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#1 2018-01-02 02:05:21

Eric Storm
Pub Owner
From: New Port Richey, FL
Registered: 2006-09-12
Posts: 3961
Website

State of the Website, 2017/18

A brief note about December donations before we get started:  In December, we received $365 of a requested $700.  Now then...

Well, it's that time again.  Time to look back, and look forward.

First, a look back at 2017:

The Website:

2017 was one of our worst years for growth.  We gained 437 new members this year, which is over a hundred less than in 2016.  We added only three new authors, and we'd like to welcome Blackie, Marked One, and Pornluvr to our little community.

My Writing:

In 2017, I managed to write 124,560 words.  This is less than half of my stated goal of 250,000 words yearly.  More to the point, I had to break my posting schedule for the Woodward Academy series, after six years of successful monthly postings.

My Personal Life:

Let's just sum this up briefly:  Life sucked.

*****

With our retrospective wrapped up, let's look at what to expect from 2018:

The website:

Look, I'm not even going to make any sort of promise about the damned website design anymore.  I haven't given up trying to make a new version, but I am having a very hard time actually making progress with it.  Maybe I'll get it done this year...  And maybe I won't.

My writing:

In a dream world, I would write enough words to actually finish WAY8 by the end of the year.  Do I expect this?  No.  I am maintaining my yearly writing goal of 250,000 words.  This would be enough to complete WAY7 and at least most of WAY8, if those were the only things I wrote.  Chances are, however, that Agent of Change will get some writing time thrown in, and maybe some other stuff, so completing WAY8 will only happen if I exceed my quota by a fair margin.  I've done that before (my best year was about 400,000 words), but I certainly cannot plan for 2018 to grant me that.

My personal life:

Um...  Maybe it won't suck quite so bad?


And now for these messages...

This is the spot in this yearly message where I talk about money.

First off, let me say a very sincere "Thank you" to everyone who made a donation in 2017.  Though we met our donation goal only once all year, what help you all were able to give made the difference between struggling to make the bills, and failing.

Now, in the new year, I will be leaving the monthly goal at $700.  Our debts have risen, and our medical expenses are higher, but if we receive the $700 each month, we would be able to make things work.  Please, if you have the ability to safely make a donation to us, do so.

I would like to point out, since I know that some people refuse to use PayPal for a number of reasons, that there are two other electronic methods you can use to send a donation:  A Walmart e-gift card, and an Amazon e-gift card.  As we have monthly expenses for both of these places, such gift cards would be just as useful to us as a PayPal donation.  (Just as an FYI, Walmart would be more useful than Amazon.  I can't buy groceries at Amazon... hehehe)  Just be aware that donations made this way will have to be handled manually, rather than getting your special access gift automatically.

In conclusion, let me just say that 2017 was a bad year for us.  Here's to hoping 2018 will be an improvement.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled... uh...  If you had something scheduled, you probably shouldn't be here reading this.  GET BACK TO WORK!!!

3dbig_smile

Regards,
Eric Storm


Please Remember:  The right to Freedom of Speech does not carry the proviso, "As long as it doesn't upset anyone."  The US Constitution does not grant you the right to not be offended.  If you don't like what someone's saying... IGNORE THEM.
----
AMEN! >>> Word Crimes

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#2 2018-01-02 05:56:07

Barbarian3165
Wasted
Registered: 2015-02-11
Posts: 233

Re: State of the Website, 2017/18

Have you considered asking for a $1.50 or $2.00 a month for subscriptions?  I know for some it may seem like a lot, but $18 to $24 per year is about what it costs for a trip out to a movie (evening ticket) for one person if they get popcorn, a drink and a candy.  At least, that is about what it costs out here where I live.  Just a suggestion.

Also, it seems counter intuitive to give people bonus time just because you exceed stated goal for a particular month.  Seems like a lot of people donate in January because they know they will get their allotted bonus.  Seems maybe it would be better if you gave bonuses based on something else.  Maybe give each month a small section of the alphabet and give bonuses to those whose name falls into their designated month.  Anyway, some scheme that might get people to donate on other months then January when it seems like people are guaranteed the bonus time.

