State of the Writer, mid-July 2014 edition

Posted in DAW, Elantra, Essalieyan, Queen of the Dead, writing.

I am writing this from Bris­bane, in its variant of winter — which is kind of like early Fall in Toronto, but with an aston­ishing clarity of sky. It is the perfect weather for walking — it’s very slightly cool, but not so much that a jacket or sweater is required.

I’m writing, instead, but on the balcony.

I’ve finished Oracle. Or rather, I’ve finished the draft. I am hoping to lose about 20k words, starting from page one, because at the moment it is the longest of the House War books, hands down. But: thirty-one chap­ters, one prologue, one epilogue.

Which means I have started today on Grave. Again, and have finally (late, because arg) started Cast in Honor. Because one book has to be going well, and there is no possi­bility that will, at this point, be Grave.

I feel as if I don’t really have very much to report here >.>.

So, I will ask a ques­tion, instead. Lately, on multiple mailing lists, authors of my on-line acquain­tance have been talking about mailing lists. Of their own. I have never done this, in part because I don’t feel I have a lot to say that’s of interest to readers that I don’t say here. It’s fairly easy to just subscribe to blog posts here — and if people subscribe, they’re prob­ably going to find out how the writing has been going (once a month), and when a new book is being released.

But people seem to sign up for mailing lists in larger numbers than they sign up for blog posts, so maybe this is wrong. I realize that the only people who will answer this will be people who find the blog, but will ask anyway: Mailing lists? Yes? No?

ETA: By mailing list, I actu­ally mean: Newsletter. It occurred to me only after reading some of the responses that they are not inter­change­able terms; in other places, mailing list is used to mean Newsletter. Sorry for the lack of clarity >.<

76 Responses to State of the Writer, mid-July 2014 edition

  1. Evelyn Fryman says:

    I’ll take whichever is most conve­nient for you. I appre­ciate you taking the time to let us know how the writing is coming along.

  2. Tanja says:

    I subscribe to both mailing lists and blogs, and I appre­ciate both (or either) from the creatives I’m a fan of, your­self defi­nitely included. :) I know of at least one that combines the two. In any case, I would think it depends on how you want to interact with your subscribers.

    It seems to me that as a marketing tool, there is not as much info gath­ered from your blog subscribers (if you’re inter­ested in that at all). The mailing lists are great for announce­ments and author status or book info, but may keep subscribers at more of an arm length away since it doesn’t neces­sarily permit commen­tary (can’t reply to the email) if you go with a newsletter type of format. However, if you lack the time (or incli­na­tion) to audit the comments to your blog posts, but want to improve your marketing to readers (both new and current), track trends, get reports about your campaigns, then mailing lists are great for that from what I under­stand. MailChimp is the one that I’ve seen used a lot mostly recently.

  3. michelle says:

    I under­stand the ways in which that kind of report would be helpful — but I admit I’m mostly thinking of how to get infor­ma­tion out. Having just migrated the bookstore’s mailing list to mail-chimp, I can see how some of the infor­ma­tion would be useful (for instance, what click­throughs there were, if there were links, etc.), but I can’t actu­ally imagine finding it helpful to me, person­ally.

    Well, no, let me take that back. If my desire was to find out how to write a more successful/popular *newsletter*, I could see finding that infor­ma­tion useful and apropos.

    But mostly, at this point, I want to write books. And I want people to know when the books are avail­able.

    So the ques­tion is more about reader pref­er­ences than about author utility, if that makes sense?

  4. Lesa T says:

    I also subscribe to both mailing list and blog. I like your blog with the frequent updates. Also, I can barely wait for Cast in Flame to come out. Thanks for bring it out in July, instead of August. :)

  5. Bobbi says:

    I can’t wait for Oracle! Just read Battle again. I wouldn’t care if Iracle was 20k words longer…too bad you have to cut. Love your books!

  6. Jeff Jensen says:

    I prefer email, as it is more of a “push” mech­a­nism, and gives me a reminder to read some­thing. I subscribe to email noti­fi­ca­tions of the blog, though, so for me the end result in the same.

