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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

I’m not quitting — you can’t make me leave

You’re trying your damnedest, Universe. But you’ll have to try harder. (Note: Please don’t try harder.)

As you will have noticed, this week, trailers and Doctor Who Things went away. If you enjoyed them, I’m sorry.

It was almost exactly four years ago — in May 2010 — that I decided to start pouring all my time and effort into my work here. (I had been doing other unrelated editorial freelance work that was unsatisfying, absurdly low-paying, and sometimes both.) Traffic was good enough that, I reasoned, with even more attention, I could build this site into something that would bring in enough ad revenue and patron donations/subscription fees that I could make a reasonable (ie, above poverty level) living from this criticism racket.

But ad revenue, which had never been significant to start with unless a site is getting millions of pageviews per day, plummeted across the Web. And all my efforts to increase readership — such as implementing recurring daily posts like the trailers and DW things — brought only fly-by visitors, and few who stuck around to offer financial support of my work.

(Traffic is up significantly around here over the past few years, but most of that, it seems, is down to how the IMDb made links to my reviews more prominent, and a recent change in Google’s algorithm that is smarter about highlighting quality sites over crappy ones. Both of those are Good Things, and testaments to my work here. But still.)

I kept telling myself: The thing that’s gonna make the site take off in a big way is just around the corner. I can’t quit before I find it. I told myself that the decision to quit would be easy if no one was reading this site. I mean, obviously: why keep beating a dead horse? But this horse ain’t dead. It might not be a thoroughbred, but it’s a solid, reliable racer — around 100,000 people visit FlickFilosopher.com every month, which not something a lot of one-person-sites of any racing stripe can say — so it would be stupid to give up. Something has to give eventually, right?

Nothing has given.

Eventually is, clearly, never going to come.

But don’t worry: I’m not quitting.

What I am doing is getting back to my core mission: movies, movies, movies (with a little bit of Doctor Who episode blogging thrown in… and no, I haven’t forgotten about the latest Sherlocks, either).

For the past four years, I have basically been running an online magazine on my own. To no avail. (Even before 2010, I was doing magazine-y type stuff, like the Question of the Day and screencap quizzes and giveaways.) So it’s time to try something different.

Maybe less will be more. And by less, I don’t mean fewer reviews. I just mean less of the ancillary stuff.

I have to say, even though it’s only been a few days, it’s nice to be off the treadmill of mandatory daily postings. Even if I was the only slavedriver cracking the whip on me.

(I’ll see how long I can keep the Movie Cheat Sheet email newsletter and the what-to-stream posts going. Because I think they have potential to bring in new readers and subscribers. Of course, I thought that, too, about all the other stuff I’m now stopping. *sigh*)

Warning: There will be days with no posts. This Friday is looking to be one of those days: I’ve got a bunch of screenings on the schedule (four, if I can make it to all of them). You can sign up with the Daily Digest — use the form in the sidebar — if you want to get a once-a-day email notification of the day’s new posts. (Obviously, I won’t send an email on days when there are no posts.)

I had this dream that I could get the site bringing in enough money that I could not only pay myself a living wage but also hire someone to help me with the grunt work. That never happened, of course… and now, a lot of the stuff I’m giving up is stuff I would have offloaded to that imaginary wonderful assistant.

Oh well. On to the next thing.

The next thing (simultaneous with the ongoing criticism, of course)? Fiction. People are still willing to pay for fiction. The first thing will be a science-fiction adventure serial. You’ll hear about it when it’s ready.

posted in:
maryann buzz
  • LaSargenta

    Ooooooh…fiction! Like the rest of that Dr. Who fanfic that’s been in an eternal ellipsis?

  • Danielm80

    The last paragraph is great news, and I look forward to reading the first chapter.

    Those of us who appreciate intelligent, feminist film reviews (and I hope that’s more than a tiny minority) will still be here reading whenever you have a chance to post.

  • I may warm up my fiction muscles by finally getting back to that story.

  • Judy

    It’s always lovely to see you in my In-box, but if it isn’t daily, I’ll wait with eager anticipation for the next posting! Glad it feels like a bit of a relief from the treadmill!

  • cinderkeys

    For what it’s worth, the reviews are what I come for. I’m quite happy that there won’t be fewer of them.

  • I think this will be a good change, getting back to basics. More movie reviews! :D

  • althea

    What they said. Yours are the onlly reviews I pay much attention to, and while I’ve enjoyed a lot of the extra stuff, I don’t usually read all, or even much, of it. And I’ve wondered how on earth you put in so much time and still make all the screenings. However you get it under control is fine with me. If it means there will be some great litracher to come out of it, all the better.

  • RogerBW

    I don’t always have something pithy or useful to say about the reviews, but I do always find them interesting. I hope the reduced writing pressure helps keep things on an even-ish keel.

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