Biweekly Update Friday, 14 October 2016

Biweekly Update: Friday, 14 October 2016

Audio stories update: So. You may have noticed that I conducted a poll over the last week exploring whether folks would be interested in audio versions of some of the more popular stories by me and possibly other writers on the site. The response has been interesting. Essentially it boils down to “Sure, if they’re free”. As of today, about three quarters of people who participated expressed an interest in audio stories. But well over half of those voting said they wouldn’t pay even a dollar for them (about a quarter of the total votes were still a solid “yes” after a dollar or two).

If you considered why I was asking that second question, it won’t be a surprise that this was not quite the response I was hoping for. Not that it was unexpected. I’ve vowed from the beginning that Metabods will always be a “free, nonprofit archive”. Charging even a token fee for audio versions may strike some folks as aligning poorly with that mission. I suspect that some of you are already offended that in the last year I’ve had the nerve to solicit support for my writing on Patreon (not that anyone has called me on it directly so far), post advertisements again (not that I get much from them, to be honest), and offer goofy merchandise on CafePress (which, perhaps reassuringly, no one has bought). None of this covers my costs, so don’t worry, Metabods is still nonprofit, but I totally get why folks might be concerned by anything that looks like I’m trying to monetize a site that operates under a pledge to remain free.

I also understand that I was offering my own services as audio performer, sight unseen (as it were), and while I’m confident based on past experience that I’ll do a good job, you people have no reason to believe that. I might end up sounding like Don Knotts for all you know, or, I don’t know, Angela Merkel. (Actually, both of those would be pretty awesome.)

Here’s where I’m coming from. These days, I am gladly—indeed enthusiastically—giving about 20-30 hours a month to writing for and producing Metabods, beyond work, school, nongenre writing, and other commitments, and that’s absolutely not going to change anytime soon. I realize I’m not producing great literature here, or changing the world, or even running a commercially viable porn site. I do it for the joy of it, and if other people like it too, that’s still gravy to me. In my head I was exploring doing the audio stories in a slightly different category, something along the lines of “things I could do for fun that might also help pay the bills”, mostly since recording and editing them would involve an additional investment not so much of money but of a considerable amount of my time, though I knew I would enjoy doing it.

Bottom line: The preceding thought processes may all sound mercenary to you, and if so I apologize. I’m having second thoughts myself about the whole asking-for-money aspect as I write this. In any event it’s entirely moot, because based on the results of the poll it looks as though in my brain I’ll need to consciously shift the time investment involved in doing the audio stories wholly into the “things I do for fun because I love Metabods” headspace. That’s totally doable with a bit of mental furniture-shifting. The upshot, then, is that the audio thing is shelved for now pending that rethink, but I’m trying to work it all around into a positive. I’m still likely going to do it at some point, so stay tuned.

Okay, and the ads too: And in keeping with the above, I’m going to go ahead and kill the advertisements again. They’re intrusive, though I tried to minimize that, and the scatter of nickels and dimes I get from them aren’t worth feeling like I’m trying to scam a few bucks off something that’s supposed to be free. Which is ironic: If I were making actual money off of them, I’d feel even worse… :)

As for the Patreon: I’ll have to give it some more thought. The patronage there is from people who deliberately choose to encourage my writing, and that support has, over the last nine months, resulted in a genuinely greater effort on my part to produce more and better stories. It’s like a recurring, nonspecific commission. But I’m kind of having a whole weird Heroic BSOD moment here about money and Metabods, and I’ll need to let the patronage thing wander around in my synapses again for a while. Any thoughts on the matter from readers, patrons, and fellow writers are welcome and will be appreciated, regardless of the point of view conveyed.

Tsk. Enough of all that. The next scheduled update will be Friday, 28 October. See you then with lots of hot new content, and in the meantime, thanks for visiting!

Posted: 13 October 2016  • 

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