This is just going to be one of those stream-of-consciousness pieces that I don’t really advertise anywhere and most people who read it will be regulars or at least WordPress users who found me in the Reader. I tend to not promote the rambling posts anymore.
I’m writing this today because I’m avoiding work. For the last few weeks, one of the reasons I’ve been somewhat absent on here — and I apologize to everybody whose blogs I usually read — but I’ve been busting my butt creating an online course based on my second book, the one for partners of porn addicts. It’s still easily the best selling book I have. If you haven’t purchased it yet, 1) Shame on you and 2) It’s on Amazon right now at 43% off the cover price. That’s right, you can get it for under $12 Check it out at this link. The course will likely be ready in a week or so and I’ll announce more about it, but it’s been a lot of labor and me doing things that I’m not so comfortable with, like editing video. Oh well, we have to push ourselves to learn new skills or be left behind.
I found out my December TEDx Talk will not be given to a live audience in attendance which kind of bums me out. I usually speak well with people in the room. I’m not sure how I’ll be in the new scenario, filming it a TV studio in East Hartford, Connecticut. It’ll be streamed live and the most important thing is the video hits the Internet not long after, but I’m kind of bummed because it means I need to pull the funny lines I use because they will be received by crickets.
The picture with this article used to be the one I always used on these rambling pieces. No idea why I stopped, but seeing it today made me realize it was necessary to purge my mind of lots of little things.
My parents had their 50th wedding anniversary this last weekend. My brother and I were remembering going to my grandparents 50th anniversary party 24 years ago and agreed that our parents didn’t look as old as our grandparents did back then. Or we’re just a lot older. I grew up basically across the street from Bates College. When I was 10, the students looked like 30-year-olds. Now that I’m 44, they look about 12. I guess it’s all about perspective.
If you’re in the US, it’s time to get your absentee ballot. I just filled out my request for mine. Go ahead and vote for Trump. I’m just going to cancel you out.
Finally, I had the best week on this website going back at least six months, last week. I posted a link to my article about OnlyFans onto Linked In and thankfully hundreds of people came to check out my website. Quite a few also subscribed, so I feel good about that. It’s made me realize that I really do need to get more onto social media — but based on my last couple of weeks, I don’t feel like I have the time nor desire to learn and I know I’m going to be left behind. If there is anybody out there who is an inexpensive social media manager that is interested in managing my social media presence, please get in touch with me. This is one of the weakest areas I have, but I can’t let it continue to be that way.
I realized today it’s been more than a week since I posted an entry and even longer than that when I wrote once since my good friend Eddie submitted the last article. I would have guessed it had been about 4 days. Things are just coming at me fast and I figure I’d let you know about it more as an exercise to allow me to take a breath and see what’s going on and process it than me thinking you actually care about my schedule.
A little more than a year ago, I was kind of burnt out. I’d been promoting my first book for a year at that point and was pushing my co-author to finish the edits on his section of my second book. I made the decision in early June to take a step back from this blog and the whole “porn addiction author/educator” thing for the first time. I was just getting off probation and while I wasn’t going to quit doing this, I knew I needed a break.
I lined up about 8 guest bloggers, wrote three or four of my own, scheduled everything and walked away until early September, after I returned from a month-long trip with my daughter across the country. I think a year ago today as I write this we were pulling into San Francisco. That trip was much needed for my mind and soul as the legal ordeal finally ended after five-and-a-half years. I would have hated to have planned that trip for this year. Who knows what would have even been open?
My book did a little bit better than I expected early on and really would have had some staying power, I believe, if not for the pandemic. It is still selling better than my most recent book and is now in over 500 libraries…if you can find an open one to borrow it from. I’m guessing I would have sold several hundred more copies if not for the pandemic. Here’s some proof:
Hopefully you can see that graph. It’s the story of the paperback version of the book. I know a lot of authors won’t share this info, but I think it’s because they don’t sell many books. I’m in a genre where I’m not going to be ranked #5, #50, #500, or #5,000 on the Amazon Best seller list. I understand that, so I don’t mind sharing.
