment of the Axiom-man/Auroraman: Frozen Storm Kickstarter – For those who missed the Kickstarter, the book is available on the left. For those waiting on rewards, the Lettered Edition has come in (see this video) and the paperback is being printed shortly.
Publication of projects that were temporarily put on hold – These are still being sorted through. Announcements to come once I’ve got them figured out.
Bigtime expansion and growth of The Axiom-man Saga and associated products – Still in the planning stages.
Revving up public appearances and media again – Once a couple things above are settled, this will be looked into.
More – Ah, the ever-mysterious “more.” This encompasses something that I’ve been meaning to do for a long time but haven’t been able to for different reasons. Part of this was settled upon when I was at the bookstore the other day. That’s all I’ll hint for now. Super vague, I know.
I’m also pleased to report this blog has had a surge of traffic since I’ve gone regular with it again. Thank you to everyone for coming by. Some say blogging is dead. I disagree. I think it just fell by the wayside for a few years while everyone was focused on their social channels, but now that many are complaining about the problems of social media, I think newsletters and blogs will make a comeback. Websites in general are the foundation of the Web. We used to surf for hours going from one site to the next. I still bookmark pages for easy access. Websites will never go away.
Thank you to everyone for your patience as I get things back in order. As I’ve said elsewhere, it takes a lot of time, especially if you’re a one-man band.
The Internet is a painfully crowded place, especially these days. I remember in the late nineties when the Web was starting to take shape. There were some basic websites and, well, that was about it. Communication on-line was pretty much email. Now look at us—everyone’s on-line, we’re all shouting, and social media is the main form of communication.
Unfortunately, there’s just too many people and these days, with every one and their monkey writing a book, there’s too many authors and it’s near impossible to get noticed. Sure, it happens, and some authors build a sizable and—keyword: pragmatic—social following, but for the most part, many struggle in this area.
Newsletters bypass all the number games associated with social media, the whole like-for-like and I-follow-you-you-follow-me tactics, and all the rest. (Which are pretty much useless because those are about quantity not quality.)
Productive numbers are where it’s at and newsletters, by their very opt-in nature, cater to that. Do you want to know who is truly invested in what you do? Start a newsletter.
It’s focused marketing: sending out communication and information to people who have chosen to hear what you have to say. Actually, I don’t even like to use the word “marketing” in this case because that totally devalues the point of a newsletter, which is connecting with readers who genuinely care about you in return.
Look at the word itself: newsletter. It’s a letter, not a brochure.
Sure, your newsletter numbers might be smaller than your Facebook likes, but they’re quality numbers, which have more value than just a high like count. The people who have chosen to receive a newsletter from you are the same people who are more likely to get a copy of your book because a genuine interest in you has already taken place.
There are so many ways to go about doing a newsletter, some of which are:
▪ The Plain Jane promo newsletter.
This is the kind that only goes out when an author has a new release. It’s not about communicating with the reader, but simply selling to them. I find these shallow; see the newsletter work breakdown above.
▪ The monthly update newsletter.
Typically something sent out once a month, this is the newsletter where the author says what’s going on with them, where what project is at in the production process and to promote a book(s) or event or something.
▪ The weekly newsletter.
My personal favorite and the kind I run, which I’ll get to in a moment. The weekly version can be like the monthly one, just sent out weekly. Or it can be about creating a dialogue with the readers and talking points of interest, usually to do with writing or books or entertainment.
My weekly newsletter, The Canister X Transmission—presently in its second year—has four main points: writing/publishing/marketing tip of the week; book/comic spotlight from my catalog; creator spotlight focusing on indie and mainstream creators who’ve impacted my career; rant of the week, which is basically a positive or negative thing depending on what’s been heavily on my mind for the past seven days.
I also offer a free thriller e-novelette download if you sign up.
▪ regular connection with readers who actually want to hear from you
▪ exercise in self-discipline to maintain the newsletter schedule, which then trains you to keep deadlines for other projects like, um, your books
▪ an opportunity to market work to readers without spamming, which can lead to sales options outside of the usual channels
▪ a chance to encourage and inspire others
Ultimately, newsletters make the on-line world a smaller place and, frankly, in today’s obscenely overcrowded rat race society, it’s sorely needed. It’s a chance to quiet down, meet with a reader, and open up about what’s going on on your end. And you’d be surprised. Readers respond to newsletters with their thoughts, questions and more.
Beats an overcrowded social media channel any day.