  7. pml says:

    I follow you on Goodreads, and receive noti­fi­ca­tions there on my updates page, so neither applies.
    Very excited about Oracle!

  8. Lake's Reads says:

    I have signed up for every­thing. Because some­times i don’t get one or the other. I like blogs the most because they get to the bone of what someone is writing and their thoughts about said writing or how it is working.

  9. Puawai says:

    I think this is fine. I think the updates to page on my FB are good enough :) This, in its own way, is just like a newsletter, but with no pres­sure for regu­larity. I think it makes for better content when it’s at whim and want, instead of by dead­line and need. Better, more organic and inter­esting content that way :)

  10. Debbie Holcomb says:

    I like both, emails can link to the blog, which is what I get now. I also check the website frequently. What ever is conve­nient for you is fine. Really looking forward to Cast in Flame — counting down the days. Glad to hear you are working on the next cast book. THANKS!!! I would rather you spend more time writing than taking the time out to write a newsletter and a blog.

  11. dieirdra says:

    I prefer your blog. I like the being able to read back, whereas email just gets lost in the thou­sands of emails I get. I really appre­ciate you telling us how the writing is going.

  12. Dorri Kay says:

    Blog or email, which do I prefer? I cannot give a firm answer on this one. I am a biblio­phile. I adore authors more than actors or musi­cians. There are some authors I subscribe to mailing lists and some I only check blogs. There are others I will only follow on social media (Face­book, Twitter, or such). The main draw for being on a mailing list are authors like Kelley Armstrong or Maria Snyder, who routinely give snip­pets and excerpts from upcoming releases or special short stories about secondary char­ac­ters from their series. The main draw for blog updates are you and Kim Harrison where there is constant random tidbits about daily writing life. The draw for social media are Kevin Hearne and Rob Thurman who have random daily babble that just happens to be hilar­ious. The writer is who ulti­mately decides how I will follow them. I enjoy your blog. I check it bi-weekly. I’m good. If you want to try some­thing else, be brave and jump. If you end up not enjoying it, stop and reboot. No matter your choice, I’ll still be a fan of your books for life.

  13. michelle says:

    This has been my general thought — that subscribing to the blog kind of works in the same general way, but a number of my writer friends seem to get more reader interest — or at least sign-ups — for mailing lists.

  14. Zia says:

    Congrats on Oracle!

    I happy with any kind of update in any type of content so I’ll echo others here and say what­ever you find to be easiest works for me :)

  15. Kris says:

    I think in general I like the idea of e‑mail lists better — they look cleaner, are easier to read, and if I am on the go on my crappy phone I don’t have to click a link to be taken to a browser to then read the rest of the blog as it is already right there in my e‑mail message.

    With that said, I subscribe to the blog and it’s honestly not that hard to click a blog link. I’m inter­ested enough that the one extra step is defi­nitely worth it to me.

  16. For me your blog is a chance for me to feel you are speaking to me person­ally, it is not some­thing imper­sonal. I look forward to all of your books, and like to know a little about how they are written, how you have diffi­cul­ties to over­come, it makes you seem a friend.

  17. Sue Ivey says:

    As it is now works for me.I would sign up for a mailing list, too. i’m not sure of how it would be different.
    Oracle…YEAH! Keep as many words as you can, please.
    I’m envious of Bris­bane, I loved Australia when I was there.

  18. Christine V. says:

    I enjoy the blog for the histor­ical refer­ence. I will admit that some­times I do not keep up with the mailing list.

  19. Tess says:

    Thank you for the update! Regarding the mailing lists, I think it’s perfect just the way it is — right now every update feels like an unex­pected treat! )) Good luck with the next books! Don’t work too hard and enjoy some of that lovely weather!

  20. Jarle Bokorm says:

    I believe that the draw of a mailing list is that in essence you are telling your readers “if you don’t sign up, you will miss out” since it is implied that the infor­ma­tion in the newsletter won’t be avail­able for those that don’t sign up.