This tells the story of 4 timeframes. The first run to the beginning of February. This is the initial sales period of around 10 weeks where things can go up and down very quickly with the sale of one book because there are so few of that single title sold. It’s hard to really get an idea how your book is doing during this time.
The next period runs February through early April. This is the period of time when libraries start to buy books. While many libraries buy them through special companies, a lot will simply purchase them on Amazon and it’s why you see the line graph so high during this time.
The next period we call “the pandemic.” This is when COVID-19 hit and people stopped thinking about anything except toilet paper and dying. I went from selling 10-20 copies per day to literally selling 0 of the paperback. A few Kindles were still sold, but nobody was buying the book anymore.
The current period we’re in has been happening since June and I guess we’d call it recovery or “the new normal.” I sell a few paperbacks every week although people still prefer the Kindle. The last couple weeks have improved a bit and I’m hoping that continues. Between paperback and Kindle, I sell probably one book a day right now, sometimes two. It’s still a steep drop, but libraries haven’t reopened and the book is now more than six months old. Still, I know we’ve done over 1,000 copies sold and that is more than double my first book and my latest book, while my favorite in many ways, just isn’t gathering traction yet.
Anyway, during the entire timeline you see above, I pulled back on the site again. I needed to devote the time to marketing the second book (and writing the third). I was also doing more interviews than before. Podcasts got even more popular during the pandemic as people either started them or listened to more when they were stuck at home.
Things really went crazy for me when it was announced that I will be giving a TED Talk in December and when I asked for help a couple weeks back on a poll about porn addiction to help me narrow the focus of the presentation. I was expecting between 50 and 100 people filling it out. As of right now, it sits at 815 responses and I haven’t mentioned it to anyone in over a week.
Since the TED Talk announcement and especially since the survey was shared by so many people on social media, I’ve been inundated on all sides by people wanting to have me to talk about some kind of collaboration with them, wanting advice on how to get their own TED Talk, wanting advice and knowledge about pornography addiction or requesting I be on their podcast.
The podcast thing got out of control before I recognized it. I would guess I average 1-2 per week in most times. Even when I’m telling the same story over and over, it serves as an important reminder of why I do what I do when people hear my answers for the first time. It’s like therapy and some ways and has helped my recovery.
In the beginning, I had to solicit hosts to appear on their podcasts. I stopped doing that about six months ago when I started getting more and more invitations. I was recording the same amount, but wasn’t asking them to appear. Happy anybody wanted to hear me, I said yes 99% of the time, only avoiding shows where I had a suspicion porn addiction would be mocked.
In early July, when the new book came out and the TED Talk was announced, more requests came in than usual. I still said yes. Then, more. Then, more. And some of these requests were really fascinating. I’ve appeared on a few panel discussion shows, including one called Face to Face that has almost no talk of porn addiction I posted today. A few of the shows have been talking about other things than porn, which is really interesting. If you check out my Appearances page you’ll see the last five or six that have published are not the run-of-the-mill appearances. I know most people who frequent this site don’t listen to my podcasts, but these are very unique compared to what I usually do. It’s a nice switch, and I’m learning how to participate in different kinds of discussions (I’ll never drop my habit of saying “you know” all the time) but it still takes time out of my week. Instead of 2-3 hours per week, it’s now more like 10 hours, because some people like to do 90 minutes, or we get to the end of the hour and they ask if we can record a two-parter, so we just keep going.
I’m not complaining about this as I find it interesting, but the time I’m not only spending with this additional podcast load and other additional asks of my time is coming at a price, and this website is part of it.