Worth thinking about anyway.

Last edited by Barbarian3165 (2018-01-02 06:02:38)

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#3 2018-01-02 08:12:20

Elessar
Inebriated
Registered: 2009-10-28
Posts: 87

Re: State of the Website, 2017/18

I donate a couple times a year, not much usually a minimum. Why? Because that’s all that is needed for the entire year. I think if you raised the amount for the donation per month from $1 to say $3, it would go a long way. As your minimum $6 gives you half a year. That gives me no reason to donate more that half of the year. So would go from $12 a year per member to $36 per member.

I have personal opinions on a few things and they shall stay that way. I hope for the best and wish you luck.

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#4 2018-01-03 01:57:34

Eric Storm
Pub Owner
From: New Port Richey, FL
Registered: 2006-09-12
Posts: 3961
Website

Re: State of the Website, 2017/18

Barbarian: 

I'm not sure if you're just talking about raising the minimum donation from $6 to $9, or if you're actually advocating asking for a $1.50 donation every month.  There's a reason I don't ask for smaller donations: PayPal.  PayPal's fee structure is such that, the smaller the donation, the more of it they end up taking, percentage-wise.  They have a fixed 2.9% that they take out of each donation, but they also take 30¢ for each transaction.  So, in order for me to get $1 of your donation, I have to ask for $1.34, but in order to get $2, I only have to ask for $2.37, not $2.68.  This is why I chose $6 as my minimum to get a thank-you gift: up at that level, the 30¢ is less noticeable.

Now, as to your assertion that it "Seems like a lot of people donate in January because they know they will get their allotted bonus," the record does not bear this out.  January was our highest donation month in 2017, yes... but not in 2016 or 2015.  In fact, in those years, it wasn't even the second- or third- highest month.  What I wish the celebratory bonus would do is to cause a snowball effect, when we reach the $400 or $500 mark, so that people would donate trying to reach the $700 mark and get the bonus... but that doesn't seem to be happening lately.

Elessar wrote:

That gives me no reason to donate more that half of the year.

...Except to do what the donation is actually for, which is to help out the person you're making the donation to.  I looked, and what you're suggesting doing would affect about half of the active donors.  The other half are making donations beyond the minimums already.  The problem is that I can't convince myself that tripling the donation requirement for special access wouldn't drive away a significant fraction of these "minimum donors".  If I end up with only a third as many donors, I'm right back where I started from... only with a lot less good will coming my way.

Just for clarity:  An "active donor" is someone who currently has special access, and has made more than one donation.  The reason for ruling out the one-donation folks is that I have no way to know whether they will wait until their access expires before making another donation.

Ultimately, this comes down to the fact that I haven't been producing much content lately.  When I don't write, people don't donate.  I can hardly blame them for this.  Unfortunately, it is at the times when I'm not able to write that I most desperately need the financial help.

Eric Storm


Please Remember:  The right to Freedom of Speech does not carry the proviso, "As long as it doesn't upset anyone."  The US Constitution does not grant you the right to not be offended.  If you don't like what someone's saying... IGNORE THEM.
----
AMEN! >>> Word Crimes

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#5 2018-01-04 05:14:09

Barbarian3165
Wasted
Registered: 2015-02-11
Posts: 233

Re: State of the Website, 2017/18

The way I read your terms was a $1 donation per month with a minimum 6 months donation to get PRM access.  I advocate keeping the 6 month minimum but upping the donation from $1 per month to $1.50 or $2.00.  That would give you either $9.00 or $12.00 every 6 months.  Maybe do some polling on the site to see if a raise to $9 or $12 for six months access would upset too many people.  But I'd still consider upping the donation amount to help up your odds of getting that $700 per month.

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#6 2018-01-04 06:25:44

Eric Storm
Pub Owner
From: New Port Richey, FL
Registered: 2006-09-12
Posts: 3961
Website

Re: State of the Website, 2017/18

Yeah, you hit on my concern:  If you up the donation amount, but lose donors, then you've not gained anything.  I suppose I could do a poll... though maybe sending an email to those active donors might make more sense...

