I’m still cranking out the last couple podcasts, but I’ve had a few realizations about this whole “Weird Christmas” thing this season I wanted to get down.
The main thing is that this was the first year I was actually TOO BUSY to keep up with everything. Tumblr blew up (I hit 15k followers there, and it’s still growing at about 50+ per day), and I tried to be super responsive, doing requests and answering every DM/ask. That was different, since I’d honestly kinda given up on it as anything other than a useful queue for the cards since it got so quiet after their changes last year.
Twitter doubled in size, so that meant more there. And that’s where most of the other sites/podcasts do their interacting, so I felt obligated to really be present on there as well.
Facebook hit 2k, and I feel like FB is a place where, if you’re not liking/responding, people check out pretty quickly.
So that’s three big social media outlets where I was feeling compelled to stay on top of responses and keep interactions going. That just took a TON of time.
On the podcast front, I thought I was ahead of the game. I had 10 episodes all planned out, but I only got 6 finished before the day itself. Next year, I just have to finish the episodes as I do the interviews. I could have kept up, but my OTHER podcast (yes, I now have two) was super fun and kept me busy up until December. Thankfully, my industrious partner there took over, and did a stellar job. (And even if you don’t care a whit about Gene Wolfe, go listen to our Christmas story episode. It’s a wonderful short story about what happens when new toys come on Christmas night. Think the original Toy Story but more realistic. It’s not long, either.)
But the show solidified some connections with a couple friends, opened up another couple possible projects, and generally doubled in listeners. I’m up to 50k listens/downloads total, which isn’t bad for just 23 actual episodes so far. It’s hard to tell, but I think that means that I’ve probably got over 1k people actually subscribed, if the way the numbers seem to work is any indication. But I’m curious what it’ll be by the time I get the last few up and out there (HOPEFULLY before Three Kings’ Day).
The story contest was amazeballs. (I still love that word.) 650 entries in the end. Next year will probably be more.
I’m a bit on the fence about Patreon so far. I want to keep doing it for myself, but I’m not sure I’ve got as much time to devote to really putting out the extra content. I can certainly do the one episode per month, but I don’t know if I have the time to offer much more. And that makes me feel guilty. I’m so lucky that people want to support me, but I feel like I need to offer more to make it really worth their while. At the same time, the cash really does help cover the costs. If I include what I pay for books and actual cards, I definitely spend over $1k on this little project each year. The actual hosting both for WordPress and Soundcloud comes to about $300. But I bought a solid quality mic, I upgraded my soundboard, and I keep Mixcraft up to date so I can keep the quality high. (Although my other podcast partner has been using some much cheaper stuff on iOS I might look into…although I only have an iPad, not a Mac…so…yeah.)
My goal for the next year needs to be…THE BOOK. I’ve hinted at it a few times. And it’s not just a coffee table thing with reproductions of the cards. I *could* do that, but it’s not what I want to do. I also don’t want to just write a Christmas history or a book about the postcards. So I’m doing something…unique. I won’t give any details, but it’ll be fun to flip through. If anything, I’d say it’s inspired a bit by the Book of the Subgenius. Beyond that, I’ll just let you wonder.
But the goal needs to be not just finishing that but also looking for an agent. If you wrote a story for the show, I know I’ve mentioned putting togehter a flash fiction collection. The problem there is rights, especially with so many different people involved. I’m just not sure how to handle all of that. (And if anything with a history of publishing fiction collections wants to give me some advice, I’ve love to get in touch…firstname.lastname@example.org.) I think that may still be a contest or two in the future, anyway.
The book really does have me more excited than anything else. The podcast and the cards are great fun, but for the most part, I’m collecting and interviewing other people’s stuff for those. And being a “curator” of sorts is awesome, but it’s not really using all this stuff to MAKE something. The book, though…that’s mine. heh heh.
But since my follower count is now up above 20k, I’m going to try to keep social media relatively active throughout the year. It may only be a card a day here and there, but I want to stay “alive” online. And the Patreon show will definitely keep me active. I guess what I’m saying is this is the first year I need to think of this thing as kind of a part time job if I want it to keep going. Writing this out is a way of reminding myself, somewhat officially, to keep that mindset.
So there. I doubt more than like 2 people read this, so thanks for indulging me! But I hope I can keep this fun and weird and just as active. I never realized how much work it would be to just share things I like…but it’s awesome.