It's been a while since I've posted, I have to stop doing that. But, most of the time it is because I'm working on some project or dealing with life's little trials that make it hard to sit down and talk about them (or they are ones I choose not to share online).

Trials have an interesting affect on me. I break out of my routine to deal with it and, when I go back, I realize that things I've done religiously are no longer things I want to do. A good example is that I used to play Kingdom of Loathing. I love that game and played it every morning as part of my ritual. But, then I was flooded out of my apartment and spent three months without a laptop. When I came back, the joy had disappearing. I realized I was no longer playing the game but enjoying the puzzle of automating playing the game. So I dropped it.

The latest trial popped out a few things that don't really work.

Penflip and Wattpad

I love the idea of Penflip and Wattpad. I've gotten a number of fans from posting frequently back before I wanted to be serious about writing.

The problem is simple: pride. I want to produce the best piece of writing I can, but I simply don't have the skills to self-edit. Which means I need beta readers and editors before I feel I'm not throwing out garbage. At the moment, I don't have an army of fans who work for free, which means if I post my works-in-progress (WIP) on those sites, I'm posting "not my best quality."

This is a purely mental issue, I'm sure, but I don't want to be an author who puts out things with a "few mistakes." I try to hold myself to a higher standard of not having mistakes or having very few (I still remember the single typo I found in my copy of Deeds of Paksenarrion in 1,024 pages).

Before I had Sand and Blood re-edited, my dad read a copy. When he said "there weren't that many typos," it actually bothered me a lot. And it was the other reason, besides the Immerse or Die review, that I decided to have it re-edited.

The only way I could see posting on either of these sites is to complete them, have them edited, and then post online as a weekly or monthly serial until it completes. I'm considering doing it with Sand and Blood if I ever make it Creative Commons licensed.

Until then, I'll probably removing the pieces I have up already. I don't really have anyone reading them, so I don't mind. I'll keep the Journals of Fedran issue #0 up until I get it edited, but issue #1 (which will be based on in-world religion) will remain offline until I can afford to get it edited.

Mailing Lists, Disqus, and Discourse

Another thing that is changing is my site comments. Previously, I used Disqus for the page comments. It is a useful service for smaller sites (which I'm very much one of them), but they also have some limitations such as being non-commerical for the free services, a constant push to buy their product, and linking all the sites together. Since they are free, I'm actually okay with that but that doesn't mean I have to stay with them.

What pushed me over was getting DreamCompute from DreamHost, where I host my sites. It was mainly to have a GitLab instance but I had a second instance and I figured I'd go with the free alternative I've seen on a number of sites I liked, Discourse. It took me a little while to get it installed (had to learn Docker and a bit of Ruby) but I'm pretty happy with the result.

If you are on my site, you can see it on the bottom of a number of pages. When you comment, it shows up at discuss.moonfire.us but you can add new topics over on the discussion site.

Having Discourse installed also meant that I could unify my mailing lists from Google Groups over to Discourse. That way, anyone interesting in commenting or reading or just talking about my world can post over there. And it handles email replies, which means it can also function as a full-blown mailing list for those who don't care for web forums.

I'll be shutting down (i.e., deleting) the Google Groups probably by the end of the month or so. Or at least marking them as "read only." If I have contests, they'll be posted over there (along with a blog post).

The one drawback of Discourse is that it creates a topic as someone visits one of my pages. The steady stream of new posts has dwindled lately, but there is probably another 300-400 empty posts going to show up in the next few months. I never realized how much I wrote until I saw them popped up. It was also disheartening to see all my failed projects too.

My Time Has Value

The last one is a mental framework and less changes. I have a small publishing company called Broken Typewriter Press (BTP). It is what I use for doing ebook formatting, print typesetting, and all the little writing-related services that I offer (including commissioned writing, actually). I only have to pieces there, but my goal is to have a 1:10 ratio of my stuff to other author's.

I have three books in the pipeline which will bring me to a 1:2 ratio (if you including my short story, Casting Call).

I'm treating it as a proper publishing company, which means I that if I'm publishing it, I don't charge the author and I recoup my costs via sales. Previously, I never included my time in making covers, typesetting, or formatting books I'm publishing. In effect, treating my personal time as having no value.

I didn't have a problem when it was a one-off, those have invoices and I treat them as such.

I can't really treat my time as zero anymore, it isn't fair to me or my family.

This weekend, I went through and created some accounting sheets (avoiding doing the "proper" GnuCash until this becomes more of a business) to handle the profit/loss reports for individual authors. This time, I'm putting in items that I work on (in six minute intervals) so I can tell when I'm truly in the black verses when I've simply paid for the printing costs.

2015-06-22