*shrugs*
Eric Storm


Please Remember:  The right to Freedom of Speech does not carry the proviso, "As long as it doesn't upset anyone."  The US Constitution does not grant you the right to not be offended.  If you don't like what someone's saying... IGNORE THEM.
----
AMEN! >>> Word Crimes

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#7 2018-01-04 10:34:14

Barbarian3165
Wasted
Registered: 2015-02-11
Posts: 233

Re: State of the Website, 2017/18

Another problem could be that those coming up on a renewal date that haven't seen a new Woodward Academy chapter might put off donating until a new chapter comes out. Sad but true, in my opinion.

Last edited by Barbarian3165 (2018-01-04 10:35:01)

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#8 2018-01-04 19:20:44

Eric Storm
Pub Owner
From: New Port Richey, FL
Registered: 2006-09-12
Posts: 3961
Website

Re: State of the Website, 2017/18

Barbarian3165 wrote:

Another problem could be that those coming up on a renewal date that haven't seen a new Woodward Academy chapter might put off donating until a new chapter comes out. Sad but true, in my opinion.

Eric Storm wrote:

Ultimately, this comes down to the fact that I haven't been producing much content lately.  When I don't write, people don't donate.

That's what I said.  3dbig_smile

Eric Storm


Please Remember:  The right to Freedom of Speech does not carry the proviso, "As long as it doesn't upset anyone."  The US Constitution does not grant you the right to not be offended.  If you don't like what someone's saying... IGNORE THEM.
----
AMEN! >>> Word Crimes

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#9 2018-01-14 20:07:53

Sdragon
Inebriated
From: USA
Registered: 2016-09-09
Posts: 24
Website

Re: State of the Website, 2017/18

Face it Eric, your talent and stories brings in the money, you're just that good.

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#10 2018-01-14 20:11:12

Eric Storm
Pub Owner
From: New Port Richey, FL
Registered: 2006-09-12
Posts: 3961
Website

Re: State of the Website, 2017/18

Oh, yeah?  Even if that were true, it gives me grave concerns about next year, after I finish WAY8.  I have no idea what to follow it up with.  Agent of Change does not seem to have received much of a reception, so I doubt that's going to bring in the readers...

*sigh*  Anyone want to just donate like $100,000, then I wouldn't have to worry about any of this shit anymore?  3dbig_smile

Eric Storm


Please Remember:  The right to Freedom of Speech does not carry the proviso, "As long as it doesn't upset anyone."  The US Constitution does not grant you the right to not be offended.  If you don't like what someone's saying... IGNORE THEM.
----
AMEN! >>> Word Crimes

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#11 2018-01-14 21:09:15

Augur
Inebriated
Registered: 2012-08-23
Posts: 79

Re: State of the Website, 2017/18

I do like Agent of Change, Eric. Still, for now it´s an undeveloped world, you are just setting up the basic world situation, characters, etc.  The challenges and adversaries, character development will come in future chapters. That´s the reason It´s hard to compare it to the WAY stories.

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#12 2018-01-14 22:07:19

Eric Storm
Pub Owner
From: New Port Richey, FL
Registered: 2006-09-12
Posts: 3961
Website

Re: State of the Website, 2017/18

It is unlikely to ever compare to the WAY series.  I'm only anticipating a maximum of three books in the AoC series.  And even that could reduce all the way down to one book, if I decide to condense things.

Eric Storm


Please Remember:  The right to Freedom of Speech does not carry the proviso, "As long as it doesn't upset anyone."  The US Constitution does not grant you the right to not be offended.  If you don't like what someone's saying... IGNORE THEM.
----
AMEN! >>> Word Crimes

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#13 2018-01-16 04:04:38

fathertyme
Inebriated
From: Second star to the right
Registered: 2009-02-18
Posts: 81

Re: State of the Website, 2017/18

I think WAY has gotten the reception it has because of the complexity of the world. There are so many details involved. You created an ENTIRE world and populated it.

