in books, Uncategorized

A Post Containing Failure, Humility and Hope

So, I’m a little depressed. By the numbers, the revival of the Seanachai is a pretty abject failure. In the six months since I’ve resumed doing a weekly episode, I’ve seen no listener growth. It sucks to put a lot of energy into something that doesn’t give energy back.

In a strange way the suck of this is heightened by how well everything else is going. I have had some great successes this year. I’ve sold a bunch of books. I’ve written a couple of books. And my personal life and business life is really going great.

But still, it sucks to fail.

The only questions that are worthwhile to ask at this point are “Why?” and “What to do about it?”

Why?

For sure, the Seanachai is hard to spell. It’s also not hooky or shareable. The new ones have been thoughtful and personal. Thoughtful doesn’t play real well on the internet. Listen to this podcast because its, non-specifically interesting. Sure, I’ll remember that.

So the lesson here is that it’s a great add-on for people who already like what I do, but it’s not a good thing to introduce people to what I do. What really sucks is that introduction is my problem at this point. In terms of writing, I’m mired in the vast swampy middle. I’ve had some things go very right. And my work is good enough for bigger arenas. The question is how to stand out against all the noise? I recognize that this is not entirely in my control. All I can do is keep making the best stuff I can and get it out there.

What to do about it?

Less, I think. Less. The Seanachai stays my personal author podcast. II’ve got a new book that I’m going to release (as soon as it’s recorded), so it will go out on the feed. So will, monthly or so updates of how things are going. But weekly? No. Besides, it’s not even topical.

But I do make nice audio. Which means, that perhaps another, serial podcast type-thing would be good. I have some ideas, not the least of which is a non-fiction book, working title, “How to Succeed in Evil: The Self-Help Book You Want to Buy, but Are Afraid to.” It’s a collection of evil schemes through the ages. Less, “Giant Laser in Space” and more “Opium Wars” and “Mercantilism.” I think that’s a little more buzzworthy.

What’s next?

Vacation. I’m going to the beach for a week. Sloth, Gluttony, Sunburn, all of it. As Rimbaud said, “Sometimes it is best to lie dead drunk in the sun.”

When I get back, I’m going to start recording the audiobook version of my latest novel, “The Soak” I got it back from the proofreader and it’s ready for prime time. And that last phase of editing where I read it aloud and fix all the crappy little things I can’t stand when I hear them said. I’ll be podcasting it, never fear. Then it will be released in physical and ebook format.

I’m also going to put out another book this year. I now have close to 90k words of fresh ‘Evil. And even thought I’m going to need another 60k or so to get the first new book done (For some reason I always start with the wrong book!) I’m optimistic about getting that done in 2015.

  • Depression shared. But something about dipping your toe in the river that just flooded the place you can never go home to…

    • PatrickEMcLean

      ehWhat? Your metaphor is as horrifying as it is poetic as it is incomprehensible. Nicely done.

  • I hope you figure it out, I enjoy your writing and narration

  • Mark Denu

    Something that Steven Pressfield wrote about in one or more of his books comes to mind. To paraphrase:

    “You’re entitled to your labors but not the fruits of your labors”

    At the least I’ve been happy to have you back in my feed Mr. McLean

    • PatrickEMcLean

      Oh yeah, truer words. And he ripped it off from the Baghvad Gita. Love Pressfield.

  • RichMathis

    Occasionally, out of the blue, I’ll think to myself I miss your posts. Unfortunately I read your posts in my email, there isn’t much reason to listen to what exists in text form when its below a certain length. I share particularly interesting posts with my friends, but I feel like my numbers might not count adequately. Whatever you’re looking for in terms of numbers, maybe occasionally let us know how we can help. I’ll tweet, facebook share, whatever so long as it doesn’t feel too “spammy”. I really enjoy your writing, and I look forward to more!

    • PatrickEMcLean

      Yeah, I’ve been thinkingn more posts, less audio. And more commentary. But it will piss some folks off. I would be ashamed of myself to merely rant, or be reduced to pedantry, but dammit. It feels like it’s time to warm a pen up in the fires of hell and sear some pages.

  • Darren McGaha

    I love listening to the Seanachai. You have a different way of looking at and describing the world than I do so this is as much a learning experience for me as it is entertainment. I am sure this doesn’t help any but I hope the Seanachai doesn’t go away completely.

    • PatrickEMcLean

      Fear not. It won’t go away completely until I do.

  • Darren Kelk

    I have always been a fan and I love to see your stuff. It was a joy when you returned to the weekly podcast and I am sad that you may go, again. What is it that will most help you find a happy place. 6 months ago you said this was about scratching an itch. Is the itch scratched? Is it the nature of the project, should it be something like…

    • PatrickEMcLean

      Yeah there’s some happy place searching going on here. I’m stuck in a swampy middle of authors and creators. I’ve have some real success, but I need to focus to break through to the bigger, better thing. It’s good angst… but angst nonetheless.

  • R Watson

    Mr McLean, I love what you do. I think you are one of most talented, smart, and entertaining voices on the net.

    Having said that, and presuming that you are interested in honest feedback, I offer this.
    It is not that it is too hard to spell. It is not because it’s too “thoughtful.” It is because your website is a frakking mess. It is jumbled and non-intuitive, and obscures your content (that wonderful, entertaining content we crave) behind labyrinthine layers of inception-like dead ends, roundabouts and rabbit holes. I had to sign up with “Disqus” just to offer this comment! Someone likely told you this design you’re using is clever or some such, (it isn’t.) But if your goal is to introduce more listeners/readers to your material you need to make it easier to get to.
    If it takes me more than three clicks of the mouse to get the content I am seeking into my mp3 player, it’s a pain in the ass . Yes. Seriously. Because it doesn’t have to be that way.

    If you’re content with the current base of dedicated followers who would no doubt go to any length to get to your admittedly wonderful stuff, leave it as it is.
    If however you’d like to get your stuff into the ears of more people, simplify the process of actually finding the bloody stuff..
    Your front page should contain a clearly visible, easily identifiable link to “podcasts,” (it doesn’t); and once there a simple list of the most recent uploads should be available with ONE CLICK hotlinked to a downloadable mp.3 file.

    (I am not a web designer, or tech head in any way. I’m not offering to fix anything. Just telling you what’s broken.)

    Hope this is received in the spirit it was intended. I truly enjoy your work.
    Sincerely,
    RRW

    • PatrickEMcLean

      I love both parts. The rant AND the feedback. Sure it sucks, but I think it’s more productive to write than to perfect the website. Why don’t you draw the way the front page should be and I’ll give it’s day in court. I think I’m going to a single page format anyway.

      Thanks for taking the time.