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Blog notification problems

Sunday 11/1/20

Up late watching Val Lewton films and trying to trouble shoot.

One of the biggest fans of this blog wrote me today after they had seen a television segment somewhere in which something I wrote had been discussed, to ask if I still do this blog, which was pretty concerning. They're the second person in as many days to tell me that they are not getting email updates for when there is a new blog entry. And that first person--and maybe this second person, too, it seems--just never checked the site to see if there might be anything new here. In months.

The way this is supposed to work is that if sign up for the blog, you'll receive an email when there's a new post, but to be honest, I hoped that'd be superfluous. What I wanted to happen was that people would just learn the drill pretty quickly--that there's always new content on the blog, on the site, in the News section. New links to pieces, new links to radio and podcast sound, news about books.

Most writers don't do that much. They have very static sites which will change once every five years or whatever. The goal/thinking here was that people would simply realize that this site was always changing and there was always something new--it's meant to be a living, breathing museum, an interactive book, an immersive experience, a hangout spot, a clubhouse--and they'd simply visit and see what that was, rather than rely on email notifications.

I don't necessarily put up a new blog post every day, but I average more than one a day. (This entry, for instance, puts us right under 850 total entries, and the blog has only existed since June 2018. To put that another way, about seventy-five entries make a full book's worth--and I do write all of this as a series of books that will be published at some point between hard covers as a series of books.) Some days there are four. It depends.

I don't even believe this person new that my first novel just came out, and they're someone I think would really like it. So this is really worrisome on a couple fronts--the technical one, and just in terms of the thinking behind the site and blog. I mean, do people really not know to come here and they won't unless they get 365 email notifications a year, or whatever the number is? That's really not what I'm going for. I checked the settings, and it does say that those notifications should be coming in, but the Wix platform is certainly bug-y, and given the volume of the posts, there was a tendency for those notifications to end up in spam files all along even if there are no issues and all is working as it should be.

Everything I publish and write--for the most part--and every interview I give is worked conversationally into this journal/blog somehow, with a link when a link is available. (If I describe a short story I began writing that day, obviously I don't have a link for it--but I do give a thorough account of my works as I write them, in real time, in a way that no other artist in history ever has. I am very conscious of what I am able to document here and what this record means and will mean.) Any new link is also immediately listed in the News section. The other sections on the site are incomplete right now, though there are plenty of links in each of them.

The reason they are incomplete is because it's a huge job archiving the links from my always expanding master list, which itself is incomplete and only goes back ten years or so. I have published 2500 works in my career to date, so it's pretty onerous even getting up a quarter of that. Plus, I'd been hacked--and impersonated in emails in an attempt to reroute my magazine payments to a would-be thief--and my list of older items was destroyed (among other precious things). I could search on Google for my work in The Nation, the San Francisco Chronicle, The New Yorker, etc., but I haven't done that yet. (And as someone always trying to move forward in every way and get out of this hell I am in, looking back on my career in 2006 or whatever isn't something I want to be doing right now, though for historical and artistic purposes, I'm going to have to do it at some point.) I am working on making those sections--the Music one, the Short fiction one, the Film one, the Literature one--more complete. The Op-ed, On air, Sports sections are pretty close to up to date.

But let's say a new music piece comes out this coming week. It's not going to be in the Music section yet, until I'm caught up on the last couple of years of music links first, but it will be mentioned and linked to in this blog, and it will be in the News section, so you do have two places right from the jump to see it. (As a good rule of thumb: Just go to the News section if you want a quick, easy to access summary/list of recent developments.) And then, finally, it will be archived in the Music section. I'll have to just take a week and sit there and get up more of those links, at which point I'll explicitly share on here that I have done so.

Anyway. I'm not sure what to do. I was hoping that people would understand how this works and just keep coming to the site and the blog--which would be saved in one's browser history, so you'd type in the first two or three letters and the rest auto-fills and away you go--and whether or not they visited wouldn't be entirely dependent on getting an email, which apparently now is not even coming.

I am going to try to put together an newsletter this week for the new novel, Meatheads Say the Realest Things. My problem isn't that I don't have things that millions of people can't and won't love--it's visibility. It's always visibility. Whether that's with being blackballed by an entire industry, that there is not a single person in any capacity in this industry working on my behalf at any level, or problems like the one detailed here. The issue is always ultimately visibility for me, not what is on offer. You can make a fortune and change this world with what is on offer. But enough people have to know it's out there, then learn what it is, experience it, and begin to understand the person and force behind all of it.

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