Happy first Friday of April! First things first: I'm not doing any April Fool's stuff, this is just my normal First Friday update where I let y'all know what's new on my end.
Behind the Scenes
Last weekend I did a livestream with Nick Milo of Linking Your Thinking where we caught up and discussed how we've been using our notetaking tools to help us quickly make connections and process information.
The audio went a little wonky early on (sorry!) but we got it fixed when I switched from a hardwired mic to a headset, but a big chunk of the discussion was me talking about what my research process for writing the armor edition was. If you ever wanted a behind-the-scenes look at how I take notes for the newsletter (and what doesn't make it into the newsletter), now's your chance.
After the wings edition went live, a subscriber reached out and shared some additional research. Since Research Rabbit (one of the tools I use to help me find interesting articles and papers relevant to my stories) recently launched global visible collections, I went ahead and seeded a global collection with my follow-up research into wings. You can also check out my collection about dental mutilation if you’re interested; it's based on the dentition edition.
Also, if you haven't seen them already, definitely check out the comments on the clothes edition; there was a discussion of nettle textiles, and Oda shared a fascinating folktale involving spinning yarn from cottonsedge. Shaun also shared some additional information about linen linothoraxes in the comments about armor.
To make it possible for things like seeing comments on past editions, the Iceberg is mirrored to the website, along with articles that generally don't get sent out via email; I try not to clutter your inboxes with things you didn't expect. This month I updated the website's code to take advantage of some of my host’s new features, and make it easier for people to navigate. Check it out and maybe poke around the archives a bit — Curious Disasters: Failed Marriages in Folklore is a fun one if you haven't seen it yet. If you run into any problems, please reach out and let me know.
I’ve also selected a new free sample; Stint (which originally went out to financial supporters back in January) is now available for everyone to read. In Stint, a young mage with a difficult background faces graduation into the harsh lessons of the real world. In the Afterword, I reflect on itinerant lifestyles, parenting, apprenticeships, and moments of clarity in times of stress. Check it out — it’ll be free for the next month, and then it’ll probably go back behind the paywall.
The Business of Writing Stories
Speaking of paywalls, my hosting service (Ghost) is about to start costing more. It’s for an exciting reason: the 1,000 subscribers benchmark!
To celebrate / distract myself while I was waiting for the numbers to tick over, I figured I'd offer to write microfiction for anyone who posts a prompt. Here it is over on Twitter:
If you click through, you'll find some photos of my notebook and how I brainstorm stories. Enjoy!
That said, the downside is that basically, Ghost charges a flat fee based on certain subscriber thresholds (aka 1,000 subscribers!), instead of taking a percentage of revenue the way services like Substack do. I use Ghost mostly because it gives me more flexibility. I really like the way the Iceberg looks on the web, for instance. I also like Ghost because I appreciate their open-source, non-profit business model (and the fact that they let me charge less than $5/mo). This means I’m going to need to restructure my pricing setup soon, especially since I’m working on quitting teaching and going full time with my writing — and the corrupted subscriber databases issue a few months back didn't help.
Over the next week or so (depending on if I run into any technical issues), I will (in effect) be moving all existing paid subscribers to the $5 “premium” tier. Those people will continue to be charged their current rates as long as they maintain their subscriptions, but the premium tier going forward will be the only ones getting access to my personal notes. They’ll also start getting an additional edition each week. Flash fiction is moving to “flash Friday” (4th Friday of the month) instead of the first Wednesday of the month. The premium tier also includes the perks of the “paid” tier:
The new $3/mo ($33/year) “paid” tier will be for microfiction and an ~750 word afterword (like Stint) each Wednesday, instead of every Wednesday but the first (when I used to send flash fiction). I’ll also be providing coupons (and early access!) for my (forthcoming) published works — stories and collections that are too long to really work in a newsletter format.
If you'd like to sponsor my work for a different or additional amount, you can over at ko-fi — all the money goes to things like paying developers to fix my website, hosting costs ($480 a year in hosting alone 😅), hiring copyeditors and cover artists, buying books for research, paying for childcare so I actually have time to write, etc.
Last thing — as I continue along the journey to become a full-time writer, I thought I’d ask: who are some of your favorite online creators? Who should I be checking out that I might not know about? I love using The Sample to find other small indie newsletters, but what about authors? I feel like I know most of the big names, and the Hugo lists are great, but what about the other indie folks? Bloggers, artists, authors? Who’s in your network? Where are other niche writers I be taking inspiration from?
Let us know in the comments!
Note: There are a couple of affiliate links & codes scattered around, but these always come from links I was already recommending and usually I share them because they benefit you too (i.e. getting you extra time on trials).