Eric D. Snider

Eric D. Snider's Blog

The state of Snide Remarks address

My fellow Internet users, I am pleased to stand before you this evening to present the annual state of Snide Remarks address, which has never happened before and isn’t even really a “thing.”

It has been 11 months since the new batch of Kickstarter-funded Snide Remarks columns began its run. We have made great strides forward. Of the 50 columns promised, 38 have been delivered, and only five or six were about PETA. Very few of the columns caused the death of anyone directly. One of them described Arianna Huffington as some kind of mythical beast. That was fun. (Here are the archives, in case you missed one.)

I wanted to update you on some of the behind-the-scenes particulars. The idea of crowd-sourcing my freelance employment through Kickstarter was new to me — I think it was fairly new in general — and so there has been some trial and error. Here’s where we stand.

- I promised to deliver 50 columns in one year, starting March 7, 2011, and allowing myself two weeks off. In hindsight, this was hilarious. I burned up my two free weeks almost immediately, then had to throw myself on the mercy of the readers in a blog post aptly entitled “I’m dumb.” The consensus among commenters was that it was OK if it takes more than a year, as long as they get their 50 columns. I appreciate your understanding.

There were stretches in the past when I wrote Snide Remarks every single week for more than a year at a time, and I assumed I could do it again. What I neglected to consider was that pretty much all the circumstances are different now. For example, there was a time when Snide Remarks was available by subscription only, which meant that if I missed a week I would have to credit people’s accounts. The thought of manually adjusting all those accounts one by one was so nightmarish that I never missed a week. Also helping: for a big chunk of that time, I didn’t have much employment other than Snide Remarks.

When I was at the Daily Herald — that was what we called a “newspaper,” in a state known as “Utah” — I had a few impressive streaks of never missing a week. Heck, I was writing Snide Remarks TWICE weekly during some of that! But those columns were also much shorter than we are now accustomed to; it was fairly easy to take nothing more than a germ of an idea and lather it up to column length. I also wrote about a lot of local things. I also frequently had the luxury of being able to spend an entire day writing Snide Remarks without having to write anything else.

None of those things are true anymore. Now I am blessed with enough paid gigs to make a living, and while Snide Remarks is a key component, it’s not the only component. Those other paid gigs, though rewarding and enjoyable, are time-consuming, and everything — including Snide Remarks — is probably harder to write than it looks. (Unless it looks really, really, REALLY hard, in which case it is not as hard as it looks.) I’m writing for a general audience, not the readers of a dumb paper in Utah. And where I had plenty of administrative work to do at the newspaper, giving my fevered brain much-needed breaks, now pretty much everything I do requires some level of creativity. Even if I’m physically capable of standing here for 10 hours a day writing, it turns out I am not mentally capable. This has been a frustrating thing for me to accept.

- So far I’ve published 38 columns, with 12 still to come. I did that math myself, but it checks out. They’re still comin’, don’t worry. Obviously, it’s not going to happen within a year of the start date. That ship sailed long ago, and I was not on it.

- Once these 50 columns have been delivered, I’ll do another Kickstarter campaign to fund another 50. I’m not going to promise to do the next 50 in 52 weeks, though, because I am capable of learning from my mistakes. (This is a recent development.) I have a plan in mind that will work better. I’ll tell you about it when the time comes. The point is, there will be more Snide Remarks after this batch of 50 is done.

- A few words on the sponsored columns. The Kickstarter deal was that if you contributed at least $100, you got to choose the topic for one of the columns and put an ad at the bottom of it. Of the 19 people who did this — heroes, all of them — four chose to just give me the money and not claim their prize. (Or at least they never responded to the multiple emails I sent asking if they wanted to claim their prize.) Several others had an advertisement they wanted to include but left it up to me to choose the topic of the column. In other words, just because a column has a sponsor doesn’t necessarily mean that the sponsor chose the subject matter. Some did, some didn’t. Anyway, seven of the 12 columns yet to be delivered will be of the sponsored variety. So if you’re one of those seven sponsors, don’t worry.