I’ve made the decision that I’m going to start developing a bit of a criteria for agreeing to do shows. I’ll do things that sound interesting regardless of number of listeners, but if it’s just the same interview I’ve given 100 times, I’m going to limit it to once a week, unless the show has a very big listenership. Too many people have told me, “You need to stop doing 10 podcasts with 500 listeners and do 1 with 5,000 listeners.” In the past, getting the big one was tough. Now, they’re asking me to appear. I need to recalibrate and wrap my arms around the idea it doesn’t make me a snob and I’m not dropping the ball if I don’t go on a show that only gets 40 listeners. I need to use my time the best way possible and that changes over time.
I have an amazing coach that I have begun meeting with for my TED Talk. Theoretically, if 50,000 people eventually watch the video that will go online, isn’t the time I spend with him preparing worth 100 podcasts with 500 listeners each? I think so, and those are the kinds of things I need to think about.
I’m also trying to think about what may make me a few more dollars. My royalty check in December for my second book is going to be decent. But I’ve been working on that book since mid-2018 and won’t get paid until almost 2021, and it’s not like five-figures decent money. It’s like very low four-figures. It will probably take care of Christmas for my family, that’s it.
I’ve decided to focus on building a few things out in September that will help me make more money. I’m currently working with someone on a very basic online course that will serve as more of a pilot project to see if something more comprehensive should be developed. I’m also going to revisit the coaching side of things. I’ve worked with people continually, but have done no advertising and marketing and that website is in great need of updating. These two things should allow more money to flow in. It’s taken me a long time to truly be comfortable with the need to make money off of my work, but after all, it is work and I’m coming around to the fact you can do something altruistically and make money. I had to fake the altruism part in my pre-recovery life and recalibrating takes a while.
It would not make sense for me to completely unplug like I did last year for a few months. Too much is going on and I don’t want to miss an opportunity. Whatever “the next level” is, I feel like I’m standing just outside the door. Walking away now would be foolish.
Anyway, if you made it this far, you’re likely wanting this to end. I just needed to put this on paper, or a computer screen, as I mentioned early on. I like having this space to always return to and get my guts out. I feel like people here “get me” more than most places, so thank you for always being there.
It’s always a lot of fun to write that title on one of my website posts. I’ve only been able to do it three times now, but each time, it feels like a massive exhale. Up until this point, the process of getting a book out is very private and solitary. Now, the words that I feverishly worked on, that I think are good enough to share with the world in perpetuity, that I believe are so worthwhile that they should have a small price tag behind them — it’s all out there for the world to see.
There is no more timely a moment to read this book than now. As we see cases of the Coronavirus surging in numbers and states starting to roll-back their openings, it means more people will be back in situations which make them vulnerable to pornography — either consuming it, or producing it.
Ever wanted to read first-person accounts of addiction from those dealing with it? Ever wanted to know what kind of person it takes to become an online pornography camera model? Wonder what this OnlyFans craze is about? Want to hear an unbelievable story about a man who is slipping his wife pills to help fight the STD he may have passed onto her from an affair, but refuses to tell her, blaming the pandemic for bad timing?
This is unlike any book you’ve read, because we’re all living this in the moment. At some point, it will become a book that can be put into the history section of the library, but now, it’s current events. Even if pornography and/or pornography addiction isn’t a part of your life, COVID-19 is part of your life, and this book shows how others are dealing with it.
I hope you’ll consider picking it up from Amazon. You can follow a link to read more about the book HERE.
Thank you to those of you who support me by purchasing the book. It allows me to continue the fight to educate the world about pornography addiction.
Time for one of those random thoughts/updates pieces. Too much rattling around in my head to put 800 words to any of it, and I just need to do some housecleaning in my head.
First, my new book “Pornography and the Pandemic: How Three Months in 2020 Changed Everything” is still scheduled to be released on July 5. I think it may bump to July 6, since that’s a Monday. We had to change the secondary headline from when I last told you about the project because the publisher was leery of a book title with both “Pandemic” and “COVID-19” in the title since some online booksellers are rejecting items with too many references to the virus. I guess it stems from people trying to sell non-book products that claim to help cure the coronavirus. That’s fine with me. I can see the new secondary title as more exciting, but wonder if putting the year in it will help or hurt.
