I confess. I read YDIS. I'm not going to link that, nor explain what it is for those who have never stumbled across that particular blog, because I have standards. I read YDIS because every time there's a post, someone in the comments section mentions me, or this blog, and I get a flood of people who show up here because I was mentioned there. I track the sources for my readers, so I can't help but notice.
The general sentiment on YDIS is that I am hated. Greatly. Mostly for existing. Partly for daring to produce intellectual property for money. In every respect because I am an easy target. I have an opinion, and all persons with opinions are easy targets.
I have never had anyone come here and claim to have found me through YDIS. I have never had a negative comment on this blog that reflected anything said on YDIS. I must therefore infer that readers are not affected by, nor influenced, by anything that is said there in any way. I must infer that the vitriol there has all the etching power of a furbie sliding over a gymnasium floor.
So when I read a group of idiots discussing the relevance of YDIS, as there are lately on an rpg-net thread - which I also decline to link, due to the same standards - I am amused. YDIS is keeping us 'honest,' say some. YDIS has great influence in the RPG universe, say others. Very few will step forward and say, "What a load of bunk. A bunch of bastards that will be the first against the wall when the revolution comes."
Influential? As much as any troll with a bridge to sit under, I suppose. A bridge that Yahoo tolerates, for reasons that may have something to do with Yahoo employees who - up until recently - collected paycheques from home but did no work there. If YDIS depended on a blogspot bridge, there would be no YDIS.
I challenge anyone to produce an instance demonstrating any concrete influence upon the RPG universe. At best, we may influence individuals. For example, this post will influence the little furtive troll that produces YDIS. Who will write more about me. That will drive more people to this site, who will read here and perhaps comment, but certainly without any reference to YDIS. So I will expand my readership. That will in turn produce a greater ability to sell my intellectual property. Which is good for me.
Trolls are the easiest people in the world to manipulate. But then, they are the only mentally ill not provided for by a Hollywood Celebrity.
Unless that's what Pauly Shore does now.
As a writer, the facts are that to gain any recognition I must sell to someone. Freelance, I sell to editors; politically, I sell to the various national and private elements who offer prizes for work, and most often get paid nothing for it. Lulu allows me a platform on which to sell directly to the reader. My success is not determined by that platform, nor by the opinions of others who feel that platform is right or wrong, or that I am right or wrong for accessing the platform. My success is dependent upon the willingness of people who have read the book to mention the quality of the book to others. If they will read it and enjoy it, that is all well and good. If they will read it and NOT mention to others that they have, and encourage others to read, then I have failed.
If I provide advertising for the book, then I am buying from someone else who is selling their product - air, space, interconnectivity, call it what you will. I am contributing my wealth to someone else's business in order to expand my own. If I were a restauranteur, would I be less of a business person if I did not accede to the dominance of a restaurant chain who told me how to manage my business? Would it be unfair for me to sell to customers, who had to take it on faith that I could cook? If you, the gentle reader, were to walk into my establishment, you could expect to pay $20 for a meal that could turn out to be excellent or poor; you do not know for sure. You judge my establishment on the appearance, the decor, the smell of the food emerging from the kitchen. You have perhaps read advertising I have purchased telling you to come to my restaurant. If you are disappointed, you won't return. You will still be $20 poorer. If the food is well, then you will return, and you will spend another $20.
The business is the same, though I provide a book rather than a meal. I still ask for $20. I give the book a name, Pete's Garage. It is a friendly name. It is a somewhat busy, but odd cover, featuring an old speaker, a blue Les Paul and a wrench. I tell you it is a book about musicians. I tell you that its funny. I offer a preview that's found under the box art on the linked page. I write this blog day-by-day so you will know that I am able to write. That the meal I offer will be rich and tasty and that it will stick to your ribs. I trust you will enjoy the meal so you will return and buy another.
I am a small business owner, with a small business owner's concerns. I also happen to like D&D. I also happen to enjoy history and debate and a certain amount of philosophy. I'm a character. I'm odd and mixed in my tone. I'm a softly played Les Paul. I'm a hard-hitting pipe wrench. I'd like for you, O Gentle Reader, to buy my book. Why? Because I think you might enjoy it. Because I think it might make me richer. And in so doing, because I believe we will both be better off.
I'm selling a book.
YDIS is selling nonsense. He's clearly getting a lot of buyers, but what he has to sell doesn't cost anything, and can be produced out of your own mouth at will. What I'm selling is rare and hard to find.
Reader, make up your mind.