    Me person­ally, I prefer to websites and face­book, where the infor­ma­tion is avail­able after­ward, and if you find an author late, you can read about their old musings as well as be noti­fied when­ever they update.

  21. abwarwick says:

    Blogs work for infor­ma­tion you want to get out. Mailing lists seem to create more of a commu­nity that corre­sponds (but not always) with each other.
    For the most part, I prefer blogs.
    I catch what you post on your blog or face­book.

  22. kscappace says:

    My personal opinion is that I like stalking your blog for news. Except when you don’t post for a long time and I start to worry about you. Reading your blog for me is like having a friend that lives far away. When they have some­thing signif­i­cant to say they write other­wise they expect me to respect their space and let them be.

    That is just my opinion for what it is worth.

  23. Shyia says:

    I think the blog works very well. I am so happy about to hear about Oracle! Thank you for the updates.

  24. Tchula says:

    Congrats on finishing Oracle! Good luck on whit­tling it down, (although don’t feel you have to do too much of this for your readers’ sakes, haha).

    As far as blog posts v. email list, I don’t really have a pref­er­ence and would sign up for what­ever was avail­able from you. That being said, I really enjoy getting these blog updates, and they always feel very person­al­ized and fun to read. A small window into the life and times of my favorite author.

    I feel like a mailing list with “busi­ness-like” updates would be more imper­sonal, and could be written by anybody (agent, manager, etc.) as merely a marketing tool. Not to say that yours would be like this, but often mailing lists feel like that to me.

    I do agree with those who say if it takes up more of your writing time to have both – and you are already writing 3 concur­rent series, which is just crazy…I mean…totally amazing! – it seems like way too much of a bother! Haha­haha :-D

  25. michelle says:

    The blog noti­fi­ca­tion email used to contain the entire post — and that’s changed, although I’m not certain why >.. Prior to the change, people could click through to respond or leave a comment, but they didn’t have to if they only wanted to read the post. I will try to figure out what changed. For me, it’s not impor­tant to increase web-site hit-count. I’m not selling ads, etc., where page views become impor­tant. The web-site is here to provide infor­ma­tion or rele­vant news about books to people who are looking for it.

  26. michelle says:

    This has been my general feeling as well — that writing time should go to writing books first, and every­thing else later.

    My alpha reader told me, back in the early days, that readers actu­ally liked to know that their authors were working on their books, which is why I started to try to post monthly updates (I am not always good with that, either). For me up to that point, “working on (novel title)” seemed to be so much a given that it almost felt like I had nothing to say.

    But I discov­ered that he was right — that some people are happy to get progress reports and updates :)

  27. JoAnn Arnold says:

    From another author I follow, it seems publishers are pushing for more media pres­ence, ie face­book, blog, twitter etc. To me the more time an author has to worry about the social medias the less time they have to actu­ally write. Yes I like to know how the writing is going but I don’t need a daily update. What­ever works best for you is fine with me.

  28. michelle says:

    I guess if the goal is to write a heavily subscribed Newsletter (which is what I meant by mailing list), Newsletter-only content would work.

    But…what I actu­ally want is the best way of letting people know about the books. I don’t really want people to have to sign up for every­thing, every­where, just to get specific content.

    I tend to like the web-site because I can, for instance, have first chap­ters of all the books (or covers, or back cover/cover flap copy) that’s persis­tent. People who *do* want those things can find them (fairly) easily. People who don’t, don’t have to look at them.

    But smarter authors than me say that Newslet­ters are invalu­able to them as a way of letting people know about upcoming books, etc., and all of these authors of course have web-sites.

  29. michelle says:

    I’m not the poster child for constant updates, in part because it takes time, and I end up doing it after actual novel writing.

    That said, there are writers whose blogs I read and enjoy — but the writing of those takes time, and it has a char­acter of its own. When I have some­thing specific to say, I’m fine. When I don’t, it’s harder to be certain that what I’m writing is inter­esting to readers, if that makes sense?