I’ve got to start working on the marketing of the book, but it’s a little challenging. It’s told in first person, but it’s far more of a journalistic-style book that I think will be interesting to a wide audience than either of my first books…but I’m not exactly sure how to tell the world about it with my marketing budget of $0. It’s also strange because there was 22 months between the release of my first two books and only 5 months between the second and third. Last year at this time, I largely took the summer off from this blog and writing, going on a nice road trip. The virus halted most sales of my second book in its tracks because the bulk were going to libraries at that point. I’ve noticed it pick up a little bit as libraries become semi-active, but I think that second book would have sold hundreds of more copies if not for people’s attention, and their lives, being so disrupted by the virus. A library isn’t going to buy a book if it’s not open until further notice. I believe the new book is going to be much less expensive than the first two, but I’m just the writer… I learn a lot of these things when I see it for sale for the first time. I hope you’ll support me and I’ll share more when I know.
I’m trying to calm myself a bit from the anger and frustration I’ve been feeling dealing with and seeing so many ignorant people on television and online regarding both the virus and the changes happening, and being pushed for, regarding race in this country. There’s a balancing act between recognizing as one person I really can’t do much, but just because that’s true doesn’t mean I should do nothing. I’m just hoping that the polls I’m seeing regarding November’s elections end up as true. We’ve given the current administration more than three years to make America great again. They actually went in the other direction. I think Joe Biden’s campaign slogan should just be, “Make America like it was before Trump took over, then we’ll work on the greatness thing.”
My frustration comes from people believing that they don’t have to follow either commonsense guidelines or actual laws because they believe there is some “Constitutional guarantee” they don’t have to wear a mask. There isn’t. I think this is a combination of politics, people needing to feel rebellious and untreated mental illness at work. I just feel bad for the people who try to do the right things and get the virus have to battle for the same hospital beds as those who flaunted and ignored scientific wisdom. Science says the sun will rise tomorrow. Do you not believe it until you see it? People need to remember that science is neither a religion nor a political party. It’s the best collection of provable data we have — even if you don’t like the results. With the race issue, the statistics that prove its obviously a problem are just being ignored by people who would rather argue about knocking over a statue in some Virginia or Alabama park. Who cares about these statues? Black people are dying because of the color of their skin and sick people are dying because people don’t want to treat the pandemic as serious. It’s more important they be able to workout in a gym or get a burger. Great priorities.
So here’s kind of a weird story. A couple of weeks back, on June 13, I got a nice notecard in the mail from my mother’s best friend, Gwen. They were paired as college roommates and share the exact same birthday. You’ve never met two more different people and I think Gwen’s flighty and illogical life choices sometimes frustrated my mother. Depending on where Gwen was living, we’d see her three or four times a year when I was growing up. When I was in jail, Gwen wrote a couple letters that were really quite touching and I wrote a few back. That correspondence never would have happened had I not done time and since I was released four years ago, we’ve exchanged letters once or twice a year. I think I saw her twice, but it may have only been once since I was released.
It was just a typical check-in note, but she mentioned that she had finally got a phone that could do texting — which I’m guessing she’s had for years but just finally realized it. She gave her new number and I texted her two days later on June 15, but heard nothing back. I didn’t follow-up. Yesterday, which was June 29, my mom called me and told me that Gwen was found dead in her apartment on June 20. Gwen’s son was under the belief his mother had gone on one of her little coastal retreats, but when she didn’t contact him upon returning he eventually had the police in her town do a wellness check, where she’d had a heart attack…on the day I received her note.
I feel very bad for my mother. She lost her brother, who was her other best friend in January, and now Gwen. It seems like she and my father, who were very well known in our area since they were school teachers for nearly 40 years each in the same town, have been going to a lot of funerals lately. It’s mainly for their former colleagues or some of their friends, but I can see their own mortality has been weighing on them a bit. I now know where all the important papers they have are, what the will says and in the next few weeks, they’re paying for their funeral expenses. With my uncle gone, I was given power of attorney should they both be unable to make decisions. They’re approaching their mid-70s, so they could theoretically still have 20 years each left in them, but it’s been a different kind of vibe lately.
