This blog increasingly documents my experiments in creative living and curiosity about living a longer, more active life. If that's the kind of thing you're interested in, I'd be delighted if you'd join us. Mayo - my better half - and I live on an island in the St. Lawrence River 1000 Islands chain and are currently experimenting with warmer winter locations - mostly Savannah, GA. So, yeah, my accent is half-Canadian, half upper New York and another half undetermined Southern drawl. You
I had just finished writing an extensive report about my writing activities over the last two months when I ran into a bit of a wall.
The report on garden writing alone stretched into a thousand words as I examined whether readers preferred e-book formats or PDF for downloads. Hint: gardening readers prefer PDFs, fiction readers prefer ebook formats.
I wrote about a reader’s successful attempts to hack the membership site and obtain a succession of free 30 day memberships that were normally only available to those on the e-book reader list. Note: can’t happen any more. Second note: that person had her email address erased from any part of my system I could find.
I described the comments section on the gardening websites and one reader’s outrage when I did not approve her trolling post. I have to approve all comments before they’re published.
I complained that I was too busy and occupied with personal health issues to finish the editing and formatting of at least two gardening e-books. I had laser eye surgery to repair some torn retinas in both eyes.
I wrote a far-too-long section about how I intended to cut back even more on the time I spent garden writing for the general public – focussing on the Premium members.
I described why I had stopped writing about Alzheimer’s disease and longevity mainly due to two factors: the incredible speed and diversity of information being published and how any e-book would be out of date even before I could collect and publish the information. The second reason was because I was getting tired of sorting out the various claims, research and hard data about all the physiological results. I was deep into the weeds and my long – ago university courses simply weren’t up to the task of more modern physiological data. Besides, I’d found the one common thing between both of them and it’s a simple thing. Serious exercise will a) help you live longer and b) shove Alzheimer’s back.
I’ll likely write a personal note about my own program and measuring techniques at some future point
I also noted again how a health scare really makes you focus on your priorities very quickly.
I wrote about how I had just passed the 300 subscriber mark for my D Frank Green.com website, and how good I felt about that. I described the challenges of writing a series of short stories to incorporate both the technology and political facts of the day.
I waxed enthusiastically about having finished the first draft of the first e-book on my other fiction website. I also told you how excited I was about writing fiction and how I decided to post a chapter a week on the website as a serial. Naturally, I spent far too many words describing the extent of this project and how much research I was doing around it.
All in all, it was a diatribe of massive proportions and I’ll spare you those several thousand words with that quick summary.
Seriously. I am thrilled (and a little nervous) to share this new writing adventure with you.
You see, stories about the light and those of the dark have clear places in our story telling world. I’ve been experimenting with both over the past while and something happened that surprised me. The two-sided nature of my world exploded.
- I fell back in love with writing about the mythology and magic of topics I’d grown up reading. I fell back in love with the Celtic world.
- Yet, I am still tremendously intrigued by our current world of technology and what’s coming down the future pipe aimed directly at us.
In many ways, the difference between these two areas is the essence of the light and dark.
From my writer’s point of view, both topics could intertwine but from a publishing framework, they are night and day. Rather than force fit both topics into one fiction author name and website…
This is my simple announcement about the creation of a brand new website and author pseudonym Christina Duncan Stewart.
If you like the story concept of modern myth and magic in the modern tech world, sign up for updates (I’ll be publishing the first book as I write it to readers there for comments.
There’s a well-known post from Kevin Kelly about how every creative needs 1000 true fans I think it’s required reading for any creative person.
The quick and dirty explanation is that a “true fan” will purchase anything you produce.
In My Gardening World
When I total the members of the Premium website and ebook sales, I’m able to roughly calculate how many “true fans” I have after 30 years as a full-time garden writer.
And that number my friends is not 1000. (As an aside, this isn’t a call for support, after all, I do have supporters. Instead, this is a simple recognition of the existing facts.)
“1,000 true fans is an alternative path to success other than stardom. Instead of trying to reach the narrow and unlikely peaks of platinum bestseller hits, blockbusters, and celebrity status, you can aim for direct connection with a thousand true fans. On your way, no matter how many fans you actually gain, you’ll be surrounded not by faddish infatuation, but by genuine and true appreciation. It’s a much saner destiny to hope for. And you are much more likely to actually arrive there.”
That’s been an interesting pill to swallow but if you doubt why I’ve moved away from the gardening world to other writing worlds, the reasons should be clear after you read Kelly’s seminal article in the link above.
For the record, I’m not depressed by this analysis. Rather, I’m disappointed with myself that I’m not able to produce material that is good enough that more readers want to fully support the work I do. But…
But I also understand – more than you might think from this note – how most people see online gardening.
Most see no reason to pay for anything garden-related they find online. If I had a buck for every reader who told me they never buy gardening books or anything else because if it’s online, it should be free, I’d be able to retire tomorrow.
It’s why 1000’s of people will download a free ebook last weekend but only a handful will spend $2.99 – less than a cup of coffee – on an ebook.
I Won’t Likely Get Them
Kelly’s concept is just a measurement albeit a useful one. And (quite frankly) understanding if I don’t have those 1000 true fans by now, after almost 30 years of garden writing, I won’t likely have them.
But The Good News Is…
Understanding the real number of true fans frees up my creative spirit to explore other horizons without guilt.
What a blessing that is!
My Last Thought (For Now)
I will continue to do my best to help those who do trust me for good gardening information because I enjoy doing this. But those other horizons beckon stronger now.
I’d be really interested in your thoughts about this. Tell me in the comments section below.