October 22, 2013

Back To The Drawing Board

It’s hard to build a credible online identity sometimes, and even harder to back that up with a site that makes sense. Take me for example, these are the side-projects I have on my table at the moment:

  • I’m publishing a weekly app newsletter in Swedish.
  • I’m wrapping up a novella that’ll go out to my editor early next week.
  • I’ve got my iPhone novel writing project.
  • And I’m writing a novel too, or rather rewriting it, as should be.
  • Speaking of which, I’m dabbling with self-publishing as well. It sort of connects with the writing, you know.
  • I’m putting the finishing touches on a manuscript for a Swedish horror RPG, which then will have to be translated into English at the very least.
  • I’ve got this site, and my neglected Swedish one, alongside my link commentary that ends up on Twitter and the TDHFTW blog.

This is just the side-projects, things I do alongside my web agency Odd Alice, and my regular book writing and consulting. Nor is it counting side-projects that fly under either of my two company flags.

That’s a lot of very different things, and this isn’t the worst list of side-projects I’ve had. At least there’s no shotgun blues in there.

I don’t have to worry so much about my brand, I’m often requested and have exposure. Not as much as I’d want obviously, but that’s life. However, looking at the list above, making a website for myself and choosing what to expose isn’t exactly the easiest thing. If I write too much about tech, my writing crowd might step away, and an old school pen and paper horror RPG isn’t exactly interesting to a large audience. I’ve never been much for chasing the big reader numbers, it’s more interesting who’s reading, but it is relevant when you risk alienating your crowd. The more disperse the crowd is, the harder it gets to please everyone.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. The link commentary is well liked and I want to move it into the spotlight. I just need to figure out how. But while that link commentary goes well with my posts on iPad Pros and e-ink typewriters, it connects less with the Thoughts on Writing series. And all that tech stuff clashes directly with genre fiction, short stories with swords, and whatever else I might have up my sleeve that just isn’t on the same page.

It’s just not easy. A client that wanted all that stuff from the list above would get a lot of hard questions from me. What’s your focus, what’s important, what can move elsewhere? I need to treat myself the same way, without closing any doors, as I’m not an enterprise nor a product, but a human being that just might make money by doing what I do.

There are so many sketches and ideas on how to solve this visually in my notebooks. The current site isn’t the answer, although it made perfect sense at the time. Neither was any of the previous sites the right way to go.

It’s a good thing I don’t seem to tire from the drawing board, because I’m back there yet again.

Thoughts? Let @tdh know on Twitter, or find me elsewhere. There is also a newsletter.