in which i think about my ~brand~
May 7, 2016
Talking about myself as I’m about to really goes against the grain for me. But… I think its at least worth exploring a little. I’ve been somewhat thinking about my ~brand~ and some of the reasons why, after blogging for five years and making a substantive impact, I’m not ‘internet famous’.
I’m thinking about this mainly because I am supplementing my income with my writing and I still haven’t quite figured out the best way to do this (beyond the patreon and writing books). As such, I guess I’m supposed to be concerned about the size of my audience, which as far a social media goes is pretty small. I’ve mentioned this in the past, that people tend to think I’m a lot more internet famous than I really am. Still under 1500 followers on twitter and fewer than 1100 on tumblr. No idea about my facebook page bc I never do anything with it.
Of course, this ‘game’ isn’t quite about how many followers you have but also about your reach and overall influence. I think I’m very solid on the latter points. Having many of my ideas circle back to me lets me know that I do indeed have reach and influence. I think I’d care a little less about follower counts if it weren’t also very clear that some ppl are purposefully erasing me from geneologies of ideas and discourses.
Now, being ‘unpopular’ doesn’t necessarily make me more vulnerable to things like plagiarism or simply lack of proper crediting. I know people with tens of thousands of followers who experience the same (often more frequently precisely because of their visibility). Add onto the multiplying factor of harassment and abuse that goes along with being internet ~famous~ and high follow counts begin to seem a lot less appealing.
Certainly, I’ve said on more than one occassion that I don’t actually care about being internet famous. And I don’t. However, I also care about eating and being able to pay my bills. Which means that growing my audience does have some relation to also growing the money I can earn from my writing.
It’s funny. I’ve mentioned that I don’t have any real interest in doing public speaking or the like bc I hate travelling but… I’d do it because speaker fees can be reasonably lucrative if you can get them. For a long time I haven’t been the easiest person to get in touch with but it hasn’t been impossible. And while, yes, I’ve turned down the few invitations I’ve had, my poverty is making me feel more receptive.
But I don’t really get that many invitations to begin with. And I do think that part of this is related to my relative obscurity on the internet. I see my ideas everywhere and yet… few know who I am. Part of this is my obscurity, yes, but as noted above this erasure of my place in teh ~discourse~ is purposeful because there are influential people who don’t like me.
I guess I’m a little surprised that few people have actually reached out to the writer of decolonizing trans/gender 101 to have me speak or whatever. My book has been used in university classes. Its certainly my most successful and brings in the bulk of my royalties. Yet I’ve only had one invitation to speak about trans/gender stuff (that I had to turn down bc my mental health was Not Good at the time).
Wait. Ok. I’ve had a lot of benedryl this morning and my ability to focus isn’t all that great. This post was supposed to be about something else.
I’d actually wanted to talk about my ~brand~…. In the sense of that I think one of the reasons why my overall count stays low and people don’t invite me places is bc… well, my writing is too inconsistent. Not necessarily in terms of quality (although this is def true of decol t/g 101) but rather because I think I write about too many fucking topics. A lot of the ppl I know with significantly higher followers tend to be much more focused in the topics they talk about.
I’m not saying they don’t have wide and diverse interests and never discuss them but rather… that they have a level of consistency that I certainly do not. My 2015 essay collection isn’t selling all that much (not complaining mind you). And I think part of the reason is that it isn’t thematically coherent. There are essays from anything between meta-discourse to fucking online privacy/tech shit. A person buying that collection would have to mainly be interested in reading my writing rather than seeking a particular topic.
But… If I’m not that well-known, how many people are likely to buy a fairly jumbled mess of essays for the sole reason that I wrote it? Especially when they could, instead, just buy the essay on its own. Basically, the reason to buy such a disperate collection of essays is because of my ~brand~ as a writer/philosopher. A brand that I put zero effort into and hate thinking about.
Ideally, I’d like to not write books despite the fact that it nets me the most money overall. I’ve also mentioned many times that I like blogging because it is one writing medium with the fewest amount of barriers. And looking at my patreon goals, they really are focused on essentially reducing the financial barrier to my longer works. For me, I like the patreon model of support bc it means that my writing has maximum accessibility and my labour is compensated to some degree.
(ok. too much benedryl has me being unable to think straight so I’ll stop here)