A publishing update and springtime weather, among other things

The weather is doing that Nevada Springtime Thing where it’s vacillating between hot and cold. This is so rough on me. I’m alive when it’s hot and I’m dead when it’s cold. When it gets hot then warm, my body registers it as cold. Fifty degrees feels totally different depending on whether I’m on the way up or down. Fifty degrees isn’t cold! Unless it was seventy degrees a couple days ago.

I’ve been getting out to walk irregularly, at weird times. Today was the first time I did my regular-ish morning walk like a normal warm day. I think it’s only going to get warmer from here, but you really never know with Nevada.


I’m trying out a new mass email provider. Being able to contact readers about new books is essential, and mailing lists tend to be the backbone of publishing, no matter how old-timey it feels. I mean, emails? BookTok is all anyone has wanted to talk about for a while. Maybe looping people into Patreon. But just straight emails?

It works for a lot of people quite reliably. It has always *kinda* worked for me. I don’t know if the issue has been writing my emails badly, or my domain being disliked by providers, or if the emails I have just aren’t great quality. I made most of my sell-through on books starting in with freebies. Freebie readers tend to have totally different patterns than those who will buy books at full price.

My new email provider doesn’t seem to have improved anything over my last ones (deliverability, open/click rate), but at least I have one again. I lost the old guy because I didn’t send any emails in way too long. Getting things back together has been…not fabulous.

Anyway, I’ve had no pleasant surprises with this release, but it’s still a release. I’m still always grateful that any number of people read my books at all. Period. It doesn’t feel real?

I’m doing all the stuff I can control, that I’m also willing to do. I’m not going back on Patreon or learning Kickstarter any time soon. I seem to have lost the hunger that used to motivate me to do insane backflips to pull something resembling success out my butt. That’s probably for the best. Learning to temper my rather extreme personality kinda means learning not to care about anything so much.


Onto reading the news.


Readers Take Denver (a publishing conference for readers) was such a disaster that it hit mainstream-ish news. Here’s the NYPost calling it the Fyre Festival of Books.

I didn’t pay a lot of attention like this because I’m the hermit kind of author, not the conference kind of author, but enormous anger radiated through the spaces to which I am still tangential.


The outlook for Tiktok in the USA isn’t good. Our government wants to ban it if the owner doesn’t sell to Americans. ByteDance is suing (The Guardian), but time will tell if that’s effective.

In the meantime, Substack is trying to coax creators over. (Engadget) You know, Substack? With the Nazis? (The Atlantic)

Nowhere is perfect. But I wish we’d have a resurgence in creatives simply self-hosting content. Discoverability is a challenge, but…isn’t it always?


Various states are arresting student protesting against the attack on Palestine. Quite a few of the students have accepted this. (NPR)

Cornell University doctoral student Momodou Taal was suspended for participating in a pro-Palestinian encampment.

“The school has deemed that my activity or my participation on campus is a threat somehow,” Taal said.

Taal was never arrested, but his involvement with a pro-Palestinian team negotiating with Cornell University administrators got him suspended, he said.

He is now in a fairly unique position.Taal is a British student, and a suspension could lead to him losing his international student visa.

“Fundamentally, I risked all that I’ve risked so far for what I believe is a just cause, and that’s the Palestinian cause,” Taal said.

Some teachers are getting arrested along with their students. At that point, it’s turning into a class for everyone involved. (DMagazine)

This isn’t going to be the first generation of students with activist arrest records.

But arrests aren’t even required. An encampment developed on Trinity College, (The Guardian) and the college committed to divesting from Israel. The protesters dispersed peacefully. There are other ways to do this.


Quanta Magazine talks about intelligence in insects. I also recently linked an article about plants having some kind of intelligence. (NPR)

I’ve always thought there’s likely more consciousness/intelligence in the living world than we’re willing to accept. My assumption is that this is for practical purposes. We’re empathetic, social creatures. If we really believed that everything had some kind of mind — maybe a soul — like we do, would we be able to end those lives as easily? on the scale required to support human civilizations? Is dismissiveness about coping?

I don’t think it’s all about the empathy, though. Colonial cultures and religions just want to think that they are above other things, and that they have a right — nay, the divine obligation — to destroy things that are lesser. That’s probably why the idea of insect and plant intelligence won’t ever get more than fringe traction.

Maybe if science keeps pulling out cool discoveries, like the fact whales seem to have a phonetic language (Smithsonian Mag), attitudes will shift somewhat.


I feel like I’m always reading about cool archaeological finds in random UK places. (The Guardian) All I get to dig out of my garden is stray cat shit. I’m not jealous, you are.


Are you sane? Oops, I misspelled that. Are you a sriracha fan? We’re looking forward to a shortage thanks to climate change. (WaPo) Or a “severe drought.” Depends on how you read it.


There’s an upcoming movie called “Humanist Vampire Seeks Suicidal Person.” The title alone has my attention, but there are more details at The Film Stage.


Roblox continues intensifying its ad efforts — here with a Netflix team up. (Engadget) Nonetheless, their stock has fallen some twenty percent lately. (Quartz)

Meanwhile, users like my kids are getting increasingly annoyed and disinterested. But maybe Roblox doesn’t care about my kids anyway. They’re starting to age out of Roblox (at thirteen and nine), and games for kids do have a limited lifespan. Maybe Roblox is betting they can catch the next generation of toddlers before they learn to care about being inundated with ads. According to the Quartz ad, daily active users have increased 17% regardless.

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