I logged on to CafePress today to take a peek around.
They’re finally close to ready to roll out the new technology they’ve been developing for the last couple of years for printing vibrant digital images directly onto products instead of via transfers, but they’re “Beta testing” it on Jr. Baby Doll Shirts only. They encourage you to order one to witness the exciting new quality and increased durability. Alas, I have no use for a Jr. Baby Doll Shirt. I don’t even have any friends who could wear one. So I suppose I’ll wait for them to finish the tech and roll it out across the other products, and maybe order something nice for myself.
So anyway, I closed the pop-up telling me that the technology I’ve been waiting for for years is available now on products I don’t really have any designs for, and on the summary page it said they owed me about $25 in earned commissions. Which seemed weird, because I couldn’t remember the last time they’d emailed me to let me know there was a sale, and the last time I logged in, it was like, $6. So I pulled up a “transaction report” to see what I’d sold – maybe they stopped emailing sales or something… No. It says that since the last time they owed me enough money to send a check (minimum $25), back in August of 2003, I’ve made a total of 14 sales to people other than myself totaling $12.10 ($4.02 combined from all designs that don’t imply a request for oral sex) in commissions, and it says that I’ve used a total of $13.06 of “CafeCash” on orders I made myself (that is, I’ve spent more virtual commission money than I personally earned). Oh, and since August 2003 I apparently have earned $25.88 in referrals from other people‘s sales.
Probably mostly Iain’s, as I understand it. Probably residuals from implying that the President has poor enunciation. Either way, I’ve earned more than twice as much from Cafepress rewarding me for people I know being successful than I have from direct personal success.
I’m thinking of going to just a basic store with just books. Right now I’m paying $60 per annum for a “premium” CafePress shop that has earned less than $40 in commissions in the last TWO years. F_ck, maybe I’ll drop the books, too. As you might have guessed had I given you another piece of information (the last non-NeedHead order was placed in September of 2004), the books aren’t exactly flying off the shelves. In fact, if we do not consider orders I placed for my own books at volume discounts so that I can attempt to re-sell them for a profit in person, I have not made a single internet sale of a book since my first book’s First Edition first actually became available for sale on CafePress.
Heck, I can’t seem to sell them face to face any more, either, not even to people who promised to, not even to people who bought or otherwise read Untrue Tales Book One, claimed to be eager to read Book Two, and promised to buy it – I ordered exactly one more copy of that book than I had promises from people to buy them and have managed only to give away one copy, and if I want to look at the silver lining, Nanda bought the combined edition containing Book One and Book Two together, but I still have a shelf full of books that all thought they would have had new owners by now, staring at me from the bookcase across the room. Which makes it a little harder to taste the ice cream I’m about to try to wallow in instead of the Vodka just a couple of shelves away in the freezer, but it’s still a pretty intense visual metaphor.
Anyone want to hazard a guess as to why I’ve been passively-aggressively sabotaging my own efforts to put together a list of agents to query? Anyone want to tell me why I can’t (really can’t, and their “Reminder” emails aren’t making it through) remember the password to my Writer’s Market account, where I could theoretically gather information that might be helpful in my search? Anyone want to go out on a limb and try to explain why I stopped writing a book (and just as it was getting into the confusing flashbacks of a troubling family history intermixed with scenes from the present-day breakdowns of the relationships and jobs that begin to tie together to explain where he’s coming from and where he’s at so that I can lead the readers to figure out where he cannot escape from going before the end) in mid-April with not even a glance at it or Untrue Tales Book Three since, not even since getting my hands on my wonder-drug? How about a guess as to why I’m suddenly trying to get a job in the tech industry, perhaps even help-desk, after I swore both phone work and computer work off entirely, years ago? Or why I’m suddenly working my fingers to a pulp to create art and straining my wrists with repetitive stress (ie: typing nearly non-stop for literally days at a time) to try to create a video game, or why I’m working on getting photographs and layout and font choices for an excuse to cut my hair and beard off without having to deal with the repercussions of such an obvious outward expression of the inner wasteland I seem to be feeling.
Oh, wait, you can’t. Not unless you’re reading a copy of this on LiveJournal. Because apparently the comments system is broken on my journal, but no one told me. Not even the people who (apparently) wanted to comment on a particular entry and couldn’t and emailed me about it instead. Not a word. And as far as I can tell, it’s been broken for perhaps months. Which sends pageviews down, because there’s no need to go back and look at the ongoing discussions about old posts – there aren’t any. Which also apparently reduces visitors across the board, by perhaps as much as ten or fifteen thousand visitors a month lost over the last couple of months. Or hey, maybe I’m just not as interesting anymore. Weird thing is that I’ve received more unsolicited emails from people this year than in all other years that Modern Evil has existed -combined- saying that they found my website and were entertained and want to see new comics (or whatever they liked) and generally giving praise. Except that this is because it had never (that I can recall) happened before. So two emails in seven months is a big deal.
Actually, it’s like life figured out (perhaps because I kept repeating it, loudly, to lots of people, out loud in specific words) that I’m feeling somewhat depressed lately – and like life is trying to cheer me up (or confuse me, anyway). My website averaged between 2000 and 3000 unique visitors per day from about November to mid-May, but has been in a rapid decline, averaging between about 1200 and 1500 unique visitors per day during the month of July. So I’ve been feeling bad about the decline, so I get a brief email from a stranger saying she laughed, she liked my stuff, and wanted to see more. I’ve been stressing out about money, having trouble figuring out how things are going to meet, and even managed to get a nearly $300 power bill this month after a $145 one last month and the <$100 one before that... and then, suddenly, a couple of weeks ago, the natural-form furniture I hand made over a year ago in Pine began selling. Which is nice. Sigh. I don't know.