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I haven’t posted to the blog in a long time. My life was in serious upheaval, and I had to step away. I want to come back, but there are issues that I’m not sure how to deal with.
The Google Problem
I can’t remember if I ever posted about it here, but Google took a huge dump on this blog, and the blogs of tens of thousands of other people in what they call the “Your Money Your Life” category. Due to some people being unscrupulous, all of us suffered. Any blog about spirituality or alternative living got a big kick in the teeth. Thousands of people, even ones who had brick-and-mortar businesses, degrees, and careers that spanned up to 30 years, were shot down. Many blogs just shut down. Some people lost their phtsical businesses as a result. Some survived, but most of the ones who did, managed it by bowing to Google’s rules and writing the way the search giant demanded.
I tried doing what they wanted, but I can’t bear it. Dumbing down my work that much is just painful. According to readability scans, people would need a college degree to understand my site, and apparently that’s bad. I don’t have bullet points and skimmable content using words a five-year-old could understand, so I get penalized. I’m actually boggled by the readability results, because in my opinion, I write in a rather simple and approachable manner. Granted, I have an IQ over 140, but still, I’ve never felt that I was talking over people’s heads. And so what if I am? How is it a bad thing that I write for an intelligent audience? Why must we all cater our content to the TL;DR crowd with low IQs?
I think I should be able to write for the audience that I want to attract, but Google doesn’t agree. It has a lot to do with the fact that they’re planning to transform from a search engine into a question engine, (Remember Ask Jeeves? Like that.) so they want everyone’s content to suit that format. Gone will be the days of real articles. If your post doesn’t answer questions in a bullet-point format, kiss your blog goodbye.
Obviously, this leaves me in a pickle. I want to write, but I refuse to do it their way. I will not turn my posts into Q&A format, and I will not dumb down. I write for smart people who are capable of actually reading. Sadly, I’m down to 1500 views a week, and Google isn’t going to rank me any better if I don’t conform to their demands. I’d need people to share links to the blog in order to have any hope. I need to express myself, I’m tired of being stifled by a mega-corp’s demands. If I write for the blog, it’s going to be in my format, on the subjects I want, and I’m probably even going to do the unthinkable: write in a true blog format, meaning I’m going to talk about myself and from my personal perspective sometimes instead of catering to the “it has to be about the reader” format. Other people besides you exist, and hearing things from their point of view instead of having it framed to be about you can be a good thing. People used to love real blogs. It was Google who ruined that, like so much else on the internet.
Of course, everyone needs to make money. I have no idea how to monetize this blog and make it worth working on. I hate ads, just like everyone else, so I don’t want to flood the site with crap no one likes. I have no problem slipping in links to Amazon products (as text only) and pointing people toward my own products. I just don’t know if the blog can be anything more than a space to vent, since Google won’t send viewers to my site. Writing for free may feel good for a while, but it doesn’t put food on the table. What’s funny (in a very sad sort of way) is that Google has down-rated my site to a point where they probably wouldn’t even let me have their ads on the site.
I have thought of writing solely for my Patreon supporters, but since I only have one, that wouldn’t really be worth it. I do know that if I write for this blog, I’m going to have Patreon linked all over it. If I’m giving you folks an ad-free experience, the least you could do is throw me a few bucks now and again.
Speaking of Patreon, I’m giving away free wallpapers and poetry to all supporters, so you get something for your money. Plus you make it possible for me to keep doing what I do.
My books are in a holding pattern right now. The trauma of the last year has made it hard to think, so I haven’t been really inspired. I do have a few titles in the works though. Unfortunately, I’m having some serious issues with Lulu, namely that they’re not responding to help requests. I was about to put out Volume 11 of the Dark Side of My Mind series, but when I went to their site, they’d done a massive overhaul. The site is a disaster now, and nothing is where it used to be. What’s more is that they’ve removed the tools authors used to have access to, including the cover editor. What that means is that I can’t make Volume 11 look like volumes 1-10. This is, understandably, pretty upsetting. I tried using the horrible tool they have now, but half of it doesn’t work and it still wouldn’t be possible for me to make a matching cover. I don’t know what to do, because I really don’t want to have one volume in the series look completely different. I know not many people buy print anymore, but some do, and I’d like them to have a cohesive set.
Not getting responses from Lulu makes me question the wisdom of using them anymore. It doesn’t help that they’re paying me 9% or less on sales, which is pathetic. Negative reviews about Lulu have been piling up over the last year or two, so that concerns me even more. Unfortunately, there really aren’t any alternatives that do all that they do. I don’t know of anyone else who does print (if you want to avoid selling your soul to Amazon), and I like having print as an option. I could try Smashwords for digital, although they apparently have a crazy set of standards and basically no help. I did find that they respond to email requests in under 24 hrs. though, so that’s a point in their favor.
At any rate, I’m not sure what to do with my work. I can probably find the time and inspiration to write, but I’m not sure where to sell it or how. Again, it did cross my mind to use Patreon. I wonder if there are any authors out there who post their books straight to Patreon, no ebooks, no print, just right to the customer. The hard part to that would be getting people to know that I exist and getting them to become patrons.
I’m struggling a lot to stay afloat. Technically, I’m failing. I’m poor and sick and life is rough. And yes, I know you’re supposed to lie online and pretend to be successful and happy in order to make people like you, but to hell with that. I’m honest. I’m not going to fake it and get caught for it later. Life is rough, that’s just a fact.
Anyway, I’m spreading myself out all over the place trying to make money. I have my Zazzle shop, although they keep hiding my products and it’s a struggle to stay seen. I’ve been putting time into my RedBubble shop, but I think I have all of my existing work up there now. I don’t know if I have the inspiration to create new art, but I would like to. I had to shut down the shop here on the blog because Google says you’re not allowed to have a web store and a blog in the same space, even though a few years ago they said that every web store needed a blog. They started penalizing me left and right, and I had to shut it down. I can’t afford to list at Etsy, so I don’t think I have any choice but to put my products at ebay and hope I can make sales. I’ll let everyone know when I get things listed. Hopefully folks will buy things and that will get some income in and relieve some of my stress.
Well, as you can tell, things are a mess, and a lot of it is beyond my control. Because I’m crazy and apparently a glutton for punishment, I’m going to keep trying. I really need some support though. I need people to buy my books, shop at my shops, read the blog, and share everything with everyone so people know who I am. Seriously, all of this is for nothing if no one knows I exist, so tell people. Find things I’ve done that you like and spread the word. It would make a big difference. Of course becoming a Patron would be awesome too. You should definitely consider doing that. *smiles*