Astute readers of backofthebook.ca will have noticed that our metabolism has slowed of late — we’ve been posting less often. This follows a deleriously busy spring and fall, when our traffic skyrocketed (especially for our pieces on Brock Anton and Kevin O’Leary; the latter is still drawing comment).
This is not exactly capitalizing on success. The reason is simple — I run backofthebook off the side of my desk, and when other aspects of my life, which have mostly to do with theatre and academia, decide they need my absolute attention, this online labour of love tends to topple off the side of said desk. I have to hope that it will continue to chug along under its own steam. But when its writers also find their lives made busier by, oh, new babies and new jobs and, well, life, backofthebook.ca sometimes starts to look more like a museum than a magazine.
It’s quite a good museum, when it needs to be. You will now find here over five years worth of strong comment and pithy reporting, largely on Canadian affairs. In fact, we’ve been around so long that Western Standard, which I ripped on in my first post back on Oct. 15, 2006, has disappeared in a welter of unfulfilled subscriptions (which I’m sure Ezra Levant is now using his SUN TV salary to reimburse — right?), and The Walrus, which I also ripped on in that piece, and again here, has actually become good.
But dammit, Jim, I’m an editor, not a curator, and so, with this post, backofthebook.ca will again undertake to vigorously pursue ethically-challenged politicians, under-the-radar Canadian stories, and search engine success. It may take a while to get fully back up to speed — for one thing, and speaking of search engine success, I have to figure out why we’ve fallen out of Google News. I think it’s a technical problem caused by an upgrade to our content management system. (Funny how upgrades almost always make things worse.) It could be, though, a sign of changes at Google, in which case — since Google increasingly creates reality these days — I’ll have more to say on that.
And it would be nice if backofthebook could make even a little bit of money, so that there’s an assistant editor around to run things when I can’t. But you just won’t click on those ads to the right and below, will you? Trust me; you won’t. It’s a curious thing; I run a few other web properties with good click-through rates (which is, of course, how an online publisher actually makes money — when you click on the ads). But it doesn’t matter how much traffic backofthebook draws — the numbers of visitors willing to help pay the writers by patronizing our advertisers remains strikingly low. And you don’t seem to want to use kachingle either (which I think is a brilliant solution to the matter of online micro-payments). So I’m going to have to work on some other ways to generate revenue.
But mostly, it’ll be business as usual again. See you here.