    If I did some­thing like a Newsletter, it would have to be inter­esting enough that people would read it.

  30. michelle says:

    There’s always some pres­sure to develop a larger media pres­ence (or plat­form). I’m not sure that this makes a differ­ence to the books, though. I don’t think it *hurts* book sales; I’m just not sure that it helps them until one reaches crit­ical mass.

    There’s also a chicken-and-egg ques­tion. Do authors have a huge social media plat­form *because* their books are already popular, or do they build a plat­form first?

    I don’t work at building plat­forms on social media. I try to respond to Face­book messages and twitter tweets; I try to reply to email. I am univer­sally bad, when I’m behind, on doing *any* of this, so trying to increase followers in various social media just seems like another way of disap­pointing *more* people >.. I am *on* social media because different readers like different plat­forms, and I try to be on (some of) those to be acces­sible to readers. But yes, to do *more* than that takes time and thought and when I’m behind (which feels, at the moment, like ALWAYS), it’s the first thing to go.

  31. Sonia says:

    I am good with either one. I am always checking the blogs of my favorite authors for any tidbits of information/news anyway. So, whichever you want to do is fine with me. :-)

  32. kat1e1 says:

    Frankly I don’t partic­u­larly care what the mech­a­nism is called, but only that there is a mech­a­nism to receive news about your books.

    People these days seem to like to subscribe to various media devices just to find out how many times a second person exam­ined their finger­nails that morning. I’m nowhere near that degree of social — which is why I tossed out my first mobile phone shortly after first getting it and never had it replaced.

    However, if you do set up a mech­a­nism that auto­mat­i­cally sends a reader like me news of released books or current devel­op­ments in your writing — what­ever the mech­a­nism may be called — then I’d sign up. Seems like the differ­ence between a mailing list or auto­matic noti­fi­ca­tion of new blog posts is simply a differ­ence in ‘the thing of the moment’. What­ever suits you best.

    Also — Bris­bane, Aus? Frankly I’d prefer to holiday at any time other than summer since it’s hard to have fun when you’re baking in the heat. Like you said, winter you basi­cally just toss on a jumper and you’re good to go. Plus — LOVE a good & blus­tery winter storm. Mind you I’m saying this as a person who’s never been outside Aus. Hope­fully one day I’ll be able to visit a place like Canada just so I can expe­ri­ence those fields of snow I see in the movies. I’ve heard they have snow lodges in the Blue Moun­tains but it seems they main­tain snow there via use of snow machines of some sort or other and I’d prefer to expe­ri­ence the real thing. Are you just on holiday, or doing some sort of book release tour?

  33. ElizabethN says:

    If I visit and email and rss subscribe (tech­nology works so well, not, that redun­dancy is neces­sary) to an author’s blog as I do with you then a newsletter isn’t impor­tant because you’re noti­fying us of book progress on the blog. Some newslet­ters I get because the author doesn’t like to take the time to blog and I don’t want to miss any book releases. Other newslet­ters occa­sion­ally have scenes that didn’t make the final story or very short stories that aren’t posted on the website. Overall I’d rather that the author write and enjoy life and not be worrying about a monthly newsletter and what’s in it

  34. Elissa says:

    I don’t know if it matters; would they both say the same thing or would the newsletter be a more frequent but maybe smaller update? Like say twice a month or some­thing. I try to read what­ever you put out there so if you do have a mailing list, I would be on it but if you don’t, I will still enjoy the blog. It might be nice to have release and signing lists. I haven’t been on here very long so it is possible you already do that :)

  35. Pat Harvey says:

    I am more inclined to pay atten­tion to a mailing list rather than search for blogs. But truly, it is your time; what works for you?

  36. Jim Kellogg says:

    I prefer the blog to a newsletter. I am excited that Oracle has progressed to finished draft as the sun sword world is my favorite of all your works.

  37. Rachelle Chang says:

    I’m happy with any updates you share! Write books… don’t worry about a newsletter!

