To paraphrase a personal icon of mine: ‘To Business!’
Katsucon was, summarily, amazing. The panels were huge hits, and then some. I was really delighted by how the panels filled up and how engaging they were. In years past, it’s been hard to guess how a specific panel might be received but every event this weekend was pretty much standing-room only. It was a delight and thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who came out.
As for the books, well, Friday afternoon, we sold out of RocKaiju. Not even Friday night, Friday afternoon. That might be the first time I’ve ever had a line at my table. Sheesh. I came to Katsu with fewer copies than I probably should have, but I simply didn’t anticipate that rush, that demand. Thank you to those who picked up copies, and to those who checked out Proton, Samifel, Rhest for the Wicked, and the other books.
Speaking of Rhest for the Wicked, as you probably know, the Kickstarter didn’t succeed. I am disappointed but I wouldn’t quite say that I’m surprised. It was a long shot. I wish we had pulled it off, but it was a lot of work. I’ve still got the script and I still have the contacts. I may still tell that story in another format, or try to make it happen through a more traditional approach. Time will tell.
Katsucon is my last convention of 2019. To be honest, I had actually backed out of Katsu but circumstances coalesced to allow me to make it. Since some of my staple conventions are on hiatus or moving to different times (or I had shifted my schedule on the hopes the short film would be in development), I’m using this as a chance to refocus. Some of you have noticed a change in my presence online, on social media, etc. Promoting the Kickstarter was a lot of work, and now I have habits and digital infrastructure that I can use. The question will be how.
One issue that has been coming up recently for me is the value of what I create. I don’t mean in terms of writing and stories, but in social media presence. The last several years, it has really come to light that in this age of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr (along with so many others), that patrons of this sites aren’t just consumers but also manufacturers. When you use a site like Twitter, you are creating value for the site. You reading the Twitter feed generates revenue for the site. Tweeting creates content for them to promote and sell by way of ad revenue…or other methods. It’s starting to come to light that this wasn’t merely ‘we’ll put your ad in front of eyeballs’, but something a lot more nefarious. Add to this the growing awareness of how these sites are constructing their algorithm and even their basic design to exploit human psychology and it’s not unlike free-to-play video games trying to get players literally addicted.
There are varying degrees to all of this, and the discussion of willful activity is also present. But at the end of the day, I find myself growing increasingly wary of creating content for social media sites. Blog posts, entertaining tweets, pictures of cool stuff, this is all generating value and revenue. In and of itself, I don’t mind that but I wonder what it is being sold for, and what I am selling for the mere privilege of selling it. There are a lot of complicated questions there, questions that need answering.
I plan to spend a little while finding some of those answers.
I don’t know that it will make much difference in the long run; difference in my life, and certainly minimal difference in the world at-large. But I do subscribe to the notion that we all have an obligation to be responsible residents of this world (this world, meaning in all the appropriate contexts). Responsible means being informed and deliberate. And I don’t want to create content for sites that I suspect may be doing more harm than good.
We’ll see. Like I said, it will be a quiet year for me, at least convention-wise. And I don’t know what 2020 will hold. I’m taking things one step at a time. I’m also trying to worry about being an author quite so much and, instead, focus on my writing. I want my stories to excel and spread, so my plan is to focus on that.
There will still be updates, posts, and whatnot. Just don’t be surprised if things change a little. The only thing that won’t be changing is the writing. It’ll remain half-decent like always. 😊
It may be February, but it feels like a new year. Hopefully, things will continue to improve.