The Journal, Sunday, September 8

In today’s Journal

* In this time
* Topic: Some Sources Say
* What has become (daily diary)
* The numbers

In this time of weird events and self-absorption, I thought I’d share some info about a truly great organization: Team Rubicon.

This outfit provides disaster relief without regard for politics, race, gender, nationality etc. Members are dispatched to trouble areas (mostly natural disasters) to help clean up, rebuild, comfort survivors and do whatever else is necessary.

Team Rubicon is composed mostly of former and retired military and first responders, but anyone who wants to help is welcome to apply.

If you’d like to get out of your own 10% and lend a helping hand or even just donate funds, drop by Just sayin’.

Topic: Some Sources Say

This morning I read a blog post that warns writers away from publishing author newsletters.

The blogger included a couple of quotes from writers who advocate not using an author newsletter. She even referenced Anne R. Allen’s recent blog post about readers not wanting a “personal relationship” with authors. Finally she wrote “News flash: Not every reader is a groupie. As a matter of fact, most don’t want their privacy violated. Most don’t care about an author’s personal life.”

All of which left me shaking my head.

First of all, when an author shares details (real or fictional) about his or her personal life, how does that “violate” the reader’s privacy?

Second, I have to wonder where the blogger came up with the statistic that “most” readers don’t care about an author’s personal life? Do you suppose she actually interviewed a significant number of readers (say, a million)? Or is it more likely she was just making an unsupported blanket statement?

So here’s my own news flash: It isn’t your job to pre-judge what readers want to read. Your job is to write. The reader’s job is to decide what he or she likes.

Understand, I don’t really care what readers want, other than to read my books. But I care a great deal that yet one more respected figure out there is slopping advice on a wall without bothering to think of the impact it might have.

As you probably know, I don’t have an author newsletter, though I’m hoping the new manager of my publishing company, StoneThread Publishing, will start one soon specifically to announce and talk about my books. I’m pretty prolific, and books don’t announce themselves.

That being said, you also know that for the past few years I’ve published this Journal almost every day.

Admittedly, the Journal is mostly for writers, but I often publish a “topic” on writing, and in each edition I publish my own numbers, occasional info on my own books, and tidbits about my personal life (vignettes, really).

Some subscribers are here for the writing tips. Some are here for motivation, to see what they can accomplish if they apply themselves and stick to it. Some are here for the personal insights. I suspect many are here for a combination of those.

My point is that blanket statements, by their very nature, are never valid.

The fact is that some readers are naturally curious and want to feel they “know” you better. (As an aside, that doesn’t make them “groupies.”) Other readers couldn’t care less about the personal stuff. And the old truism applies: You can’t please everyone.

So the secret, I think, to writing an author newsletter (or regular blog) is to please yourself and be consistent. And the key to consistency in blogging, as it is in fiction, is to write what you want to write and let the readers decide what they like or don’t like.

If you aren’t comfortable sharing personal information, don’t. If you are, do. My (almost) daily Journal, to me, is chatting over the back fence with friends, some of whom are readers and some of whom are other writers.

And I’m very glad you’re there, no matter the reason.

What has become my normal time for rising in the morning has adjusted recently. I’m more of a 4-5-ish riser now instead of a 2-3-ish riser. That’s odd to me.

I’ve also noticed that other than learning, I’m not getting as much done as I used to either. No particular physical reason. Just a bit of a metamorphosis maybe. So further adjustments are on the way.

I’m also currently striving to learn some things that are required of Team Rubicon applicants. Not sure at this point whether I’ll actually join the team as an on-the-ground member, but we’ll see.

The retired Marine part of me would like to, but in the past few years everything for me has boiled down to a time-investment–reward assessment. Is learning seemingly unuseful information (FEMA stuff) important just to achieve a particular goal? Or maybe I’ll come to realize that what appears to be less-than useful at the moment really is important. Also, maybe more on this later.

For more on getting and being comfortable in your own skin (from the topic above), see “The James Garner Secret” at

Today is Sunday, so more than likely I will do poco o nada.

Talk with you again before too long.

Writing of Blackwell Ops 7: Glynn Marco (novel)

Day 8…… 1253 words. Total words to date…… 15916

Fiction words today…………………… 0
Nonfiction words today…………… 880

Total fiction words for the month……… 0
Total fiction words for the year………… 374653
Total nonfiction words for the month… 3370
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 250080
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 624733

Calendar Year 2019 Novels to Date…………………… 7
Calendar Year 2019 Novellas to Date……………… 1
Calendar Year 2019 Short Stories to Date… 2
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 43
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 195
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31

6 thoughts on “The Journal, Sunday, September 8”

  1. I read the James Garner Kill Zone article. Thanks for mentioning it because I agree whole-heartedly with the “James Garner effect.” When I’m in the zone, I’m not just following my characters around, I become the characters. My pulse races during fight scenes, and although I blush to admit it, at times I’ll cry along with my characters.
    I’ll also look into Team Rubicon, but like you, need to see how much time I’d need to study (ugh) FEMA rules etc.

    Good post today. Thanks

    • Thanks, Alison. Yup, I’m inside the POV character’s mind and body in any scene, and I generally suffer all the same emotions.

  2. Speculation on my part, but I think there market is undergoing another change and some of the old marketing techniques are suddenly not working.

    As it was described, this trend into “personal” sounded intrusive rather than simply small talk so readers could see you were a human being. If it is a trend, it’s curious the direction it went. I’ve been expecting a shift to rebalance the in-you-face culture of writers expressing political opinions as if they were experts. It only works until a reader disagrees with one thing and stops buying books–or passes the writer by entirely.

    Time will tell.

  3. I read the original article on Ann’s blog that sparked this discussion. I could see her point, but I scanned the people’s icon photos in the comments and noticed that most of them are significantly older than, say, the 25 to 35 year old market that steamy New Adult romance novels would be targeting with their “intrusive” newsletters. My point is, her experience as an author is skewed towards a more baby boomer audience and she is likely just not that well informed on millennial internet culture.
    People on YouTube for example LOVE it when youtubers share intimate thoughts/behind the scene moments and will go out of their way to ask for more. Different techniques appeal to different crowds, and her crowd was simply different from the “intrusive marketing techniques” crowd.

    • Thanks. Again, my overall point is that what a reader finds “intrusive” is up to the reader. I personally don’t see how it’s possible to “intrude” on someone by sharing details of one’s life. If I were asking personal questions or otherwise demanding details of another peron’s life, THAT would be intrusive.

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