  38. Hilda says:

    I have read all the above comments and I’m still not sure what the differ­ence is with what we have from you now. I’m with those who say that what you give us right now, (like this message alerting me) works very well for me. When­ever I receive an email from you I’m happy because it gives me news that I will love to read. If we don’t hear from you in a long while, we really, really worry because we think some­thing is wrong, or not going well with you. I like hearing from you as you have now, and like hearing from other readers; some­times it’s really strange because it feels like talking some­thing over with a good friend. I know their names and can talk to them. We can also go to your Forum to find infor­ma­tion, but that does not give much. Readers do not comment as much about your new books in the Forums as they used to comment before. If the idea is to acquire new readers, an excel­lent goal, I have no ideas.

  39. soapturtle says:

    Not to say you aren’t inter­ested in having more readers, because what author isn’t… but I’d say do what works more natu­rally with your writing. If having a Newsletter is just another thing you MUST do, then I’d think skip it. :)

  40. Chris G. says:

    Oracle — The longer the better, as always! :)

    Of course you’re the expert, so I’ll be content regard­less.

    I’m happy with the blog, but if you decide to go to a newsletter then I wouldn’t complain. Not a big deal to me.

    What I *would* love to see is a progress bar for your many books, in the same sort of a way as Brandon Sanderson has. And it always disap­points me, at least a bit, that he has such a great repu­ta­tion (at least in the circles that I read) for his autho­rial output, but you are able to publish at quite a good clip your­self, and don’t receive the same sort of acclaim (at least that I’ve seen).

    I think that at least part of the problem is that not as many fans are aware of your work (again, in at least some circles) and so more promo­tion would be nice, if there were any way to do that?

    Along those lines, a few of us at reddit have gotten you on their “The top /r/fantasy novels of all time” list for Sun Sword at #80

    http://​www​.reddit​.com/​r​/​F​a​n​t​a​s​y​/​c​o​m​m​e​n​t​s​/​1​y​n​q​c​m​/​t​h​e​_​t​o​p​_​r​f​a​n​t​a​s​y​_​n​o​v​e​l​s​_​o​f​_​a​l​l​_​t​i​m​e​_​r​e​s​u​l​t​s​_​t​h​r​e​ad/

    and also “R/Fantasy’s Offi­cial Under­rated and Under­read fantasy” list

    http://​www​.reddit​.com/​r​/​F​a​n​t​a​s​y​/​c​o​m​m​e​n​t​s​/​258​h​b​s​/​r​f​a​n​t​a​s​y​s​_​o​f​f​i​c​i​a​l​_​u​n​d​e​r​r​a​t​e​d​_​a​n​d​_​u​n​d​e​r​r​e​ad/

    with 3 votes for Sun Sword and 1 for House War.

    It’s always inter­esting to me which works of yours that people actu­ally try, but based on the mentions that I’ve made then for certain I know that at least 2 dozen books have been purchased or checked out from the library. And hope­fully it’ll be more, but this is a rela­tively recent effort and of course they’re not as easily avail­able every­where. For example one person in Australia read and really enjoyed the Hunter’s duology, but said that he had trouble getting anything past that at an afford­able rate.

    I’m sure that you’ve already given a lot of thought to issues like promo­tion and marketing, but as a well-inten­tioned fan (who in no way wants to over­step any bound­aries, and my apolo­gies if anything I’ve said drifts into that terri­tory) I just want to spread the word, both for you and for the many people that I think might enjoy one or more of your series if they were more aware of them.

    Hope that the vaca­tion goes well, and thanks for the update.

  41. Sharon says:

    I think what­ever you find the better to deal with is the best way to go. Some people can be full of things to say in a newsie way and others need the written word (their books) to get across what they want. That’s what makes each of us different people. I follow you on FB as well as the blog and usually see a noti­fi­ca­tion from one or the the to your posts. But it’s some­thing you have to feel comfort­able enough to do so that you don’t dread it or put it off.

  42. michelle says:

    More in the way of writing retreat, really. Although some­times those seem a lot like vaca­tions, in that the only thing to worry about is…writing :).

