Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Three Years of Gear in the Rear

The time has come once more where I make bad titles out of one of the StarCraft Terran SCV's selection lines. It just works, and StarCraft's global presence is testament to that some things just stand the test of time and continue to work throughout the years. Somehow, I'm one of them.

Yes, it's that time again when I celebrate the day I officially set up and began publishing to the world. It's always a time when I'm reminiscent and thoughtful on the past to the point of being beside myself with more angst than any romance heroine could ever hope to be full of. It's just that time of the mon-year. Year. The turn of the year is often used to reflect on the past and move forward, so that comes doubly and weighs twice for me.

With that in mind, I've been thinking a lot over what to say this year. 2015 was not my best by a long shot, for a number of reasons, it's been a rough stint of ups and downs where the downs make it harder to get back up. This has probably been evident in how quiet I've been, there have been months of no new update and the like. Recently I've been busy with some private commission work that doesn't lend to a publication post, so it hasn't all been bad. Things have been picking up for some months in their own way, but before that, sure, it was rocky.

It's not something I've been happy with, but in the same hand it's not something I'm going to dwell on or let take up much more space than it effectively already has. Done is done, but I'm not out. I'm here. So rather than dwell and harp on that in a blog post for celebrating a milestone of time, I'm going to look more into and celebrate what has kept me going.

With that said, I could barely think of much to say at first and now it's gotten to the sort of length that I'm best off putting the rest behind a pagebreak. So to skip to the closing footnote, I've had a lot to be thankful for over this past year, and a lot to take with me moving forward. I'm going to do what I can and what I know to keep it moving, finish what I've started and start something I don't think anyone would expect.

It'll be an interesting year, and if you're with me for even a few days, thank you for joining me on this journey. Here's to another three years of doubt and passion that wouldn't be traded for anything.

Celebrating what has kept me going

You, reading this. You who've taken an interest in what I do and maybe even bought into my works and world. You who have proven what I do can be a reality. The only way I have to thank you is to persevere and continue on, to pick myself up where no one else can and strive to do more.

I don't work well with estimates, but for every one of you, whether new, old, come or gone, the one thing I can hold to heart is that everything I've begun will be finished. It might not be the fastest, it might be too late for any number of people, but that's just how it is.

If I mope under some ephemeral lost cause, it won't amount to anything for anyone, and at the end of the day, it could be worse. Half-Life was a pretty cult classic a lot of people and their PCs grew up with, that stopped dead in the middle of its "episodic" story far more years ago than anything I've started writing in favour of greener pastures with no intent of returning to finish it.

There are worse cases of hiatus too. Sometimes things just happen and time will pass remorselessly whether you have the opportunity to get back on top of it or not. Chances are I'm the only one that really cares about this in the first place, but it's one of the few things I can make a firm guarantee on, however hard it is to work through and long it takes.

Not Smashwords.
Okay okay, Smashwords is fine, if a bit awkward, but one thing I recall was a blog post from around the end of 2014 that said more authors than ever would quit this year (2015) and just thought wow, that sure is some uplifting and supportive speculation for a publishing front to have. Thanks.

I wasn't one of them so that speculation gets the finger before being used to lead into a more serious note. I get what they were going for - this isn't the simplest of lives to lead. It's why discussing it as a career at all gets weird for some, it's not a "job" in the way that it's not run by someone in a higher position than you as a footnote subsidiary of some greater faceless corporation that would live on regardless of you. It's not a stock standard 'job' adjudicated by corporate laws from on high, so it's not 'real'.

There's no security in automation - you the author are the first and last, the sole proprietor and sole responsible. It's a lot of responsibility that many wouldn't want to think about. There's no communal workforce either, meaning it can get lonesome when it feels like there's no one to avidly and openly share your time with the way you might otherwise.

Combined with other fluctuations, it can all break down the best of people, so maybe "more than ever" did quit, but you the author persevere because you understand what the joy of this creation brings to countless people. I continue because that's what I'd always wanted to do in some way - to touch and enrich others lives, make them smile and love. I'd much rather speculate and put light on how much light any one person will create for their world than how much potential will die.

