Welcome to Year 3!
The Year of the Audience
Saturday, Feb. 04, 2017
It's a new year, and the beginning of a new year of Features. Welcome back to Curious Tale Saturdays! This week I will be talking about my major project for the year, and some of the underpinning goals. My hope is for you to come away from this article with a sense of what to expect in 2017.
2017: The Year of the Audience
My grand project this year is to build the Curious Tale fan community and my own personal brand, with the specific goal of breaking even financially (with supplementation from my freelancing business allowed) on my core living expenses: rent, food, essential bills.
To achieve this I have designed a Production Schedule of discrete work goals. The full schedule is both a fluid document and also quite pragmatic, as it is intended for my own personal use, but here are some key highlights:
- At least one social media post on all media not less than six days out of the week.
- The resumption and expansion of the Regular Features (see below).
- Eighteen hours a week on After The Hero development.
- A special brand development project (see below).
Except for ATH itself, nearly everything I plan to do professionally this year is designed to build my audience, and more specifically to build an interactive, invested, and sincere community.
For the rest of this article I will talk about two of the above bullet points: the Regular Features, and the special project.
Back Into the Groove
CuriousTale.org has been dormant for nearly an entire year due to the various personal disasters and crises that I endured. But now, I'm back. Throughout February I will be refreshing this website as well as my Patreon page, and establishing a regular presence on social media, including YouTube, Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. I am still trying to find the right balance of what kinds of posts to put on which media. There's also a Google Plus page.
For me, the hardest part about all of this, at least early on, will be getting back into the groove and rebuilding momentum. I am not naturally a highly productive person. In 2014 and 2015 the Regular Features (then called the Weekly Features) gave me the structure and focus I needed. All of that structure is there waiting for me, but I still have to tone up my way of living to restore that personal discipline.
Attracting Attention: A Special Brand Development Project
With my platform in place (this website, its features, and my social media activity), the next step to building my audience is to attract attention. I think I have some pretty high-quality content to offer, but the quality doesn't matter if no one sees it.
Getting that initial wave of attention—the first twenty or thirty consistent fans—for me is the hardest and scariest part of the entire project. Even when I finished the Prelude, part of me still felt like a fake because I only had a handful of people to read it.
So, aside from the hard work of getting back into the groove of a high-output production schedule, I'll be spending most of my energy in February and March on implementing various ideas to attract attention. And I hope that, if you're reading this, you will come along with me on that journey, and devote some of your own time to seeding the fan community with your comments and discussion. I'll be getting in touch with a number of you personally about this, because I am designing a marketing plan that hopes to maximize the usefulness of any energy you spend on my behalf. Stay tuned for more on this!
Anyways, what, exactly, is this "special brand development project"? It consists of three things:
First is the Regular Features (and their promotion on social media), which I'll talk about below.
Second is, for lack of something pithier, "go and make contacts." After many years of leaving behind message forums and other venues of discourse in favor of internal development and creative writing, I plan to spend more time and energy making myself known in communities that are already established.
Third is something completely outside The Curious Tale: a development of my personal brand. At this point I plan to do this mainly through my YouTube channel and my Twitch Channel, though there may also be a component on my other website, The-Sinistral.org. What I have in mind isn't entirely clear yet. For several years now I've followed a number of YouTube channels that have given me some ideas for ways I can build an audience. One thing I've already done along these lines is my weekly Twitch video game stream, which will be returning in the near future. Another thing I'll be doing is a podcast (probably a podcast, though it may be a full vlog too). I'm still working on the details of the contents, but I know I have something to say. There will be more details on this later in February; as a whole, the brand development project ties into my larger marketing plan.
Year 3 of the Regular Features on CuriousTale.org
Also throughout February, and spanning into spring, I plan to launch the Year 3 Regular Features:
- Curious Tale Saturdays
- Wiki Wednesdays
- The Great Galavar
- An Occasional Treat
The first two of these are good to go basically right now. Indeed, you're reading the one right now, and the other will begin this coming Wednesday. "An Occasional Treat" simply refers to my hope of occasionally putting out a piece of music or an episode of Empire of Ice.
The Great Galavar, for its part, has some developmental problems, and won't be launching immediately. I left it in rather a messy state in 2015 and wasn't sure how to get it back on track. I think what I might have to do is step back a few episodes (Galavar's birthday arc) and restart from there.
However, even if doing that solves some of the problem, I also need to find a better and more compelling way to tell the story in a serial fashion. My Curious Tale writing doesn't really lend itself to serialization, and moreover my personal style also doesn't lend itself to serialization.
These shortcomings are surmountable, but I need to figure out what exactly to do. If you have any thoughts on the matter, I would love to hear them. For future reference, you can always reach me privately by e-mail if you prefer, but otherwise I would prefer if you take such correspondences to social media—either my Tumblr or Facebook pages.
A Note on Season Numbers
I recently realized a small problem: Before today I have referred to the upcoming "Season 3" of the Regular Features, and this refers to the Regular Features as a whole. But, for instance, Wiki Wednesdays isn't going to be in its own third season. Neither is The Great Galavar. Even Curious Tale Saturdays isn't really entering its third season, since it had a "zeroth" season before the Year of 32 even started. This is the kind of malarkey that obsessive people like me go crazy over.
What I plan to do is track the seasons of each feature separately, and switch my terminology for the overall endeavor from "Season" to "Year." Thus, instead of "Season 3 of the Regular Features," I'll be calling it "Year 3 of the Regular Features."
Pleasantly, this really is Year 3. I began the thing for the Festival of 32 in summer of 2014, and so each "Year" follows a college-like schedule of beginning and ending in the summertime, near my birthday. Technically, then, we are already more than halfway through Year 3. This actually helps me out a little bit: It means that I can assess my progress midway through 2017, and make changes as needed for Year 4.
Join me next Saturday when I talk about Afiach Bard and my years on the Mountain.
Until then, may your own 2017 look as bright!
O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!