    As for snow… in Toronto, houses are built to keep heat *in*. It gets very, very cold (as in the cold will kill you if you are not prepared for it) during parts of our winter. BUT. Because it’s cold, our houses are heated, and the heat is a constant 68 degrees.

    So Melbourne in Winter was like autumn in Toronto — it was lovely to walk outside. It was very cold INSIDE. So sweaters & etc. etc. when inside were neces­sary. When the alpha reader visited, he found the cold (in November) extreme (it’s not — January and February are the cold months), but found the inside of the house very warm.

  43. Rita Mcguire says:

    I too will take what­ever form of commu­ni­ca­tion works best for you. The State of the Writer works just fine for me. And, as for Oracle, NO, don’t take anything out, I love your long books. I read them as an eBook, maybe you could have the long or short version as an option. I would certainly buy the long version, even for a few $$ more.

  44. Tchula says:

    I still check your live journal every now and again, too, I find those posts very inter­esting, even though they are not usually writing-related. Your blog here seems to give writing updates often enough that I don’t really see what more a newsletter would add, although if you decided to write one, I’d defi­nitely sign up for it.

    Goodreads, as others have mentioned, is another very conve­nient way to receive noti­fi­ca­tions for new book releases. Maybe you could just add a link to it from your main website page and save you the need to write a newsletter? Unless you want to put things like personal appear­ances at cons, etc. in the newsletter. But you already have a tab for that on your website, so I’m not sure what else a newsletter would really add?

    In the end, it’s about what will work best for you and cause you the least hassle to main­tain. I have no strong opinion on it other than I try to stick to the KISS prin­ciple in my life when­ever I can. ;-)

  45. EllenO says:

    I would sign up for your mailing list, I’m currently getting email noti­fi­ca­tions when Ilona Andrews updates their blog and Nalini Singh sends out a monthly newsletter with updates, links to past works, excerpts of upcoming and some­times contests. I believe that Nalini has an assis­tant and I know Ilona did just hire someone as well for web, email twitter and the like. Nalini also has a blog that has a weekly readers what are you reading Friday post that is quite inter­esting. Enjoy your trip, really looking forward to the next Cast book at the end of the month!

  46. I defi­nitely prefer the blog, but then I get multiple notices that you have a new blog post up. I’m a member of the yahoo group list, Goodreads, and of course Face­book where I got this notice you had a new one up. My email gets so clogged up I often see things when I finally do a purge, don’t do the headache of checking it every day.

  47. Hilda says:

    Since I started reading your books and your comments, I also read that you have to cut them down. Is it your deci­sion as the writer to end up with a much better book? I some­times wonder if the editors/publisher limit you or any other writer to a number of pages. Or when you cut 20K words, is it to end up with a much better book?. It seems so much effort lost not to have those dialogues, scenes, fights, scenarios, new char­ac­ters, etc. Do any of those end of story pages go into the following book?
    Will we be able to buy Oracle around December?

  48. Alan Witty says:

    Actu­ally you’re the only writer that I follow, so what­ever method you choose I will read I preorder your books and am waiting for cast In Flame . I’m a rereader so every once in a while I will rewad all the Cast series again they never get old.

  49. virginia says:

    I am thrilled to hear that you have finished Oracle. Do you have any idea when it will be published? I prefer your blog over a newsletter.

  50. Kel says:

    I person­ally like the email noti­fi­ca­tion that there is a blog post best. While I may or may not read the newsletter (I get a lot of email — my inten­tions are good, but if they fall off the first three pages of email, chances are bad I’ll remember to read it until I’m purging the mailbox), I always pop out to the blog — and then every­thing is in one conve­nient spot.

  51. Adama Hamilton says:

    I do very much like hearing from you, about you and your writing process. So, please do send me what­ever works best for you!

  52. Sean says:

    I prefer the blog. I like the idea of one place to get the infor­ma­tion when I am ready to get it. I am prob­ably in the minority here but I like the idea of you writing novels more than working the social media angles to keep us updated on the writing that you are doing less of if your are doing more writing on social media.

