Failing the Internets

I’m a powerful man in the failing arts. Whether it was early attempts to lose my virginity, playing sports, or just trying to make a decent salsa. (Which is actually way harder than you think. After you read this go make an attempt. It will probably taste horrible. )  I even did stand up for a couple years in college, which is like asking for failure on purpose. Failure that you seek out every night from strangers. Even waiting in traffic to do so. Ludicrous I know. I guess all I’m saying is, I have a track record.

Then last summer I was approached to put out an eBook based on this blog. I’ll give you a hint. It failed. I’m sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning.

When asked initially, I was flattered. The fact that someone besides a parent or friend liked my blog was nice. I’d never had any intentions to do anything with this blog except write it really. It was mainly a thing I just did for fun sometimes. Also the word eBook was fairly new to me. I know, I’m a technology grandpa. But the only experiences I had of “straight to eBook” books, seemed to be from authors looking for a cheap way to put out their glamour projects, and self publish. (Which by the way is definitely not true. There are some talented writers out there that are selling the shit out of their work, and more power to them.) I’m just explaining my mindset when I took on this project.

But first, the publisher wanted to test some of my “articles” on their website. I thought calling them articles was being kind, because I write haiku about dung beetles and pizza. But that aside, I thought it was a fine idea. Some were received fairly well, and then others not so well. And that’s when I got my first taste of internet comments. I’m sure you’ve all read your fair share of horrible comments. But I’ll do my best to explain how they feel when they’re written directly at you. It’s basically like enjoying a perfect day at the beach. The sun is out, you’re getting a tan, and the water is perfect. But then, all of a sudden, a giant great white shark jumps out of the water, and bites off your genitals. It feels kind of like that.

After that response, I couldn’t wait to release the book! (Read in a sarcastic voice). Which we did. And worse than a negative response, it got no response at all. Like “Dad, can you tell Grandma to buy another copy” bad. Suddenly I felt like the thing I was doing for fun became a huge chore, that I invested a ton of time in for nothing. I had something new to add to the failure utility belt. Failing the internets. And after that, I didn’t feel like blogging a whole lot.  Hence the blog sabbatical. (Cry me a river. Why should I care?) Well, I was just going to tell you! Relax! There’s a light to this long, self indulgent piece of nonsense!

As much as I hated this whole process, I learned a lot. That if I you want to write or create things for any type of audience, there will be people that hate it. Even hate you for that matter. And if you put out something, there’s a huge chance that no one will give a shit. But that’s not a reason to stop making things. I have to create things, because my brain will explode if I don’t get them out. I have ideas that I want made, and people will always have their opinions. I’m a nobody with a very small readership. And I’m sure as hell glad I got to experience this on such a small scale, when it doesn’t really matter.

I will have my first big comic project coming out this year. Hopefully in the next 3-4 months, which I will talk about more as we get closer to the date. But in the current days of twitter, blogs, and anonymous commenters. It’s important to get used to the noise. If you read this far, you are a hero. I don’t normally write this long, and rarely get this personal. But I needed to get this out. Thanks for reading, and feel free to share your similar stories of failure. Failure stories are always fun to trade. Also come find me on twitter at @IhateMaxwell too. We can tweet about stuff. Later!

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27 thoughts on “Failing the Internets

  1. You rock on with your badass persevering self. :) It’s hard to do, and keeping a good attitude about it makes you heroic, too. It’s true: we all go through this at one point or another! Even JK Rowling was rejected by every agent for 18 months and wrote three unpublishable novels before HP before her first book ever saw the light of day, and regardless of whether someone likes those books, they have been historical.

  2. I myself have trouble with horrible guacamole. And you are absolutely correct about stand-up. “Failure that you seek out every night from strangers”

    I am told by people on a DAILY basis, “You’re SO funny. You should do stand-up. You‘d be good at it.” I tell them, I’m good at sex too, but that doesn’t mean I want to do it ON COMMAND, in front of an audience. — Too stressful.

  3. Putting out a book is a difficult, thankless job when you are not a household name and you don’t have a major publisher behind you. Getting anybody to pay attention to it is about 1000 times harder than writing it. But you do learn a lot, so I guess that’s something.

    It is incredibly easy to fail at this, so don’t give it too much weight on the failure scale.

  4. I do music criticism on my blog which makes me the great white jumping out of the ocean and biting other peoples’ balls.

    • Well sharks gotta eat too! Am I right? Ha, but yeah criticism is fine. It’s the anonymous “fuck yous” that can really put a stick in my craw. But all part of the process I suppose.