The humor and story elements are great, but it seems to me that most questions are about the world, the magic, or even the creatures there in, not the character (most, not all)

So the possibility exists (*assuming you don't just kill everyone off at the end of WAY8*) that you could either continue david's story, or write other stories in the same universe. Introduce us to new students at the school, or follow the paths of other students we have met (Flo, or Jess, or even Bisperion for that fact)

To me it seems that unless you have no more tales to tell in this world, you could continue to share more of it with us

my 2 cents, and probably worth significantly less 3dtongue

-tyme

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#14 2018-01-16 04:06:20

fathertyme
Inebriated
From: Second star to the right
Registered: 2009-02-18
Posts: 81

Re: State of the Website, 2017/18

Besides if anyone donated 100k, you'd lose a good chunk to paypal, then probably end up having to file taxes on the rest (not that I have anything even close to 100k laying around looking for a home.)

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#15 2018-01-16 08:37:03

Eric Storm
Pub Owner
From: New Port Richey, FL
Registered: 2006-09-12
Posts: 3961
Website

Re: State of the Website, 2017/18

Paypal would take $2900.30  (2.9%, plus 30¢.  I wonder if they'd waive the 30¢ at that point... heh)

As to taxes, I wouldn't have to pay any.  Gift taxes are paid by the giver, not the recipient, and even then only if they've managed to exceed the insanely large lifetime gift tax exclusion amount.  For purposes of the IRS, a monetary gift isn't even considered income.

And $97,099.70 would still handle our financial problems just fine. 

3dsmile

Eric Storm


Please Remember:  The right to Freedom of Speech does not carry the proviso, "As long as it doesn't upset anyone."  The US Constitution does not grant you the right to not be offended.  If you don't like what someone's saying... IGNORE THEM.
----
AMEN! >>> Word Crimes

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#16 2018-01-16 08:39:49

Eric Storm
Pub Owner
From: New Port Richey, FL
Registered: 2006-09-12
Posts: 3961
Website

Re: State of the Website, 2017/18

As to continuing David's story... or indeed any student's story from the endpoint of book 8... what the hell would you follow up a war with?  It would be just a huge let-down.  No, if I write more in this universe (and I'm not in any way ruling it out), it would need to be separated from this section of time that I'm currently writing about.  Or it would have to talk about a different area, like talking about the people in Mirelia or something.

Eric Storm


Please Remember:  The right to Freedom of Speech does not carry the proviso, "As long as it doesn't upset anyone."  The US Constitution does not grant you the right to not be offended.  If you don't like what someone's saying... IGNORE THEM.
----
AMEN! >>> Word Crimes

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#17 2018-01-16 13:06:57

Barbarian3165
Wasted
Registered: 2015-02-11
Posts: 233

Re: State of the Website, 2017/18

The war is going to last what 17 months (chapters) at most?  Provided it starts soon that is...  I figured this kind of war could last years and be another series of books in the world, lasting four or five years... maybe following the antics of a squad, platoon, or battalion in the war.  David could even make an appearance, although I could see the girl from the sword and staff class, can't remember her name, leading the group being followed in the war.

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#18 2018-01-16 18:37:51

fathertyme
Inebriated
From: Second star to the right
Registered: 2009-02-18
Posts: 81

Re: State of the Website, 2017/18

AS much as I wish it were not true, I am not a writer.

Accepting that as a given, I also do not know how bad or easy the war will be. A devastating war could open up stories of rebuilding, or surviving under enemy rule (viva la resistance?). A short victorious war can still lead to interesting changes. Promotions, opportunities to shine, or not. Perhaps Joanne manages to gather together a group of Rimohrs and succeeds in defending an orphanage, or Wilson is found to be in collusion with the enemy out of spite and greed.

You could write a story about a young spellcaster who grows up to become the king, and then has his thinking adjusted not just by a good demighost, but through discovery that some races he thought were evil are in fact not, that some races he thought benign, are just biding their time..