    That sounded a lot less confusing in my head than what appeared on the screen…

  53. Mary Allen says:

    I like the idea of a mailing list because it puts more to the onus on you. I really don’t want you to do anything that slows down your output. I am not good with blogs etc. I would like to mention that Barnes and Noble put your first three cast books together for less than $11.00 so I jumped on that. I have all the Cast books in Trade and some dupli­cates — as I read your books over and over so am actu­ally in danger of wearing the paper­backs out. I purchases Touch but haven’t read it yet as I think I want to read all three at the same time. I am anxious for Oracle to come out and really happy that it is long. I have pre-ordered Cast in Flame so should have it by July 30th. I have the five short stories asso­ci­ated with the Sun Sword world on nook, has there been any move­ment on publishing them in book form? I have all the House books in Hard Cover and will be really sorry to have to stop reading about Jewel..

  54. Debbie Finlayson says:

    I think stick with what makes you happy. As others have said and your­self also, newslet­ters are time consuming. Time you could be writing or formu­lating or taking in our amazing Aussie winter.
    Newslet­ters we aren’t able to interact with you as we do here.
    As others have also said, and I agree, newslet­ters get lost in amongst all the other emails. This way we come to you. We have the time to spend so we spend it here and chat. I have in the past had an instant inter­ac­tion with you and other fans on other subjects. You can’t do thT with a newsletter.
    Speaking of writers retreats, Dana Stabenow (another favorite author ) is trying to estab­lish 1 in Alaska.

  55. Sarah R says:

    I get email notice from Goodreads when you have a new blog post, and that works fine for me.

    I’ve never gotten the impres­sion that authors are actu­ally the ones creating/sending the newslet­ters that I receive. There’s usually a para­graph or so that purports to be from the author with a little blurb about their latest book (inspired by my trip to X and revis­iting favorite char­ac­ters D & E from prior book Z, et cetera) but the rest is all publishing info and usually has links/ads for other books by that publisher. Several writers are grouped together, I presume by publisher, so often when I sign up for one writer’s newsletter I end up getting 3 or 4 more, which is a bit annoying and has yet to intro­duce me to a new author I that I end up loving.

    Since it sounds like you’d be doing the newsletter/mailing list your­self, I vote not to worry about it right now and focus instead on more writing! Thanks for these semi-regular updates, though. It helps keep my interest high in whichever new one is coming out soon and helps make sure I get it right away once it’s avail­able.

  56. Chris G. says:

    There are 6 short stories actu­ally, and they have been avail­able in book form for awhile. Search ‘Memory of Stone and Other Stories’ by Michelle West.

  57. Mary Allen says:

    Thank you, thank you. I have all six stories on nook but have wanted the hard back. Thanks a lot.

  58. Andrea says:

    I guess it (mailing list/newsletters) would really depend on who signs up. If it is not to his or her liking, he or she would just un-sign up.

    For me, I don’t really sign up for a lot of things, simply b/c I have so much email already that I would regard more as simply more spam (no offense intended). I mean, work alone has me on six email accounts, never­mind my personal one at home.

    For me, I simply check back every now and again, which also explains why my post­ings usually are way after the orig­inal post (late, one could say). Perhaps if you also posted the newslet­ters on your site? It may also elicit others to join up if they like the content, or even offer a way for feed­back on newslet­ters (for improve­ments or refinement/tweaking when you’re starting one up).

    And I agree with many of the others — you’ve got a lot on your plate with churning out so many books right now. Maybe put it to the side for consid­er­a­tion later? Also — you may want to consider having your publisher consider doing it, depending on what you want to do with it. But that comes with the possi­bility of adverts and the like. Pros and Cons. :)

