Hal’s Experiment

30 09 2009

I though I’d draw your attention, if I may, to Hal Duncan’s experiment over at Notes From The Geek Show.

Hal is experimenting with sidestepping the traditional route to market (via publisher) and going straight to the audience. Hal will publish Scruffian’s Stamp (a teaser is on the post linked to above) if he recieves donations amounting to $150 and if he doesn’t reach that amount all donors (horrible word but I’m in a hurry) will receive a PDF version.

The publishing model being tried is not news because plenty of people have tried this and usually this is met by a roll of the eyes and a comment about the standards of self-publishing…

See: you’re doing it right now…

No, not you lot who know who Hal is, the other lot. (And yes: I know you’re now a rather small group, I’m working on the stats issue.)…

I digress.

The point I am making in a very long winded way, is that the experiment is of interest because Hal has already achieved that writerly milestone of editorial validation, having published two books via a mainstream publisher, the cubist fantasies Vellum and Ink respectively. I can’t speak for Ink (it’s still on my shelf – I try to prolong the anticipation with sequals) but Vellum really is very impressive: ambitious in scope and executed with flare.

For this reason I’m both interested to see how Hal gets on with this approach and would urge you to donate.*

I’ve set my stall out as an admirer of Hal’s work before, and a review of Vellum will probably appear in the next few weeks, but I’d also encourage you to pick up copies of his books. You won’t regret it.

* As I will be when the dayjob ponies up next month.


30 09 2009

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given posting frequency, my blog stats have dropped off a cliff recently.

However, I’ve been blogging for quite sometime now and I’ve been through blips in output before and they’ve never been this severe: i.e. where the stats have essentially dropped back to the level they were at when I first started this experiment. It’s also sudden: like someone flicked a switch.

At present I have two theories:

1. For some reason I have fallen out of, or been dropped down, Google’s index.


2. WordPress.com have either had problems with their servers (leading to 1.) or their stats engine has encountered some problems.

My secondary stats engine (sitemeter) does show a fall, albeit a less severe one, and so presently I am leaning towards number one although the support forum for wordpress does suggest that several other people are having problems. Ditto Google Webmaster tools – I can’t see anything obvious other than them taking away my ability to request a given crawl rate (annoying).

Is anyone else seeing a problem? Have you had any issues getting to the site?

Of course there is a silver lining, if I am unable to resolve the issue then I may well use this as a prompt to go self-hosted because my historical traffic was a big part of why I haven’t done so already. Being self-hosted gives quite a large range of options, the possibility of proper analytics when trying to sort out stuff like this and the option of generating some income.

It’s a thought anyway.