How do you find my stuff?
I know a lot of people find my stuff from google. But the google searches that bring them here bring them to a single post about Death Note, and then they leave forever, sometimes after pooping in a comments section that I steadfastly refuse to allow to expand. Go find someplace meaningful to holler. But broadly speaking, if you read this, it’s because you read something else I said, probably yesterday.
There are dozens of you. At least more than two dozens of you.
Today, I got up and had an idea, a vision, a creative drive for my work, and I decided today, I would do the t-shirt design for January. Yeah I know. Anyway, I did a design which I thought up before I went to bed, it made me laugh, and I went and set it up. Like, sure, it’s up there with ‘Groverwatch’ for ‘two things mashed together,’ but whatever. Here’s the design.
Now, I did something very silly once I had this design made. See, I put it up on Redbubble, and when I posted it, despite it being an artwork of basically a thumb with a smile and a top hat, and being composed of elements I drew entirely by myself, using a digital art program I have the right to use, I decided to add the tag ‘quagsire’ to the artwork when I put it on Redbubble.
Five minutes later, I got a note from Redbubble saying, hey, we’re suspending this item until we can review it. And hey, maybe that’ll happen. Maybe this design will, in fact, get reviewed, and everything will be fine, in the morning, or in a week, or in a month. I have no idea. I can’t have any idea. This is something they do because they need to make sure that certain copyright stakeholders aren’t going to get mad at them for selling things (though there absolutely are more infringing works that are absolutely still available on their site, and they’re hard for me to report).
I’m not complaining here, not really. I mean not in any way that I think will fix anything so I’m just having a grouse at having a day of work producing nothing I can use, which is a bummer and puts me further behind. But anyway, the thing is, if I hadn’t tagged my work as an artwork of a quagsire, then odds are good it’d just go up and Redbubble would investigate it when it made a big pile of money, and that would never happen. Inexplicably, something like that happened with my set of Steven Universe two-tone designs, which were made to work with the way Redbubble handles default background colours, where three of the four were taken down just because I mentioned the Crystal Gems on them, but the fourth one was left alone and made the most money.
I do not understand it at all.
But here’s the result: Do you ever think, if you searched for my work, on Redbubble, you’d be able to find the fandoms I’m related to?
Do you think if you searched for a fandom I have made artwork for, that you’d be readily able to find me even if my work is something you know you’d like?
There’s a great lie we tell ourselves about making things on the internet, that you do your thing and you put yourselves in the path of attention and you find the people who care about your work and that’ll be your audience. But that operates on the idea that ‘discovery’ is a thing that happens naturally.
Every bump in the road, every point of resistance, every algorithmic check is something that, typically, is going to work against you to get that audience. By default, the fantasy of discovery is at odds with the needs of existing on the internet.
Find your people, but be careful about how you go looking.