2018 was a big year, but I don’t want to talk about politics, the news or anything else that sends Twitter into a black pill spiral.
On a personal front, my page views tripled over last year. That’s bit motivation to post more as people are obviously interested (or outraged) by what I have to say. The three biggest posts were:
Unsurprisingly a piece of slander is the most viewed article for the year.
I’m happy with this. I completely stand by my convictions as put out in the essay, and it managed to rile up a whole slew of different people.
It is only appropriate that an essay dealing with the controversial Robin Hanson (who has really outdone himself in 2018) got so many hits.
I wasn’t just on my personal blog. One particular Medium article went off all thanks to Clementine Ford. You can count it as a good year if you get the arch-feminist of Australia to respond to you. Spoiler alert: I checked and no one went out and bought the book. Thanks for the views, Clem! I’m thinking of reviewing her books next year – guaranteed hits!
It’s also a time to review what happened in Australian publishing. What are people reading? I can tell you a few trends.
First, the bro self-help market is still strong, with Jordan Peterson and Mark Manson making a kill this year. I saw many bookstores with both books stacked up alongside each other. The most interesting thing is that publishers completely underestimated this trend. Penguin, the publisher of 12 Rules For Life, didn’t even have a decent print run up until almost three weeks after publication. Almost everyone in publishing dismisses Jordan, despite the sales and obvious hunger for his writing and words, because almost everyone in publishing is a card-carrying communist, or at least a sympathizer. This is not to say that self-help books for women aren’t selling, they are, but there is obvious institutional support for these. I’ve already seen two manuscripts for 2019 releases that make me sick due to the vapid nature. Woke Capital in action.
Second, once solid authors are crumbling. Jamie Oliver isn’t doing what he used to, usurped by the charismatic Ottolenghi. Shane Warne was a waste of a million dollar advance. Fiction mainstays seem to stay strong, but the most surprising thing of the year was the sheer amount of books by debuts. People want whatever is new. That is where we are at with books; people only want to read about what is hot and trending. Thankfully there seems to be a lot of space for multiple books in this space. In the meantime I’m just waiting for the new Houellebeq and McCarthy.
For the new year I plan to write some more longform blog posts synthesizing multiple books, start a podcast interviewing dissident fiction writers and post more review to Goodreads. Here’s to a good year.