Thats just a small sample of the ideas I can think of. As for how compelling they would be..... You, my good sir, are the author. That would be your challenge. The hard part, the world building, has mostly been done

-Tyme

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#19 2018-01-16 19:34:17

Eric Storm
Pub Owner
From: New Port Richey, FL
Registered: 2006-09-12
Posts: 3961
Website

Re: State of the Website, 2017/18

Of course I cannot comment on any of this without giving away important details concerning book 8, so...

Eric Storm


Please Remember:  The right to Freedom of Speech does not carry the proviso, "As long as it doesn't upset anyone."  The US Constitution does not grant you the right to not be offended.  If you don't like what someone's saying... IGNORE THEM.
----
AMEN! >>> Word Crimes

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#20 2018-01-21 07:16:45

Sdragon
Inebriated
From: USA
Registered: 2016-09-09
Posts: 24
Website

Re: State of the Website, 2017/18

I happen to like Agent, but I understand where you are coming from. You closed off the CAMP universe fairly solidly, WA-David series will be finished soon, maybe CASS could be your next great opus. Then again what do I know, I just drive a forklift in a very cold environment for 10 hours a day

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#21 2018-01-26 01:43:26

Medic12700
Tipsy
Registered: 2015-05-15
Posts: 2

Re: State of the Website, 2017/18

I really like AoC, but you know that, and am looking forward to reading more of it.

As a thought, you could do as much of the WA world as you like I would think. You could write about before David’s time. Like the adventures of the Demi ghost that David met when he died (Jacob?), or the time the lord Woodward was alive.

Just a thought

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#22 2018-01-26 01:52:20

Eric Storm
Pub Owner
From: New Port Richey, FL
Registered: 2006-09-12
Posts: 3961
Website

Re: State of the Website, 2017/18

I actually do have a story idea for during the Second Were War, when Lord Woodward was building/defending Castle Quonlimac (it wasn't Castle Woodward at that point).  The story does not revolve around Lord Woodward, but a young (15-ish) military intern with less than stellar wizarding powers.

I don't know if it will ever get written, however, as I don't have a fleshed-out plot for it.

Eric Storm


Please Remember:  The right to Freedom of Speech does not carry the proviso, "As long as it doesn't upset anyone."  The US Constitution does not grant you the right to not be offended.  If you don't like what someone's saying... IGNORE THEM.
----
AMEN! >>> Word Crimes

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#23 2018-01-26 14:59:46

brewbox
Tipsy
Registered: 2016-09-18
Posts: 4

Re: State of the Website, 2017/18

Re; donations.  Perhaps there is too much free stuff here. There is little incentive to donate when we can read whole series for free. How about two, three of four free chapters as a taster and the remainder available after a donation? The Magus stories for instance, 12000 downloads at 2$ a pop!
Just a thought

Keep well
Brew

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#24 2018-01-26 15:37:15

madviking
Tipsy
Registered: 2012-06-23
Posts: 5

Re: State of the Website, 2017/18

Regarding contributions:
If any of you find this pub as refreshing and valuable as I do, remember; There is no maximum donation amount.

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#25 2018-01-26 17:36:55

Eric Storm
Pub Owner
From: New Port Richey, FL
Registered: 2006-09-12
Posts: 3961
Website

Re: State of the Website, 2017/18

brewbox:

What you're describing is called a "pay site".  I promised when I started taking donations that it would never become that.  Also, I'd like to point out that, if I were to do that, I would have to find a payment processor other than PayPal, who does not allow its service to be used for selling adult content.  (That is why your donation to me is NOT a subscription, or in any way related to the website, and legally entitles you to nothing at all.  Any access you get after your donation is merely a thank-you gift from me.)

Eric Storm


Please Remember:  The right to Freedom of Speech does not carry the proviso, "As long as it doesn't upset anyone."  The US Constitution does not grant you the right to not be offended.  If you don't like what someone's saying... IGNORE THEM.
----
AMEN! >>> Word Crimes

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