Despite not asking this quarter (I didn’t think I should since I took leave for a month), readers have contributed enough to pay for operating costs for the remainder of this quarter. I’d like to let all of you know how much I appreciate the support. Despite my stated intention to make changes, I’m not going to shut down the site as long as readers are offsetting the costs. However, I do want to offer some services (in addition to my own content) that have commercial value, so I can actually make some respectable money off the site and sustain what I’ve started.
For years before I started The Spearhead, I worked for a small business that published documents and reference books in both print and digital formats. While there, I learned how to put books and documents together, print them and format them for inclusion in databases. It was a niche publisher that sold mainly to universities and government agencies, and was pretty profitable for the owner. It was a lot of work and often tedious, but at times it was fun, and I learned a fair amount by reading the material that passed through my hands.
I also learned a lot about the technical aspects of publishing, and that’s something I think could be of value to our online community. I’m just one blogger out of many in the manosphere, and while I have some valuable insights to offer, I know I’m not the only one. However, I am probably one of the few who has experience putting out real publications, and when I look at the enormous amount of content out there on blogs, it’s pretty clear that there’s a lot of untapped potential.
I think of all the bloggers who write great stuff, but have neither the time nor the know-how required to publish books or studies. Sure, there’s the Amazon and Lulu type services out there that will slap something together for you if you send them a Word document, but they’re taking a cut, and they don’t support or condone our message, nor do they particularly care about our audience, so dealing with them is an annoyance at best, and could sometimes be a risk, especially if you run across someone like the fellow at Automattic who was threatening to “disappear” Heartiste’s blog. There really are a lot of petty tyrants among the technocratic class these days. More than I’ve ever seen before, and I certainly wouldn’t trust these people with my work.
It will probably take some time to get my rusty formatting skills back in form, but if I’m going to stay in this business, I’m pretty sure this is the way to go. If I can pull it off, I think we’ll see the beginnings of a publishing paradigm that breaks “the narrative” and can stand on its own. While I’d like to be able to say that I’d be happy to publish anything, I don’t think I will. Free speech is under serious threat in the US, and at this point we should take the “fight fire with fire” approach. If it turns out that the only way we can make our voices heard over the din is to discriminate in our private venues, then that’s what I’ll do.
For starters I’m going to keep it simple. Just straightforward books, documents and studies in print and e-book form. That’s all I can handle at this point, and there’s nothing that guarantees failure like introducing too much complexity to a task. This also means that, unfortunately, I won’t be able to edit material. Editing is an important job that takes a lot of effort. I often wish I could afford an editor, but I make do with cursory self-editing (which is never as good) and hope that readers are forgiving. If you do want to publish material, I’d recommend having an editor go over it if you can afford it. If not, do your best yourself, but don’t be dumb and expect that just anyone can or will edit for you. For example, if you wouldn’t have your carpenter brother-in-law fix your car, why would you expect a web designer or engineer to edit your text?
What I like about the model I’ve envisioned is that I don’t have to own or control other people’s content, host their sites, demand their obedience, shove them all into one tent, etc. Instead, I give them a handy tool, some valuable, personalized service, and a common platform where they can sell their wares on an equal footing with others both on my site and at major online retailers like Amazon, Ingram and Barnes and Noble. If all goes well, readers and customers are happy, writers make more sales, and I run a business developing and sustaining the market for the mutual benefit of all involved.