Evan v. The Universe, Part 374
You may be familiar with the well-noted phenomenon where someone states an intention and the Universe responds immediately and vigorously. Like how I decided to take some aggressive, success-oriented action starting on Monday, and I promptly had one of the worst sleepless nights ever followed by a full-day, slamming headache that caffeine and ibuprofen barely dented. “You want Abundance?” The Universe says. “Here’s an ABUNDANCE OF PAIN!! BWHA-HAHAHAHA!” *
I knew if I stayed home, I probably wouldn’t make any progress on my goals, so I went to work (where I at least get paid for not making progress). At the end of the day I was able to respond to a few Reader Comments, but had neither the brains nor energy to do much of anything that didn’t involve lying down and watching video images.
So I’m not feeling very Spiritual right now. In fact, I’m rather annoyed. This isn’t the first time that I’ve set my mind to Making Big Changes, and some obstacle immediately pops up to impede progress. Isn’t there supposed to be an “Ask and You Will Be Given” deal? Somehow I seem to be on the “Ask and You Will Be Punished” Plan. I can’t say I like it.
Lately, I’ve been repeatedly coming back to the question “What should I be doing differently?” One reason is because I started reading the blog of Mary Robinette Kowal, who, in addition to being an Internationally-Known Puppeteer and art director of Shimmer Magazine, seems to have a story published about every three weeks. And was recently featured in Apex Online. And hangs out with Famous Writers. I am simultaneously thrilled for her success as well as envious and discouraged. I mean, the multi-faceted Ask Dr. Eldritch Empire has been in existence for years, and I’ve garnered about a hundred newsletter subscribers and a few hundred regular webcomic readers. While I am delighted to have each and every one of these fans, this is not the exponential explosion of readership I’ve been visualizing all this time. I want more.
I’ve tried adding a variety of features. I started with just the weekly advice column, and added in an email version with the Tip Of The Week, then the Horoscopes, then the Webcomic, and Gift Shop and Contests and Online Chats and Subscription Fiction. Each of these seems to have some response, but none have triggered the desired rate of growth.** I’ve asked “What more can I do?”, but I’m running out of available time. I’m not even keeping up with these commitments, and losing a day puts me farther behind on the standard activities, not to mention the additional efforts. And then there’s all the other projects I’m not getting to; like novel-writing and making my apartment look like the home of a Mentally-Stable Person. I can’t add in more without giving up other things, like sleeping, and as recently demonstrated, that doesn’t help anything.
So, something needs to change. What should I do differently? The personal-success books have dire warnings about quitting a project right before it becomes successful. Of course, if I KNEW something was about to become wildly successful, I wouldn’t close it down. It’s like mining along a tiny vein of ore; Will it expand into a huge motherlode, or always remain small? The amount of effort to dig through the mountain remains about the same, but return on investment is tremendously different. I don’t intend to quit trying, but do I need to mine a different path? How do you know when it’s time?
It’s not all bleak; I modified my advertising strategy on Project Wonderful. I targeted venues likely to have readers who would enjoy my work (Scary-Go-Round, Comics Curmudgeon and Zombie Hunters), changed the ads’ hover text to indicate what was to be found if one clicked through, and pointed to the first comic, not the last. I figured that starting with the latest comic was confusing and frightening, but directing new readers to the beginning would increase the chances of them reading more. Apparently some of that worked, as the site had 1,715 unique visitors on Monday, which is great, but they pulled 9,945 pageloads, which is a new record!*** So that kept the day from being a total waste.
*Apparently the Universe speaks in the manner of a Professional Wrestler.
**The webcomic has increased readership the most, but I can’t tell how much overlap there is with the Advice Column/Newsletter.
***A record which was promptly broken on Tuesday, when I had over 10,000 pageloads.