Why Are You Running Away?

Desperation is the world’s worst cologne. ~ Lee in Limbo*

Yes, I’ve taken to quoting myself for this one, because it’s something I’ve been saying for many, many years. It even applies to me. Actually, it especially applies to me. I demonstrate it every day, with how much effort I put into this whole ‘cultivating a readership’ thing I’ve been doing in the last few years. It’s been extremely slow going, with some setbacks and more than a few casualties along the way:

YE OLDE LIST OF GRIEVANCES
I used to do all of my blogging in the late 90s and early 00s on my Geocities site, called Lee in Limbo’s Sunday Afternoon Matinée E-zine. I had a page called Grumblings From Limbo, where I wrote my so-called Op Ed bits, which almost nobody read. I eventually threw in the towel, after I grew tired of hard coding every damned blog page, and signed up for LiveJournal, after receiving an invite from a certain LJ BNF/VIP I haven’t talked civilly to in several years.

I kept up with my LiveJournal account for the better part of seven years before it finally sank in that I wasn’t growing my readership in that walled garden either, so I finally decided I needed to step out and try something else. I looked at the blogging networks that were available a few years ago, and the one that appealed the most was WordPress, so I signed up and got my own domain name, which I had to shut down because poverty sucks.

I spent the last year or so promoting my various projects and such on the WordPress.com network, and I’ve had a few brushes with high hit counts that just kind of broke my brain. I wrote a series of articles about gaming and interactive storytelling, which was pretty popular when I first started, but I got sidetracked and lost my readership. I held an art sale, literally selling finished pieces of my design and cartoon work, some of which are highly attractive hand drawings in pencil and ink. Sadly, that sale ate into a fair bit of my time, and proved not to be as successful as I’d hoped. I may stage another art sale soon. I also started writing rock album reviews, which has garnered me quite a bit of traffic in the last few months. It’s been good fun, but it’s expensive and it eats up a fair bit of my time, so I can’t really afford to make it my main priority. I intend to continue writing my reviews, but I may have to back off a bit. We’ll see.

But the one thing I was trying to achieve in all of this was to draw attention to my creative work. I’ve promoted my writing by posting excerpts and even video taping me reading certain excerpts, but sadly, it’s been difficult to get you guys to clock on My Book Shelf, let alone read about the books or (heaven forfend) go to one of a handful of the biggest Ebook sellers and buy a copy. I keep the price of my Ebooks nice and low, so price shouldn’t be a major impediment. And yet, I can count the number of sales I’ve made since October (when I first started publishing via Smashwords) on one hand. I’ve had dozens of samples, but no reviews and almost no sales. I won’t lie: it’s a bit discouraging.

I also make music, which I’ve been promoting pretty aggressively in recent months, but that too is only receiving sporadic attention at best. My first rock video broke 80 hits in the first week, but it’s now a month later, and the video hasn’t cracked a hundred hits.

DISCLAIMER
Okay, now all of this may seem self-pitying, and I apologize for that. Let me make one thing clear: I AM NOT LOOKING FOR PITY. I’M ALSO NOT POINTING FINGERS. Any lack of career success is entirely my responsibility, not yours. I’m still working on fixing my problems. This integrated website is my latest effort to do just that. It still hasn’t lead to added sales, but it HAS significantly concentrated my readership, and I now have more hits on this website than I had on my previous blogsite just one month ago. I’m not where I need to be yet, but I’m getting there. I figure it’s only a matter of time before people coming in start to get curious about my actual creative work, and start putting down a few pesos to check it out. Any time now…

So there you have it. Not as self-pitying as it might seem, right? So then why write all of this stuff in the first place?

Well, for starters, because it’s what’s on my mind, and I’ve come to realize that I blog to get stuff out of my head, so I can focus on other things, and let other people decide if my thoughts for the day are inspiring or insipid. My skin isn’t as thick as it should be, but I’m getting there. I don’t take this stuff too personally. I just don’t see the point in lying to you, trying to convince you that I’m a player when I’m not. I’ll worry about these state of the union address posts of mine if and when I reach certain of my professional goals.

Secondly, it’s a way for me to keep track of how things have been going. I don’t keep a paper diary any more, and frankly, I find having an online journal to be a very useful way to keep track of my progress and my moods. I’ve tried other methods, but really, a regular journal is still my favourite way to keep track of and communicate my state of mind.

Conventional wisdom and certain smart-ass friends and acquaintances of mine suggest that projecting confidence and professionalism is what people want to read. They may be right. However, I find that, while I enjoy reading people who do just that, I find the stuff I enjoy reading the most is by Creatives who aren’t afraid to be naked, figuratively speaking, now and then. I want signal, yes, but I also want to know that I’m talking to and reading a real person; someone I can identify with. Someone I wouldn’t mind calling friend under other circumstances. Who the fuck wants to talk to a sock puppet all day, anyway?

So yeah, I know what it’s like to be drenched in Eau du Desperation, and I certainly don’t mean to give you that impression of me.

MEET THE LORD OF LIMBO
Since we’re becoming friends here, let me tell you a few things about myself: My name is Lee. I write fiction, design art, and write and record songs. I also cartoon and plot comics, and I’ve dabbled in game design for years. The body of my published work isn’t that impressive yet, but I’m working to change that. My design company, CLEARvision Studios, has kind of gone into hibernation for the time being, but that’s all right: I’m busy with other, more personally satisfying work right now. I’m also thinking about getting back into painting, bringing my design experience to the task of designing and executing a series of paintings that I might turn into a tarot deck somewhere down the road. And of course, I have plans to design and paint a series of graphic novels, so the time spent in design hasn’t been a waste; it’ll pay for itself in the end.

There’s more. Plenty more. I’m married to the Smartest Woman In The World, who hails from New York City, probably my favourite city in the world, and we have two ferocious, precocious house cats who think they are jungle cats. We don’t have the heart to tell them otherwise. My family lives in town, and I maintain pretty close ties to all of them.

I have two musical bands, made up of pretty much the same people these days, though it wasn’t really supposed to be that way. I guess you’d say it’s one band with two sides: the side that plays the jammed and group-composed songs, and the side that plays the songs Gary and I have written that the old band wasn’t able to play, back in the day. Things have changed somewhat, but I’ve tried to maintain that line between the two, if for no other reason than so that I have Thesis as an outlet for all of my stuff that used to get passed on by Etcetera.

There’s probably lots I’m leaving out, but hey, I can’t keep you here all day. I thank you for reading, and I encourage you to stop and say Hi if you liked what you read today.

Time to make the donuts.

Lee.

* I said I’ve been saying it for years, but most people who come from my generation will remember a little film called Singles, which is probably where I got the quote from, even though I don’t remember watching the whole film.

Don't be shy. Tell me what you really think, now.

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