      • Yeah, I do always strive to be constructive in my criticism. Of course, some of the bands I’ve covered have been less than pleased by what I’ve had to say so I’ve received a few ‘Fuck You’s” also.

    • Thanks Maggie. Yeah, I was just being a wuss. But I’m done. Onward and upward! As far as captions go, let me think… How’s this – “Lion barf rainbows unite!”

  5. Jordan or Gretzky or some sports mega-millionaire once said that you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. They neglected to mention that when you miss the shots you do take, your loyal fans boo you mercilessly and if you do it enough times, you get dealt to the minor league team in Dubuque for a handful of shells and some cheap wine. Your supermodel girlfriend leaves you, and you have to pawn one of your world champion rings just for some crack money.

    Welcome back (again). Looking forward to buying a copy (“E” or actual paper) of your comic when it comes out.

    • Thank you sir. You’re too kind. Normally I compare myself to pro wrestlers, but pro hockey players can work too I suppose. Plus I’m actually really good at rollerblading, which is like ice skating on cement. So I’m already on my way.

  6. I have a secret fear this is exactly what would happen if I published a book…so I just keep perfecting my art and figure it will happen when it happens. I did write an article the other day that someone disagreed with so I felt like I had reached a milestone. Still trying to grow that thicker hide. I want to be able to handle people not liking what I write, and I want to write it well. :-) Is that too much to ask?? :-)

  7. I generally just don’t try too hard at stuff and then it doesn’t hurt when things don’t work out. Like I just tried to make salsa, and all I had was a tomato, so I ate the tomato instead of trying to get the other stuff. I feel fine.

  8. Thanks for putting your twitter handle on here, I’ll follow you. I’ve learned a lot of the same lessons with my music (people HATING my singing voice, etc.) and also releasing a project to dead air… anything you put out on the interwebz, make sure to market it. Just being online doesn’t mean anything. The thing about failure is that it is one of the best ways to learn. So, now you know not to write haikus of dung beetles and pizza. Lesson learned. Looking forward to your comic!

  9. Thanks. Yeah self promotion is the key unfortunately. It’s finding that fine line of getting the word out and not being just annoying. But how else will your stuff get out there. Gotta do it.

    • One piece of advice that was given to me might help, sometimes trying to get friends and family in on the project may not be as effective as talking about it with people you don’t know. I think the great thing is to look at your competition and look at all their avenues of advertising. Anyways, I’ll shut up now ;)

  10. I too need to create. Being afraid is the reason I am not writing a book anymore. It takes so much effort. I mean, I am writing it sometimes, but then I change my mind and I go back and forth and after reading this, it scared me even more. Not that you were intending for that to happen. I’m already a wimp, so, that isn’t helpful. To be honest, sometimes I feel like a lady version of you (in terms of style), except you’re way funnier and not at all a wimp and it’s likely that I would have a similar response and in turn, would learn a lot but not have a big comic project coming out this year and I would just be depressed. You ended this on a positive note, and that makes you awesome.

    I am excited for that project by the way, because I think you’re hilarious and I’m liking your book and I don’t care what anyone else said. There. I guess what I am trying to say can be summed up with this:

    • You’re entirely too kind. I was going to shoot you an email in response, so I didn’t write multiple paragraphs in the comments section. But I didn’t see one on your blog, so it’s going here. Which if I remember right, you were saying you got sent a bunch of dick pics. And that would make me emailess too. Unless I was making a dick collage. In which I would encourage it. But I don’t think those are really in fashion anymore.

      Firstly, definitely write your book. You’re too talented not too. I hope by writing this post I didn’t scare people off from publishing. I was just trying to get across what the process was like. I always like to hear from people going through a similar situation, so I thought it might help. I’m glad it happened the way it did. Because it needed to happen. My situation was so miner, and it still bugged me. If I want to do anything with actual significance, I need to get used to this.

      Ha, and secondly, I am not funnier than you or any more brave. The whole book thing kind of fell into my lap. I didn’t put myself out there at all. I read your blog all the time, and you write a ton of pieces I’d be scared too write. From personal things your going through, to the loss of a loved one. I couldn’t do that. That scares the shit out of me. And you can write about very relatable things that are still very distinctly you. That’s hard, and always with the perfect blend of humor. Even the sad posts. Sometimes I try to make posts so “different” that they just come across weird I think.

      Keep doing what you’re doing. I’m waiting for the book.

  11. Keep up the good fight! And maybe you can adapt your failure scale — like Spinal Tap’s amplifiers that go up to 11 except the reverse. Or something like that. I had some sort of idea, but now I don’t understand it.

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