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And Now, For the Rest...

PostPosted: August 11, 2004, 05:31:59 PM
by Jeff_Williams
I posted something like this on the "Nightwatch" thread, but this actually goes for the entire zine.<br><br>We're hearing from the usual suspects on the Lettercol, but what about the rest of you? Writers want as much feedback as they can get. :)<br><br><br>Thanks,<br>Jeff Williams

Re: And Now, For the Rest...

PostPosted: August 11, 2004, 10:19:22 PM
by Robert_Moriyama
I posted something like this on the "Nightwatch" thread, but this actually goes for the entire zine.

We're hearing from the usual suspects on the Lettercol, but what about the rest of you? Writers want as much feedback as they can get. :)


Thanks,
Jeff Williams
<br><br>I'm a suspect? Damn, I could have sworn I cleaned up all the fingerprints, scoured the place to eliminate any DNA traces, etc., etc. (They say the percentage of homicides going unsolved in the Toronto area is rising (although the number of homicides is down). I blame the two (soon to be three) "CSI:" TV series for pointing out all the things you have to worry about leaving at the crime scene.)<br><br>Robert M.

Re: And Now, For the Rest...

PostPosted: August 11, 2004, 10:48:51 PM
by Vila
Well, since the editorial staff was being called the Editorial Mafia, in the chatroom one night we decided that the writers who submitted stories more regularly had to be "the Usual Suspects." I took it a step too far when I suggested that the Readers were then relegated to being the UnUsual Suspects.<br>For some reason, it never caught on.<br>Dan<br>

Re: And Now, For the Rest...

PostPosted: August 11, 2004, 10:56:47 PM
by Robert_Moriyama
Keyser Soze says he doesn't like all this loose talk. You've been warned.

Re: And Now, For the Rest...

PostPosted: August 12, 2004, 02:00:30 AM
by davjonz
I like them stories what you put up on the online. You boys got some kind 'o writing fools at this here place. Maybe I'll give my two cents on one or three.<br><br><br>-- david j.

Re: And Now, For the Rest...

PostPosted: August 12, 2004, 08:23:05 AM
by TaoPhoenix
<br><br>I must be a usual suspect ....<br><br>See my folder in Trivia ... the reviews are starting to come off the production line .... <br><br>In any forum, only 10% of the group are"teacher's favorites", aka people who like to holler /speak out / "share in class". <br><br>It also means Aphelion has a modest readership. <br><br>At least for me, overall, this is the best source of solid SF I have to enjoy. (6 years of back issues!) <br><br>---TaoPhoenix

Re: And Now, For the Rest...

PostPosted: August 12, 2004, 09:11:33 AM
by kailhofer
I object to being called "usual." :)<br><br>How about 'Aphelion's Irregulars?'<br><br><br>In all seriousness, perhaps some of the problem is that folders should be created for all the stories as soon as the issue is put out. I've noticed that folders are slow to appear, but after they are there, a lot of comments are suddenly posted. <br><br>Nate

Re: And Now, For the Rest...

PostPosted: August 12, 2004, 09:55:25 AM
by Robert_Moriyama
I object to being called "usual." :)

How about 'Aphelion's Irregulars?'


In all seriousness, perhaps some of the problem is that folders should be created for all the stories as soon as the issue is put out. I've noticed that folders are slow to appear, but after they are there, a lot of comments are suddenly posted.

Nate
<br>'Irregulars'? I presume you are referring to those ragamuffins (useful, but ragamuffins nonetheless), the 'Baker Street Irregulars' who served as Sherlock Holmes's eyes and ears on the streets of London. Or maybe the 'Dorsai Irregulars', who used to provide paramilitary security at major sf conventions. If, on the other hand, you are referring to our digestive rhythms, see my suggestion about more bran in the diet ...<br><br>I'm not sure if having a bunch of empty folders would necessarily have the effect you have in mind. For one thing, stories that attract NO comments would be more conspicuous that way, causing some distress to their authors ...<br><br>Robert M.

Re: And Now, For the Rest...

