I started blogging five years ago with a little website called d20 Dark Ages, where I joined the bandwagon of Old School Renaissance writers, critics, and authors to lament the current state of Dungeons & Dragons.
D&D had lost much of its appeal because of D&D 4e, and D&D 5e didn’t seem to be all that promising. I was going through the motions like so many others. To admit to yourself that something you once loved and enjoyed does so no longer is a bitter pill to swallow. Though I was late to the party, I ranted and raved with the best of them.
The OSR blog-o-sphere had already peaked, as prominent OSR bloggers when dark or would use OSR as a marketing tool to peddle their own old school merchandise.
Why should I buy your retro-clone RPG?
Because its old school.
Ah… here’s my money.
Meanwhile, I’d written the first draft of a 75,000-word novel, and had no idea what to do next. So I continued to gripe about Dungeons & Dragons.
Then I shut down d20 Dark Ages and started a previous incarnation of The Word of Stelios. It would be my author platform. I’d finish that novel, write some short stories and put my name out there.
Yet instead I ranted about tabletop gaming as a whole. I did this for about a year using a different website hosting service than d20 Dark Ages. The website drew very little traffic. Not even web bots liked it enough to stop by.
So I switched to WordPress.
Okay, now I’ll launch my writer’s platform. Now I’ll get that novel done and write a bunch of stories and become a popular self-published author and make a living with the power of the written word.
Instead I ranted about tabletop gaming even more. The capstone of this being The Art of Wargaming–which isn’t done. It’s sat on the to-be-revised pile (along with that 75,000-word novel and a number of other projects).
In recent weeks, I’ve changed the focus of this website to military history of religion, where I’m going to talk about the…
Blah blah blah.
When will the cycle stop? When will I finish what I start?
Around the same time I launched d20 Dark Ages, I’d read somewhere (maybe it was in Writers Digest, maybe it was on JA Konrath’s A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing, I don’t recall), where an agent wanted his author to knuckle down and write the sequel to her first book, but the author wanted to set up her website and start marketing her current book.
The agent explained how today’s readers don’t want a one-hit wonder. Authors need to prove they have staying power to readers. They need a back list, even if its one or two books. This is one reason trilogies or series are so popular.
And there I was (and here I am), an author with a website but without a book.
Could I have been successful with a website first? I don’t know. Maybe I should have done better marketing and reaching out on social media. Anyway, at least I tried.
I don’t regret these last five years, and The Word of Stelios will be around for the foreseeable future. But now its time to knuckle down, put the website on the back-burner for a while so the real work can commence.
See you in a month or two.