(Editor’s Note: There is a lag here, obviously)

I’m writing this from Lincoln City, Oregon, on a Sunday morning instead of the usual Monday. Will post it tomorrow while I’m driving home. Been meeting with some folks down here to talk about stuff.

Nothing formal. Mostly getting together with some folks I haven’t seen since before the world ended and catching up. They just all happen to be writers.
And, as happens, we talked business and other things. Mostly sharing what worked recently and what didn’t. What they’d tried and how that had worked out for them.
One of the things I heard about was how one friend was writing an essay on Patreon that they immediately shared on Substack, then launched out on their main blog two weeks later. They write more essays and less about the “peek behind the curtain” than I do but the idea resonated with me and I intend to implement it going forward. This will post on 9/19. Then it will show up over on the bw blog on 10/3. With that in mind, I plan to “adjust” my focus on the Patreon blog a bit.
In the past, I talked about the nuts and bolts. I also have too many newsletters that I keep up with. Publishing news. Anti-Stodgy/Redneck Chef. Cole Braddock for those folks. Milestone Indie Publishing for a different group. Boundary Shock Quarterly every three months.
The main BW blog has suffered, and I needed to do something about that. So more interaction on both, and less separation.
That was the other part of usefulness from spending a couple of days hanging out with old friends. Rejuvenation of the creative side of things. As writers, we often work without people around. Stay home and write, a bit oblivious to the outside world.
Then a pandemic hit and not a lot changed for most of us, even though everybody else had their lives upended. Everyone was at home. We need to get out and see folks more. Talk. Something.
Something that someone else mentioned was how much the next generations are less about having to jump onto media trends because of an artificial scarcity model. In the old days, you saw the book on the shelf and had to immediately buy it, because you might never see it again unless it was a mega-seller. It went onto the TBR pile, and you’d get to it.
Same thing happened with television for us oldsters. It was on and you watched it, or you missed it and hoped to get it on reruns or syndication. VCRs were okay, but remembering to program them was the issue. DVRs kind of helped, but then the world changed and people got into primitive streaming (Netflix dvds in the mail) or actual streaming (all the services you pay for each month, in order to watch your various shows).
For a time, folks would binge, because all of a whole season would drop at once, and folks would consume it. The problem was that the show disappeared from the public dialogue about three weeks later.
Nowadays, the media conglomerates drop 1-3 episodes at once, then feed the rest through on a weekly basis to create that artificial scarcity that you have to think about it and wait for it, instead of consuming when you want it.
But that won’t work.
Another friend ignores those shows until they complete a season run dropped, then binges them, but she’s off-schedule with folks that are tracking it weekly.
Others might wait until a show is complete (because most only run 1-2 seasons anyway these days) then catch all of it, but only if the cultural decision is good. (If you didn’t watch Game of Thrones when it was on, would you really start it from scratch today, knowing how badly they ended it?)
Fans do not have to consume something now. They can time-shift it how they want. Artists (us) have to take that into account. For writers, we put things up on all the major distributors (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, D2D, etc.).
Some folks will read it immediately. Captain Daring #3 has been out for 9 days and has 30 ratings on Amazon at this moment when I checked. I’m seeing a surge in sails of book one (of a trilogy) now that all three are done, because folks wanted to binge on them, instead of reading them once per month.
Friday, somebody bought all seven Lazarus books in paper at the same time. The complete set. It’s been out for a while. I don’t know if they sampled and said “YES!” or read them in ebook format originally then decided that they wanted them on their shelf. Something
Doesn’t matter. Fan get to decide when they want to consume media. And as creatives, it is our responsibility to serve that need. That means Catalog instead of Back-list. It means interacting whenever we can, regardless of how introverted some of us are. There are fan expectations to be met.
For now, that means trying new things to see if A) I like doing it, and B) it might move the needle in terms of new fans.
So I have a question for you folks, as I’m driving home.
I’ve thought about doing basic videos of me reading short stories and samples of longer pieces. Put them up on YouTube or Tiktok. (Or wherever.) And I’m not talking audio books with a lot of professional editing and polish. I’m talking about me, turning on the camera, sitting in my blue chair, and reading something, so all the errors, all the profanities (I tend to swear like a sailor) and all the everything you’d get from me doing a live, public reading.
Short stuff is probably a five minute video. Or a good chunk of some fun chapter, like the one I just did this week as part of Corsac Fox #2. I was giggling as I reread it, because a fairly minor character got his moment to shine and was complaining about how Tuesday his week had gone.
It was great.
Dunno your general ages, those of you reading this, so I don’t know if you are a representative sample. But is that something you might enjoy? No offense, but I don’t my fan base to grow old and die on me, like happens to some writers. I want to bring in a lot of younger folks who will enjoy my take on things and keep me in kittie kibble for a long time.
So you, yes you, hit reply and say yay or nay to watching me commit audios of some of the short fiction I have that even you haven’t read (or heard). And then go ask your kids or grandkids who are into SF what they think.
At the end of the day, the phrase I heard that best sums all this up is “Fan-funded-fiction” and I want to make sure that you’re happy. And happy to keep funding me to create new things.
And thank you so much for being my patron and for funding these essays!
If you’re reading the free version (which is published two weeks after the Patreon version), please consider joining the ones who do pay at https://www.patreon.com/blazeward. It’s only a buck and helps keeps the lights on around here.