PostPosted: August 12, 2004, 10:31:48 AM
by kailhofer
'Irregulars'?  I presume you are referring to those ragamuffins (useful, but ragamuffins nonetheless), the 'Baker Street Irregulars' who served as Sherlock Holmes's eyes and ears on the streets of London.  Or maybe the 'Dorsai Irregulars', who used to provide paramilitary security at major sf conventions.  If, on the other hand, you are referring to our digestive rhythms, see my suggestion about more bran in the diet ...
<br>Good one. Quite funny.<br><br>I was thinking more of a play on words betwixt our own unusual qualities and the military aspect of soldiers who are not assigned to be part of the regular army units. In this way, Aphelion's Irregulars would be an army of off-beat writers milling around, waiting to spring into action.<br><br>As far as the folders go, how is that fundamentally different from the effect of stories or poems that have no folder created for them at all over the course of the month?<br><br>Nate

Re: And Now, For the Rest...

PostPosted: August 12, 2004, 10:46:20 AM
by Vila
Oh well, I told you it never caught on. The "usual suspects" bit is a quote from Casablanca, as I recall. People have been using it to refer to a group of people that they see quite often. Old B&W movie fans probably started the fad.<br>As for creating folders, *that* is up to the readers. Any Lettercol member can create a folder for any specific story or poem. Once Rob creates the main folder for that month's issue he turns the content of it over to all of us<br>The 20% or so of the 60 Lettercol members who *do* post often are probably writers. The rest are probably readers, for the most part. This most likely represents Aphelion's overall readership. We get 100-200 unique hits on the counter each day- more when a new issue is just beginning it's run. There are lots of readers and a still-growing family of writers who visit Aphelion regularly. I think the Lettercol is a microcosm of that.<br><br>Dan<br>

Re: And Now, For the Rest...

PostPosted: August 12, 2004, 12:52:49 PM
by Robert_Moriyama
As far as the folders go, how is that fundamentally different from the effect of stories or poems that have no folder created for them at all over the course of the month?

Nate
<br>Well, unless someone makes a direct comparison between the stories listed on the main page (.../index2.htm) and the folders on the lettercol, they will not know specifically which stories are drawing no comments (if they even notice the shortfall in number of folders at all).  On the other hand, if there is a folder with zero comments on Day One when a new edition goes online, and that folder STILL has zero comments when the next edition is announced, it will be obvious that The Cosmic Accordion by Beldar Conetete was either not read at all, or was not worth commenting on.<br><br>That said, I have a major whack of stories to read if I want most authors to get at least ONE comment this month (although you and a few others seem to be picking up the pace).<br><br>Robert M.

Re: And Now, For the Rest...

PostPosted: August 12, 2004, 07:56:47 PM
by Greg_Guerin
The 20% or so of the 60 Lettercol members who *do* post often are probably writers. The rest are probably readers, for the most part. This most likely represents Aphelion's overall readership. We get 100-200 unique hits on the counter each day- more when a new issue is just beginning it's run. There are lots of readers and a still-growing family of writers who visit Aphelion regularly. I think the Lettercol is a microcosm of that.
<br><br>Jason Fischer has proposed an Australian ezine publishing a multi-writer series modelled on the Mare but with a fantasy theme! <br><br>Somebody is paying attention. I don't know how many read Aphelion, but a heck of a lot of people seem to know about it.

Re: And Now, For the Rest...

PostPosted: August 12, 2004, 09:47:26 PM
by Vila
Greg,<br> Should I e-mail Jason and ask to write a story in his series? If someone is seriously using us as a guideline I'd like to help them if I could.<br> Its hard for me to think of Aphelion as being as widely known as people tell me it is. I'm proud, but its the staff that make Aphelion what it is. Thank Cary, Jeff, & Rob, and Ralph & McCamy. <br>Dan<br>

Re: And Now, For the Rest...

PostPosted: August 13, 2004, 08:02:10 AM
by Therio
If someone is seriously using us as a guideline
<br><br>Maybe you can get royalties. Let's see, .05% of $0 income equals a royalty payment of... :P.<br><br><br>

Re: And Now, For the Rest...

