Saturday, 19 August 2017

180 Years of Thanet Social Media and Some Thoughts on Getting Paid for Writing

John Mockett farmer and churchwarden in St Peter’s Thanet around 1800 was the first person in Thanet to have a go at something very like social media albeit without the internet. Fortunately he did get his writings published in 1836.

You know this is going to lead to a buy it now button, sample pages – bad for Thanet local history addicts, but what the heck here it is

I don’t think John got paid, my guess is he paid the printer, not sure how he feels about me producing a cheap reprint, ok I suspect. There will be automated print on demand e-books and so on; but you know how it is.

An original copy Published by The Kentish Observer, in 1836 will set you back about £500; but you know how it is.

Another extract from his writing 

Every so often because I am in the bookshop business I have to speak to an accountant, this often starts with a sucking air in through the teeth sound, which indicates to me there will be a bill at some future time, from the accountant.

These days in the bookshop, despite my efforts to look out to lunch, among the bookshop customers, who can be described as roughly falling into the following types:-

Local history addict. Someone who despite my warnings has become addicted to the history of this area and has to use the bookshop as a local history resource, most of these also buy local history books form time to time, with the proviso that I have the ones they want, need haven’t got, have a worse edition, copy of.   

Interester. Someone who has an interest in something to the point they have a collection of books about the subject. This can be anything from Napoleonic military uniforms to unidentified flying objects. You would think the internet and all the modern technologies would have finished off, but it hasn’t.

Fiction Reader. Someone who to a greater or lesser extent is always reading a story. There has been a bit of a bumpy ride with this one, due to the Kindle, e-book and various bits of technology taking up so much time. slowly things on this front are settling down and I think our fiction book sales are higher than they have ever been.

Where was I oh yes among bookshop customers, who don’t necessarily seem to fit in to anything, is a group of people trying to. What? Perhaps they are trying to work out what’s going on. Perhaps they are anthropologists even without knowing it. Perhaps they are shoppers looking for the – long closed shops in King Street, selling, furniture, handbags, plumbing equipment, fishing tackle, pharmaceuticals, etc. recent in particularly. I have had some surrealist conversations with people in the bookshop who it transpires, want to buy one of the seats, pens, pencils, which are at least there, although obviously not for sale, to people who want to buy something that obviously isn’t here. I am coming to think of these people as the deprived, they want the shops that aren’t here anymore – however there aren’t enough of them, not enough demand for the shops to be here.

Anyway the other day I wrote a post about Homebasics going on the market  and in the complex way the internet works the comment wound up on Facebook, and some of the comment had misinterpreted what I said into me saying the bookshop would close, I have no plans to close.

The whole can of worms surrounding how the relationship between the writer and the reader works, and particularly how the writer and the people facilitating this relationship get paid, is something I find interesting.

It’s complex, I write this blog and don’t get paid, however as I mention my bookshop, people presumably buy books, however accountant types generally seem to be of the opinion that bookshops, in fact most shops, are not a good idea in terms of making money.

The whole business the writer writing something and people reading it and the writer getting paid something, so they can live and write something else, seems to confound them, accountant types - that is. I think they see a future here where the writer writes something and puts it on the internet beside an advertisement for something, often something someone else has written, which somehow pays the writer.

There are parallels here where there is an isolated community with an economy based on stealing each other’s washing. There is also a sense in which the problem extends to other non food shops.

But I will stick with the book business, because I understand it better.

Literature is to some extent an art form, a lot of people think reading, particularly reading books is good thing, libraries are mostly paid for out of some form of taxation and the other arts are often heavily subsidised.

Before the recent advances in technology most writing had to be paid for, because it was too difficult and expensive to copy. Battles over copyright tended to be between giants.

Also before advances in technology the money seemed to be spread out more evenly, now some authors get huge amounts of money, while some very good new authors who once would have at least got enough to go on writing in a garret, after the acceptance of their first book, well they don’t anymore. Get enough money that is.

Now when it comes to how many people read what I write on my thanetonline blog, the counter wosisname on the side is an option that Google provide as part of the blog and I don’t think it would be easy to fiddle. So if I were to claim a lot more hits than I get I think people would soon start to say something. What it says is that it gets about 1,000 hits a day, so this begs the question, how many hits a day would it need to stop me starving in my garret?

So if I were to have Google advertising on this blog (don’t worry I don’t intend to) and assuming 1,000 readers a day, anyone want to have a guess at roughly how much I would get in advertising revenue?

The answer appears to be about 30p, making a giant leap in maths I think if this blog had 10,000 readers a day this would produce £3. I think a living wage is about £400 per week, in the £60 a day ballpark.

Tenuous stuff but of course all related to your price, and the answer is yes of course I would, at some level.

I think the most pressing areas of this are local news and specialist non-fiction, both areas where I have had a bit of try at. On this blog with the news, where the constrictions because of the small area the news relates to has a limited number of readers and of course with local physical books where the same thing applies.

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