I may not be perfect, but this is what I have, so this is what I do.

Not Amazon either.
That's probably not fair again given Amazon accounts for the majority of sales that make this possible but hey, everyone loves to hate Amazon. In 2015 I started Umbral Coil Chronicles, a series I'd wanted to run through Kindle Unlimited as a sort of "subscription content" thing, a serial series that updates once a month alongside everything else.

Well, not long into that, Amazon upturned and burned that whole system for all it's worth, completely crashing the concept. Now again, I get it, every such alternative running a book subscription service that thought they can just copycat Spotify and Netflix for easy money has since gone up in flames over the shocking realization that book quantity and consumption is not a 1:1 model to other services and it doesn't work that way.

Amazon handled it the most elegantly - in a very passive-aggressive "Oh, no, you can publish something less than a 300k novel on Kindle Unlimited, but it's not like it'll get the same rate. What? The rate is non-existent and you want to leave the service? Well if you say so." way. It was clever since there's no dirt on their hands over acknowledging authors of "that kind of thing" exist or are leaving the service, but it was sure geared towards discouraging shorter romance and erotic works that get consumed more than they want to handle.

In the wake of that subscription service concept going to all hell, I've been thinking over alternatives for some time and I'm retractant to really talk big about my plans right now - I still have a number of titles to publish before I get into it proper - but I have something in mind.

Something pretty big, but not yet.

Touch Fluffy Tail.

Two negatives make it time for a positive. That's how it works, right? Probably not, but I wanted to end on this note. Touch Fluffy Tail is a place... it's a place. They like to touch fluffy tails and things get pretty weird, I don't know. It's difficult to explain.

Okay, seriously though it's largely a host for creative works, both literary and art, themed around the core shared love of monster girls - your average paranormal humanoid thing, largely garnered from mythology, history and religion. If you've read this far and are familiar with a good portion of what I do then you probably know what I mean. Succubi and lamiae are pretty standard examples.

So the short of it is this place's admin, who pays for the hosting and maintains everything in his own time with no expectation of recompense, kept in touch with me over the previous year when things weren't at their best. That might not sound like much but really, it's the little things and one person that can make a lot of difference to you, sometimes. While it started off rather business-like to try and work out, take care of and revive some things from days gone by, come end of August on my birthday, I got The Witcher 3 as a gift from them, just because why not, no expectations.

That still might not sound like much of a big deal or entirely relevant but the point of no expectations is relevant to this story, since it let me think that maybe this is someone I can just legitimately call a friend without some ulterior motive, that maybe things aren't so bad. Someone and somewhere I can just relax. Come end of October I took part in a writing event on their site and effectively 'returned' to a circle of that niche I've enjoyed interacting with for its sincerity and purity in passion.

It somewhat revived my own passion and capability, so I'll always remember that point at the end of October when I got the entry done in the last hours before crashing and editing it properly the next day. It was something I needed, cherished, and saw a new series that the admin even had a portrait sketch commissioned for everyone that participated begin.

It's somewhere I can write and interact with genuine, like-minded people, free of the business talk, politics - social or otherwise - noise and simple differences that seem to fill a lot of 'writer communities' or social media feeds otherwise. Somewhere a little different while a little the same, something I need every so often.

I've never really put that feeling and thanks into words, but this is the sort of post I put the bleeding heart on the sleeve and leave it, so there we go.

In Closing...
I've put this up above the index pagebreak since I seem to have had a lot more to say than I expected, so this is a quick reiteration. Suffice to say, I've had a lot to be thankful for over this past year, and a lot to take with me moving forward. I'm going to do what I can and what I know to take it forward, finish what I've started and start something I don't think anyone would expect.

It'll be an interesting year, and if you're with me for even a few days, thank you for joining me on this journey.  Here's to another three years of doubt and passion that wouldn't be traded for anything.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on everything, and here's to at least 3 more years of success!