PostPosted: August 14, 2004, 05:08:35 PM
by dsullivan
The 20% or so of the 60 Lettercol members who *do* post often are probably writers. The rest are probably readers, for the most part.
Dan
<br><br>I think it would be super if readers commented on stories.  I used to be a regular contributor to a monthly print zine.   The zine had a Letter of Comment feature for readers to comment on stories, and it worked real well.  Many of the readers did nothing more than list the stories in the order that they liked them, for example: 1.) Planet of Robots.  2.)  The Thing in the Attic.  3.)  The Wizard‘s Revenge.   A few readers did add comments as to why they liked or disliked a certain story.  I think writers would appreciate feedback in just about any form.<br><br>I think readers provide a  kind of feedback that is different from the feedback of writers and editors.  A writer tends to look for things such as hooks, exposition, cliches, grammar, spelling, descriptions, and so on.   Most readers (not all) pay little attention to such things.  Readers want a good story that holds their interest and keeps them turning pages.  I speak from my experience as a reader before I ever took up writing.<br><br>  Sometimes writers get the feeling that nobody ever reads their stuff but other writers.  Feedback from fellow writers is certainly valuable, in that it helps us improve our craft.  But  I, for one, would also appreciate comments--good or bad--from readers.  <br><br>Donald<br><br> <br><br><br><br>

Re: And Now, For the Rest...

PostPosted: August 15, 2004, 09:02:02 PM
by Greg_Guerin
Greg,
Should I e-mail Jason and ask to write a story in his series? If someone is seriously using us as a guideline I'd like to help them if I could.
<br><br>Dan,<br><br>Can't see why not. I will email his address to the Mare subs address, but let me know if you prefer otherwise (can't find any other address for you here).<br><br>

Re: And Now, For the Rest...

PostPosted: August 16, 2004, 07:23:08 PM
by kailhofer
I think it would be super if readers commented on stories...
Feedback from fellow writers is certainly valuable, in that it helps us improve our craft. But I, for one, would also appreciate comments--good or bad--from readers.
<br>We all would love to serenaded by some reader who eloquently sang praises of our work. It would fill the nagging doubt that hides deep inside our souls and let us know that we were doing well, and that we could be proud of ourselves.<br><br>I've never received an actual fan letter, mind you, but if the feedback I received from creative writing classes and Lit. clubs readings are any indication of what's out there, you might think twice about a desire for such input:<br><br>The story was really good. I liked the part where the character did the thing, but then it turned out not to be that at all. That was spooky. --The End <br><br>Ok, I picked out the worst one, but none of them were very articulate. Hearing that something "was good" made my ego feel better, but after that, I started hoping for comment from writers over readers.<br><br>Nate

Re: And Now, For the Rest...

PostPosted: August 16, 2004, 09:52:51 PM
by dsullivan
...if the feedback I received from creative writing classes and Lit. clubs readings are any indication of what's out there, you might think twice about a desire for such input:

Nate
<br><br>I didn't have readers from creative writing classes or lit. clubs in mind. I was thinking more of your average Joe/Jane reader, the kind of reader who reads for the joy of reading--the way I used to before I started writing.<br><br>This is not to say that I don't enjoy reading a good story now--I do! Sometimes I even get lost in a good story. But when I read a story now, even by my favorite authors, I tend to critique the story as I go along. <br><br>Donald<br><br>

Re: And Now, For the Rest...