I noticed a little bit of that vibe changing when my 20-year-old daughter, 17-year-old son, and 72-year-old dad all went zip lining in Massachusetts the other day. We needed to go do something outdoors and fun and my son and dad have never done it before. Ten years ago, my dad would have been planning our next trip. After the two miles of zip lines and mile of hiking through the mountains between the various zip lines, he said he never had to do it again. Of course, he finished just fine. I was the one who forgot to bring water, overheated and had a pretty serious case of the dry heaves between lines five and six…but we won’t talk about it. I’m sure my kids also thought, “Dad is getting old” when they saw I needed to take a break and wretch into the woods.
Finally, I’ve teased that I’m involved in something big and could change the trajectory of my porn addiction education quest. I got word from the powerful overseers that I will be able to announce what I’m talking about next week.
I was asked to write a mini-book by my publisher and to make it 10K to 20K words 15 days ago. Since then, I have interviewed 19 people, some at great length and written 28,961 words. My short days were 8-10 hours and once the interviewing was mostly done and it was just writing, the days got longer. On Saturday, I wrote 9,735 words over 15 hours and yesterday I wrote 8,224 words over 14 hours.
I think I’m going to start reading it later today, but I needed to give myself at least 18 hours to kind of get it out of my head so I could start at the beginning with a fresh set of eyes.
I’m still looking for another porn addict who has successfully navigated the pandemic (Rollie, you fit the profile? If so, drop me an email), a cam model who has retired, and a therapist to talk a bit about healthy sexuality. If you’re any of these people…let me know.
I actually think more than my other books, this one best shows my ability as a journalist and writer. While I do tell this story in the first person as a narrative thread, there’s a ton of research and a pretty deep dive into analysis of statistics. I wrote on here at the beginning of the year that I think some of Pornhub’s reporting is faulty, but I really lay out my case in this book.
I also interviewed a bunch of cam models, which is something I’d never done before. I’m usually on the side of telling people it’s not healthy to watch them or participate in them, and I still believe that at my core, but I met a really interesting bunch of people, almost all of whom I would think could be, or could have been, my friends in real life when I was younger. Having them talk about the more technical end of their job and what it means to their real lives off-camera was something I haven’t read much about. It’s the longest chapter, probably because in many ways, I found it to be the most interesting since it was my first time tackling that subject.
I think writing this book has been very good for my mental health. I’ve kind of been wandering aimlessly the last several months, even before the pandemic, uninterested in the freelance/ghostwriting I was doing and unable to get up and excited for a new book idea I have — which I still think is great, but it’s not the time for it yet. And then I have another book idea for after that, which is even more exciting, but I’ve got to get them done in the proper order. Nonetheless, I didn’t need to hustle for money because I was doing OK and nothing was stoking any fires of passion for my work. Turning out a well-researched 30,000-word book in two weeks has changed that. If gave me a burst of much-needed adrenaline. I think it also helps that in these two weeks, the weather has got much nicer and I can sit outside in shorts most days. That helps my demeanor a lot.
I believe the hope is that the book will be out in late June, but with the slowdown in production, I have a feeling that July is more realistic. With the way states are acting about the epidemic, I’m sure it will still be around and make the book still relevant in the moment. If not, I think it will always be an interesting look at how this time caused people to act in ways they otherwise wouldn’t.
During the creation of the book, I got another piece of very cool news that should be a big boost to me professionally, but I have also signed a non-disclosure agreement that says I can’t announce it for a little while. They haven’t given me a timetable, but I think it will be July or August on this one.
And, as always, you can buy my first two books from Amazon. The most recent book is on sale at the moment, 27% off the regular hardcover price and 19% off the softcover. No idea how they get those figures. You can see that book HERE.
All right, time for lunch, a little sunshine and some editing…