I’m Ten Million Times More Successful Than I Think I Am

Maybe you are, too.

Today I launched a Patreon page [UPDATE: I took it down. Time to re-think the online presence. Read on.] to support a science fiction story I’ve been writing for well over a year. It’s ranked on Wattpad. It gets new readers every day. It is by any measure popular and successful. But it’s free. So, it’s time to get it some financial support. No big deal.

I don’t get all worked up about traffic. I know these things take time.

Or do they?

See, because later I was on Facebook and my own cartoon popped up in my feed. You know, with a watermark on it because someone had lifted it off the CartoonStock site.

I almost fell out of my chair.

This thing got over 400 shares and 700 likes in the space of TWO HOURS. That’s… ludicrous. That’s rock-star level. If I could do that regularly, I’d be a freaking household name.

Here’s the proof:

Do you see that? Holy crap.

So basically, my work has a shadow life that rides in private jets and gives TED talks and I see none of it. It’s famous. I’m not.

This is not the first time this has happened, by a long shot. A while back another cartoon about meditation popped up. Hundreds, thousands of likes and shares. More ludicrous numbers.

And here I was trying to stay calm about getting say less than ten patrons in the first week. Because, be realistic. The work needs more reach.

Bullshit.

My work is good. It has legs. It goes all over the place. I collect license fees on it every month. I get published. I’m a pro, I’ve been at this a long time. I’m decades past the “do it for the exposure” stage.

But this, this gives me a rash. And a headache. It shows me that my work has a life I don’t know about. And that life would be really great, if only any of that “exposure” even had, say, a link to my site. Or my name. For chrissake, Google me. I’m easy to find. There are TWO Streeter cartoonists and the other guy does editorial.

So here’s to all you creators out there. You may be ten thousand times more successful than you think you are. Maybe someone is enjoying your work this very minute. Someone once used one of my cartoons to help them come out to their parents. Good work has impact.

Sorry if your stuff is living in Malibu and you’re not. I hope we can do something about it soon.

And hey, share this article. Maybe this concept of crediting and linking artists could get some reach.


Betsy Streeter is a novelist and cartoonist and a real live professional. Her books are on Amazon and her cartoons are on CartoonStock.

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