PostPosted: August 20, 2004, 12:40:09 AM
by kailhofer
As I looked at the member list this evening, I noticed something.<br><br>9 of the 64 members account for 763 posts out of 1,018 total since April.<br><br>That means we few, we happy few, do three-quarters of the posting (and that Robert needs a hobby since he has a fifth of them by himself ;).)<br><br>Now, clearly, we're a bunch of loudmouths :), but it seems like there ought to be a higher membership if the zine gets two hundred unique hits a day.<br><br>I assume we'd all like there to be more members, because we all want more chances for feedback on our stories or poems (I know I do). There is a wonderful sense of community amongst the grumbling nitpickers around here (myself included), but I can't see anyone being turned away.<br><br>Does anyone have suggestions as to what can be done to a) increase membership, and b) coax more people into commenting? I think more people have commented in August than previously, but, personally, I'd love to have even more folks hanging around to the point that rest of the world finally realizes what a grand place this is for writers.<br><br>Jeff posts calls for input, but I can't say how many people besides the 64 members ever see them. We need a way to bring in people who aren't members already.<br><br>Guerilla Marketing was never my strongest subject, and I certainly don't expect that members will start traveling the globe to setup Aphelion booths at Cons--we're poor authors, after all. <br><br>TaoP did some contacts, as I recall, to have us listed as an exposure site.<br><br>I don't know of any news service that would care if we put out news releases, and no one can afford to put up banner ads. Does anyone have pull with anyone at writers digest or other resource sites?<br><br>Is there a way to link the board with the stories so that some of the comments can follow the stories, and thereby entice more responses from the readership?<br><br>What else can be done? Any suggestions?<br><br>Nate

Re: And Now, For the Rest...

PostPosted: August 20, 2004, 01:02:42 AM
by Robert_Moriyama
As I looked at the member list this evening, I noticed something.

9 of the 64 members account for 763 posts out of 1,018 total since April.

That means we few, we happy few, do three-quarters of the posting (and that Robert needs a hobby since he has a fifth of them by himself ;).)

Nate
<br>As I said to Greg in another thread, I'm chasing that damn fourth star. I'm beginning to think that Rob Wynne is watching my count and upping the 4-star threshold every time I get close. (Yes, it's all about ME ME ME. If you feel dizzy in my presence, it's because the world is revolving around ME.) So we who post a lot and pursue that next star are just a bunch of 'Star Whores'. (Joke repeated from other thread. If Lucas is gonna sue me, I might as well be as guilty as possible.)<br><br>Robert M.

Re: And Now, For the Rest...

PostPosted: August 20, 2004, 01:15:26 AM
by Greg_Guerin
There is a wonderful sense of community amongst the grumbling nitpickers around here (myself included), but I can't see anyone being turned away.

Does anyone have suggestions as to what can be done to a) increase membership, and b) coax more people into commenting?
<br><br>One member mentioned in a previous post (sorry, haven't bothered to look up who/where) that they were reluctant to post because it seemed like there was a bit of an in-crowd here. This perception may come from the familiarity with which people exchange thoughts.<br><br>I think everyone would agree there is no in-crowd, in the sense that everyone is happy to hear from new people. And most of the familiarity (if not all) comes solely from this forum.<br><br>I don't know if others have felt reluctant for this reason, and I don't know what the remedy would be either.<br><br>;)Glad I've managed to clear up the situation.

Re: And Now, For the Rest...

PostPosted: August 20, 2004, 01:19:37 AM
by Greg_Guerin
As I said to Greg in another thread, I'm chasing that damn fourth star.  
<br><br>Does that mean you're planning to retire once you've obtained your fifth star? Or maybe you could re-register and start again. It'd be like clocking an old-fashioned computer game. I wonder how it will feel to be lapped.

Re: And Now, For the Rest...

PostPosted: August 20, 2004, 08:53:59 AM
by Robert_Moriyama

Does that mean you're planning to retire once you've obtained your fifth star? Or maybe you could re-register and start again. It'd be like clocking an old-fashioned computer game. I wonder how it will feel to be lapped.
<br>From the looks of things, the sun may die a natural death before ANYBODY earns a fifth star.<br><br>Brings to mind that line from 'The Impossible Dream' (signature tune from Man of La Mancha, the Don Quixote musical): ' ... to reach the unreachable star ...'<br><br>Robert M.

Re: And Now, For the Rest...

PostPosted: August 20, 2004, 10:24:50 AM
by Jaimie
From the looks of things, the sun may die a natural death before ANYBODY earns a fifth star.

Brings to mind that line from 'The Impossible Dream' (signature tune from Man of La Mancha, the Don Quixote musical): ' ... to reach the unreachable star ...'

Robert M.
<br><br><br>I prefer quality over quantity. :-)<br>

Re: And Now, For the Rest...