  59. Becky says:

    I suppose my answer to this ques­tion depends on your reason for asking it… Are you attempting to replace your current blog with some­thing more effi­cient or are you looking to expand your current blog by adding a newsletter/mailing list? I can under­stand it if you want to slim down your blog — although I person­ally don’t want you to. Those of us who are die-hard fans will happily devour anything you put in print. I have no advice about the effi­cacy of newsletter versus blog posts because in my opinion, more is more. I would subscribe to just about any source of information/news from my favorite authors. Case in point… I get email noti­fi­ca­tions as well as Face­book posts when­ever you update your blog. On a personal level, I prefer blogs because there is more infor­ma­tion, it’s more personal. I under­stand that it might be more work and result in less posts than a newsletter and I suppose that if it ends up allowing you to inform your readers and give you more time for your books, then maybe it’s the better way to go. But I would heartily miss the slice-of-life aspect of your blogs that give us some­thing to chew on while we wait for your next book. P.S. I have had Cast in Flame pre- ordered for several months now and am on tenter­hooks waiting for the end of the month. Happy writing!

  60. Carla says:

    If writing an regular newsletter and blog takes time away from 1)spending time with your family 2)writing the books that I LOVE, then please, don’t do it. I can take a few minutes to check your blog — it costs me a few minutes and a much-needed break from day. I’d rather have books than updates(not that I don’t love the progress reports), and those updates could just be goal publish dates — I’d be fine and grateful for that.

  61. Jo-Ann Croft says:

    ” There’s also a chicken-and-egg ques­tion. Do authors have a huge social media plat­form *because* their books are already popular, or do they build a plat­form first?”

    As co-authors Sharon Lee and Steve Miller could tell you, the books start it all. Although their publisher told them their books had not sold well enough to generate another contract offer, when the internet took off, they found they had a huge following who wanted to know when the next book would be avail­able.

    Now, many books later, they keep in touch through blogs which works very well to keep fans informed about the avail­ability of books in different formats, the status of the current project and the projected publishing schedule. Along with author stuff, we also get glimpses into their life which gives a sense of connec­tion that you don’t get from a mail list/newsletter.

    This is the same with your blog. It gives a sense of connec­tion to the author that cannot be replaced by a newsletter or face­book. You do not sound enthused about the idea, so I would just tuck it away for now. Perhaps in the future some other method might become avail­able that would suit better.

  62. sparklecat says:

    I want to write books. And I want people to know when the books are avail­able.”

    Courtney Milan’s got a simple ‘new release’ email list. The only noti­fi­ca­tions that get sent out are new releases, which means that it’s one simple email sent out on the release date of the book.

    Easy, mean­ingful, and does pretty much what you’re looking to do. Here’s the link to her descrip­tion of it:

    http://​www​.court​neymilan​.com/​n​e​w​s​l​e​t​t​e​r​.​php

  63. Char says:

    Although it’s always exciting to get updates on what’s coming from you, a newsletter would take up a lot of valu­able time. I’d much rather see you doing what you enjoy, and what keeps us in reading mate­rial (writing books). If your blog posts go to face­book, twitter, etc., auto­mat­i­cally, the update bases should be covered just fine. Really looking forward to Oracle!

  64. Liz says:

    Hi, just wanted to say that I just re-read Cast in Flame for the third time straight this weekend. It is a wonderful book! Loved the mono­logues from Kaylin. Loved the ending!

  65. Rose says:

    My pref­er­ence would be whichever gives you more time to write the books I love to read. I’d rather read books than newslet­ters any day!

  66. Seraphim says:

    I think that it does. When I come to an author’s website as a reader what I am most inter­ested in are these things: What is the current work? When it the next book out? If you have series what is the order to read them in? I just finished Cast in Flame. Marvelous!!! Now I take the year waiting for Cast in Honor and rereading the entire series.

    It is amazing to me that most authors have those items buried or impos­sible to find on their websites. I would also love a excerpt from the next book in the series at the end of the current one.

    Thanks!

  67. Talisha says:

    Yay! I can’t wait for Oracle and I wouldn’t mind the addi­tional 20K words that you currently have. I love your blog posts as they are now. I too would rather you spend more time writing the books I love than having to spend that time on a newsletter. Your current process works fine so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Enjoy your vaca­tion and keep writing wonderful stories!

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