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Friday, November 23, 2007

My First Royalty Check (and an Internet discussion)

I got $8.98 Australian for my first Royalty Check. Not much, in Author Superstar terms, but this reflects that I currently have people interested in my work.

This also reflects that although some may frown on Lulu Authors as unprofessional, because I have been paid for my efforts, no matter how small the payment, it is my first foray into professional writing.

Will Self and his ilk can cram it for all I care. Money talks, and intellectual snobbery doesn't even walk, it just sits at its armchair and complains about how people who are using the New Media of the Internet to make a name for themselves are encouraging supposed mediocrity.

I also recieved encouragement from friends and internet forum buddies that showed me that the Internet can be more than just an ideological battleground, it is a wild land, not so much a jungle of mediocrity, but an untamed, digital intellectual biosphere, that like the real environment in the physical world, must not be destroyed by Internet trolls and those who merely use it to rant and rave their own ideas with violently verbal arguments. If the internet is to become "civilised", we must not make the mistakes of the British and Roman Empires of colonialism, and the noble savages of the Internet, those who started it as a peaceful Eden of the expression of thought and forum of peaceful discussion, must not be murdered and have their land taken from them. In order to make the Internet a better place, we must work together with the traditional medias and the Netizens of the world, for a better Information Highway, a well build road of trade, safe travel, and the lack of constant attack, quite unlike the marauder infested road more akin to the Mad Max movies than the safe Information Highway it once was.

I dislike "Writer's Group" forums, as these groups often attack Lulu and Self-published Authors and claim that they are not Authors at all. I have experienced much backlash for arguing with rigid traditionalists, quite unlike the peaceful traditional-press published Authors who have given me a good deal of support on other forums that have more merit to them. I could address the bias against Fantasy Authors that occurs on the Internet and elsewhere, however that is a whole 'nother discussion altogether. I long have since abandoned MySpace, since it was bought by that media mogul Rupert Murdoch, as I dislike major corporations taking over websites that were once for the people, and not concerned with corporate profit. I have boycotted Facebook, because I have read several articles about unreasonable collection of personal data that goes on there, that you can find in the Sydney Morning Herald Archives. I also have boycotted Facebook because although it provides a useful service of connecting with old school friends, it comes at the price of your privacy. Which is why I consider Blogger to be my chief outlet of my web presence, as well as the fabulously intriguing new web-cataloging site, which does not collect personal information for the purpose of selling it, it is entirely a benevolent entity that is for the sole purpose of booklovers and a love of literature and the Arts in general. And I dearly hope and expect that it stays that way.

MySpace was an entirely useless waste of exhibitionist drivel that used the fixation of celebrity (and now, Web-Celebrity) to exploit the egos of the masses who wanted their 15 minutes of fame, and most never got it. Not only that, but the friend adding system was incredibly annoying, you add one band that you like, and then every band on the damned site wanted your "friendship", even though they barely knew you, and had no interest in you other than to use you to spread the word about their music, whether they be talented or not, to others. And then there was the fixation of MySpacers who had committed suicide and posted their suicide notes on their MySpaces for the world to see. Suicide is a tragedy in itself, and ever since Romeo and Juliet, The Sorrows of Young Werther, and even Ozzy Osbourne's song Suicide Solution, a cult of the suicide has been established, and the Internet has been used to express sorrow in a way that the shy and powerless felt comfortable using. In Japan, suicide has its own chat groups on the web. But that has as much to do with the suicide culture of Bushido, or "death before dishonour", as the Internet being a place that influences the young and depressed. MySpace became a phenomenon where the cult of self-destruction came to the West, and copycat MySpace suicides appeared in varying frequency, reported in newspapers that used the shock and horror of teenage suicide to shamelessly exploit the fears of parents to not only sell papers, but to market fear, causing parents to restrict Internet use of teenagers.

The appeal of MySpace and Facebook was that young people would have a place of their own, not having parents over their shoulders when they expressed themselves, but I have heard horror stories of paedophiles stalking MySpacers, and bosses checking employee's MySpace and Facebook activities to judge their suitability to work for them. What the young and ignorant did not realise is that the Internet is a place where the whole world is watching you, for good or ill. I place myself under significant risk by posting this very message, as some of you may think I am a ranting teenager with no idea about the subject I speak of.

But here is my somewhat uplifting conclusion:

Hopefully as technology changes, it will change for the better. But every web surfer must take account of the waves in the digital sea, and make sure they are not caught in the riptides of self-oriented Egocentrism. The Internet is bigger than everybody, that's a fact. It's all our digital world, we just live in it.

- Jacob Martin
AKA TeenAuthor

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