PostPosted: August 20, 2004, 10:29:11 AM
by Robert_Moriyama


I prefer quality over quantity. :-)
<br>So you'll be the J. D. Salinger of the lettercol (or almost) instead of the Asimov, King, or Koontz -- your posts will be eagerly received as rare treasures. Well, somebody had to take the Reclusive Genius role; I guess you have dibs on it now.<br><br>Robert M.

Re: And Now, For the Rest...

PostPosted: August 20, 2004, 11:15:53 AM
by kailhofer
Well, somebody had to take the Reclusive Genius role; I guess you have dibs on it now.
<br>Well, if we have to reserve it, I call curmudgeon! :)<br><br>Nate

Re: And Now, For the Rest...

PostPosted: August 20, 2004, 11:41:12 AM
by Robert_Moriyama
Well, if we have to reserve it, I call curmudgeon! :)

Nate
<br>Let's see -- we still need the Brash Young Iconoclast, the Impractical Idealist, the Scholar, the Technogeek, the Technopeasant, the Girl Next Door, the Street-wise Tough Chick, ... you know, the Usual Suspects.<br><br>Hello, is this Central Casting? We're filling slots for Cliche Characters on a lettercol / bulletin board. You can get people started on auditioning by making a bunch of posts to establish what role they'd be best for.<br><br>Robert M.

Re: And Now, For the Rest...

PostPosted: August 20, 2004, 11:48:11 AM
by Robert_Moriyama

One member mentioned in a previous post (sorry, haven't bothered to look up who/where) that they were reluctant to post because it seemed like there was a bit of an in-crowd here. This perception may come from the familiarity with which people exchange thoughts.

I think everyone would agree there is no in-crowd, in the sense that everyone is happy to hear from new people. And most of the familiarity (if not all) comes solely from this forum.
<br><br>Yes, we're always eager to find new victims -- er, friends, I meant friends.  We would never be mean to anyone brave enough -- I mean anyone who dared -- I mean anyone who has something to say, about stories or poems in Aphelion, about writing, or about the state of the world in general.<br><br>Well, okay, we'd be mean, but we'd welcome snarky replies to our meanness.  It's more fun when the prey puts up a fight.;D  (Oh, damn.  Did I just think that, or did I actually include it in the post?)<br><br>Robert M.<br>

Re: And Now, For the Rest...

PostPosted: August 20, 2004, 12:06:48 PM
by kailhofer
One member mentioned in a previous post (sorry, haven't bothered to look up who/where) that they were reluctant to post because it seemed like there was a bit of an in-crowd here. This perception may come from the familiarity with which people exchange thoughts.
<br>I believe that member was me.<br><br>See what happens when you make me feel welcome? :)<br><br>Nate

Re: And Now, For the Rest...

PostPosted: August 20, 2004, 12:08:27 PM
by Jaimie

Yes, we're always eager to find new victims -- er, friends, I meant friends. We would never be mean to anyone brave enough -- I mean anyone who dared -- I mean anyone who has something to say, about stories or poems in Aphelion, about writing, or about the state of the world in general.

Well, okay, we'd be mean, but we'd welcome snarky replies to our meanness. It's more fun when the prey puts up a fight.;D (Oh, damn. Did I just think that, or did I actually include it in the post?)

Robert M.
<br><br>This reminded me of lecture by C.S. Lewis, The Inner Ring, so I went and Googled it:<br>http://members.rogers.com/hoomank/ideas/the_inner_ring.htm<br><br>Lewis brings up some interesting points. A quote from the article on Inner Rings that seems relevant to the discussion on hand:<br><br>"And you will always find them hard to enter, for a reason you very well know. You yourself, once you are in, want to make it hard for the next entrant, just as those who are already in made it hard for you. Naturally. In any wholesome group of people which holds together for a good purpose, the exclusions are in a sense accidental. Three or four people who are together for the sake of some piece of work exclude others because there is work only for so many or because the others can’t in fact do it. Your little musical group limits its numbers because the rooms they meet in are only so big. But your genuine Inner Ring exists for exclusion. There’d be no fun if there were no outsiders. The invisible line would have no meaning unless most people were on the wrong side of it. Exclusion is no accident; it is the essence."