(Before reading my State Of The CDP Speech, please head on over to Spork Nation and read the glowing book review for 65 Poor Life Decisions!)
2007 is somberly over. It’s been good to me; one of the better years on record, if I may say so myself. No bankruptcy, no prison time, no divorces and no brain-damaging injuries.
PIES! PIES! PIES! PIES! PIES! P–
Sorry about that. As it turns out, I actually did suffer a brain-damaging injury a while back.
Moving on, I wanted to take this time to spotlight the goals of the CDP for 2008. 2007, while amazing and far exceeding my expectations, was relatively unplanned and fly-by-night. Next year, I want to be aware of the changes made before they happen, as I can have more of an iron-fisted handle on my rise to Worldwide Mediocrity.
For your consideration, here are the five major changes I will be making to the CDP over the course of January & February 2008, which will then be implemented throughout the year:
1. Completely redesign the merch. I’m changing printing companies, which will allow me to do more things and get more creative; hopefully coming up with some things you’ll want to buy. No more of this ‘CDP BBQ Apron’ crap, if I wouldn’t want it in my own house, I don’t plan on designing it.
This has always been the case, but it bears repeating that any profits I make off of merch sales and donations go straight back into the CDP. I’m not putting that money towards my student loans, I’m paying domain costs, funding promotional stuff and using your money to make the CDP a better place to be entertained. I couldn’t bring myself to spend it any other way.
2. Completely redesigning the links section. I want the CDP to be more of a place to promote myself and my upcoming writing work (‘cuz I’m an egotistical ass), so I’ll be doing away with random links that I like to visit on a personal level (ie: Snopes, Fark, places that don’t need my seal of approval). In its place will be links to interviews I’ve done, press, classic CDP posts and of course, the almighty CDP Network, which will be expanding to almost freakish levels.
Speaking of the CDP Network, I’ve been kicking around the idea of starting a collaborative blog with members of the CDP Network functioning as freelance writers. This idea came to me when I noticed that many funny people didn’t have time to start blogs of their own. I said to myself, “I should start a blog for these people!” The jist would be that I get 10 people or so that are willing to write funny stories for free two or three times a month, and just go to town. That’s a far-off goal, however; I’ll keep you posted.
3. Redesigning the look and feel of the site. 2007 was the only year I didn’t overhaul the design, and it’s due for one. I plan on making very slight changes to the overall landscape that will hopefully attract new fans and please existing ones. The main focus of the page is, and will always be, the writing and reader interaction, so that will not change a bit. What I do want to change is the raw appearance; perhaps even add a message board to accommodate the increasing community. That would be amazing.
I can’t pretend that nobody reads my blog anymore. I had 16,000 hits this month and sold almost 100 copies of my debut book in just three weeks. I run a small business now, for better or for worse, and I need to do what I can to make it great. Most of it lies in generating entertaining stuff that people want to read. Some of it lies in just making the site nice to look at. Check and mate.
4. Do more reader-interactive things. The Mix-Tape Trade was a huge success, and the amount of mail order I’ve been doing with fans suggests that people really want to be a part of this ever-growing cult atmosphere. Expect more Trades, more Madison Meet-Ups and more Live Video Chats. We can take this thing to a different level next year, and it really isn’t all that hard.
Call me a jerk, but I never was a fan of getting to know people that read the CDP in the past. It was mainly due to my low self-esteem and fear of coming off like a terrible person. Now that I’ve been given the opportunity to meet creative, like-minded people and grow as a writer, it would be foolish of me to avoid these chances when they arrive. We’re all different, but we come together for a specific reason, and I’m going to try to create new and interesting things to cultivate that.
5. Compete with the elite. The CDP has reached a point where it has risen above the bulk of most personal ‘hobby’ blogs, and is now sitting just below ‘major’ blogs; the ones that are full-time, hire writing staff and have lots of sponsorship cash and ad revenue behind them. While I’ll never turn the CDP into a fountain of ads, hired staff writers and marketing goals (ie: a serious business), I think we can compete with those folks and rattle their cages a bit. We’re the dark horse, the underdog, the turd in the punchbowl. They’re the top of the heap. We can invade without compromise. I believe this wholeheartedly.
Any time I notice a mediocre page getting more traffic than me, it’s almost always due to mainstream attention. This is usually because the page in question is quirky, trashy, cashing in on the flavor-of-the-moment, or all of the above. Personally, I’d rather have 10 devoted fans than a million superficial ones, so statistics matter none to me. What I do care about is the fact that we can find a million devoted people out there, simply through the hard work and word-of-mouth that’s gotten us this far. Every year, traffic for the CDP has almost doubled. If we can do this again in 2008, there will be absolutely no more denying our presence in the Blogopshere.
Sounds like a plan to me, kids. Moving on, by the end of 2008, my goal is to accomplish at least one of the following on a personal level:
1. Maintain a weight of around 155 pounds (lightweight) through minimal exercise and paying closer attention to what I shovel into my head. Get back to size Small shirts fitting nicely, as opposed to producing that unsightly pooch whenever I sit down.
2. Make a bare-bones effort to learn guitar, as it would make me appear more literate, attractive, sensitive and attractive. Give myself the opportunity to write songs and perform before I turn 30 and officially lose any marketable appeal I once had.
3. Have the first draft of my next book completed. I already have 20 essays in pre-production, and they’re some of the best stories I’ve ever written. The next book will be completely separate from the CDP; 100% original stuff that will make me the most popular author since James Frey. Wait, what? He did!?
4. Learn from my spending decisions and save at least $50 a month more than I did in 2007. Build up the savings account and allow myself to sleep more peacefully at night. Learn that weekly pay-per-views, constant unnecessary purchases and going out to eat every night is not the way that people in my tax bracket should live. Buy an iPhone to stay on track.
5. Take whatever sucks about having me as a husband, and make it a little better than it was last year. What sucks about having me as a husband is yet to be determined, if you ask me.
So that pretty much does it. 2007 has been incredible, and 2008 will be even better. The CDP is pushing 4 years of age, Post #700 is fast approaching, my book is still selling well and I haven’t yet messed it all up somehow. If you need me, I’ll be taking a much-needed vacation at a B&B in Annandale Minnesota for the next few days, free of television, internet connections and phones.
Thank you all so much for a great year. Sound off in the comments section; the CDP will return with regular programming on Monday, January 7.
COMING JANUARY ’08:
New Site Redesign!
All-New CDP Merch!
The Return Of Lost Monday!
More 65 Poor Life Decisions Press & Reviews!
Oh, Maybe Some Funny Stories, Too.