Thank you, one and all, for supporting Snide Remarks. Whether you contributed to the Kickstarter campaign or are “just” a reader, I appreciate your enthusiasm, comments, feedback, and baked goods. I hope your investment, whether of money or of five minutes of your time per week, has been worth it. (Because there are no refunds.) Onward and upward!

P.S. No column this week. Suckers!

16 Responses to “The state of Snide Remarks address”

  1. MattW Says:

    “Utah”, huh? Isn’t that where the “mormons” live? And where snow “falls”?

  2. baguioboy Says:

    Totally think it’s time to update that picture of you gazing out over the website. I like the thing you have going where you can’t actually see your face though, just like what’s his name from Home Improvement (yeah, I know you can see it on film.com, I’m ignoring that).

  3. FHL Says:

    Ok, but you can’t count this as one of the 12 remaining! (Even if I did just invest 5 minutes in it.)

  4. Tom Says:

    Would it hurt your feelings if I admitted that I didn’t actually know how many SRs you’ve written this year and when exactly the deadline was? I just get excited when I see one magically pop into my inbox, like that fish tank fish in finding nemo who gets giddy every time the bubble maker opens.

  5. Kara Says:

    No, you’re the sucker for not counting ye “State of Snide Remarks” as a Snide Remarks.

    I’ve definitely had my money worth. Joseph’s review of the hotel/stable was priceless.

  6. Kit Says:

    All good Eric. No pressure here. Happy you are able to stay busy. Also, I totally understand having a daily creativity limit. With me it’s graphic design. My employers have no idea that they are not getting their 8 hours worth.

  7. Momma Snider Says:

    I’m going to donate $100 next time so I can pick a topic. That topic will be our family. I love when you write about us! Especially me, because you say such sweet things!

  8. Joshua Steimle Says:

    I didn’t even know about the kickstarter thing. How did I miss that? I totally would have bought a column or two as a business expense. Count me in on the next round.

  9. Jason Says:

    For sure next time I’m going the sponsored route. How else will I get Eric’s fine critical eye and withering satire honed on below-the-radar topics like The Bachelor, Star-Dancing, and Ye Olde Kardashian Clan? On second thought, maybe better to just see what tickles Eric’s fancy and hope for no whammies.

  10. Eric the Non-Snider Says:

    Honesty from a journalist? Confessing to mistakes and admitting to not meeting a promised deadline? They didn’t teach these things when *I* worked at the Daily Universe!

    You truly have grown!

    We appreciate your service and stick-to-itiveness. I shall continue to read and contribute until one of us stops.

  11. Hkgrobinson Says:

    I’d have paid more than the $10 I dimly recall contributing just for the column on the donut tradition on Christmas Eve. I read that one to at least five other people.

  12. Kristine Says:

    The Daily Herald is still the dumbest newspaper around. But guess what? I will always pick it up before other papers. There’s just something about it.

  13. Charly Says:

    In my day, I scratched out Snide Remarks, in runes, 16 hours a day in a locked, sweaty, factory, uphill in the snow both ways. Whippersnapper!

  14. Joe Says:

    You should be the movie columnist for http://www.grantland.com

    We need to start a HUGE twitter campaign to get this going. You’d be working with Chuck Klosterman and Bill Simmons, and let’s be honest, that site desperately needs your humor.

  15. Zina Says:

    I missed the last Kickstarter campaign, so I have definitely gotten my money’s worth! But if in the future I donate enough to choose a topic, I will have you write about the funny things my kids say and do. Presto! You’ll be updating *my* neglected blog at the same time as yours! I’ll bet you love this idea which only a dumb girl would come up with.

  16. Michael Warner Says:

    I have to take issue with you calling The Daily Herald a “dumb” paper. I mean, I’ll grant you that it is no Salt Lake Tribune or even Deseret News. But where I live today (upstate New York) it is leagues ahead of our local paper (name witheld to prevent impending flame war). So, lay off the Herald; they were smart enough to employ you for a while, weren’t they?

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