State of the Fourth Estate

Think back to the dim reaches of pre-history, also known as the end of March. That was when I started this blog. At that time, I made two statements that I now need to revisit. I said that the blog would include fiction as well as several varieties of non-fiction. I also said it would be updated with a substantive post every weekday.

A couple of people have noticed that there hasn’t been any fiction showing up. A quick check of the scorecard (see the menu item up at the top of the page?) will show that I’ve got three works being circulated to publishers. Publishers as a rule want new works, things nobody has seen before. Anything that has been distributed on the Web is, by logic and modern publishing definition, not a new work. If I want a publisher to even consider my writing, I can’t post it here. And I do want publishers to consider my writing. Aside from the mundane aspects (such as getting paid), if something is professionally published I have clear and obvious feedback that somebody approves of what I’m writing.* The fact that it will be seen by an audience outside of (and presumably larger than) this blog is an attraction too.

* The converse is also true: a rejection means that I haven’t reached that magic level where anything I write is worth its weight in gold…

Sure, there are exceptions. I know of two books that were originally published on the Internet and were later picked up by publishers. Two. Out of the literally millions of stories floating around out there. There are probably more, but no matter how you look at it, the odds suck. That being the case, fiction will continue to be a no-show here for the time being.

As for “every weekday blogging”, I had several reasons for that. The most important were to establish the habit of writing a significant number of words every day, to try my hand at writing on a variety of subjects, to find my own voice, and to build up a portfolio of work that I could use in looking for paying gigs. It’s been very successful. I’ve made at least one substantive post every weekday for six months. That’s a pretty good portfolio: well over 150 articles on a wide range of topics and a good range of lengths. I think I’ve found a voice that serves me well — just the right amount of snark, as somebody put it. And the writing habit is well-established: I don’t feel quite right unless I’ve put down at least 1,000 words about something.

On the downside, however, I’ve heard from several people that as a reader it’s hard to keep up with a daily posting schedule. Then too, since the State of California has persistently refused to make me a lottery winner, I do need to come up with a source of income. Whatever else it might be, this blog is not a cash cow. Or a cash anything else, for that matter. My total blog-related balance sheet for these six months stands at negative eighteen dollars.

With all that in mind, I’m going to cut back on the blogging. I will make at least two posts a week (Tuesday and Thursday), and they will be as substantial as what I’ve been posting. I might post more: I expect to throw in random small items that just don’t have what it takes to be a full-blown post, and I’ll also do the occasional more substantial post that can’t wait for Tuesday/Thursday. Both of those will be the exception to the rule, though, so you all will have the chance to catch your collective breath. (Update: On reading this paragraph, my loyal editor/voice of sanity asked plaintively “We can haz cat pikshurs?” Yes, Maggie, there is a Santa Claus will still be cat photo posts on Fridays, as long as the gang continues to do cute things in front of the lens.)

The time I gain from not blogging will be split between the infamous “novel in progress” (which should move along much faster when I can give it some larger blocks of time) and some remunerative enterprises. I’m still open to freelancing — give me a shout if you need something written — but while I wait for those jobs to roll in, I will be pursuing some non-fiction paying gigs. Without saying too much, let’s just say that the familiar “Casey snark” will be popping up here and there around the Web outside of this blog. And with just a smidgeon of luck, it’ll be showing up outside of the electronic world as well.

Keep your fingers crossed and your eyes peeled.

One thought on “State of the Fourth Estate

  1. Pingback: State of the Fourth Estate: One Year On | Koi Scribblings

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