…About Tales of MU
First of all, there was a conversation I kept having around the subject of Tales of MU, involving people who were either lapsed readers or current readers who were far behind. Someone would ask me how often I update it, and I would say, apologetically, that I try for more, but just lately it’s been one a week most weeks.
And the response would be something like, “Oh, good, maybe I’ll start reading/catch up.”
I’ve always seen frequent updates as a key to maintaining an audience and also making sure I’m giving sufficient value for my readers’ money, but after the third time I had a conversation like that, I started to wonder if my sense of “frequency” isn’t calibrated a little high. I am an unusually fast reader, after all.
I’ve been thinking about the value I give my readers, but I hadn’t given much (or any) thought to the time investment being a reader requires of them. Maybe having 6,000-9,000 words of new story a week is too high an “engagement cost” to most readers, compared to 2,000-3,000.
So, as an experiment, I’m going to be dialing it back to once a week, intentionally. I know I’ve done this before, but always for internal reasons. Here I’m going to have a mixture of internal and external. The current book is already intended to be a good jumping-on point for new readers, so I’ll also point it out to former readers looking to ease back in without having to archive binge first if that’s not their thing. We’ll continue onward at the relatively gentle pace of one chapter a week… though not this week. My travel misadventure plus (ongoing) sickness has not given me much in the way of creative time or energy.
Second, it’s striking how frequently readers I meet in person mention how hot/well done the sex scenes are. This is something I have a great deal of insecurity/uncertainty about. The idea of writing straight out erotica with the MU characters/in the MU world (as in stand-alone shorts that don’t need to be understood in the context of the larger story) is one that is evergreen, but one that I’ve never quite been able to pull off… but I feel like there could be interest (and thus money) there.
Third, even people who have drifted away from or outgrown the series appreciate it. Multiple individuals told me words to the effect that the story was there for them when they needed it or taught them something that they needed to know. That’s a good feeling.
First, I am much better at moderating panels than I am at moderating forums or comments sections. I was assigned to moderate one of the panels that I was on, which gave me some concern as I’ve never counted moderation as being within my skillset. It actually went fairly smoothly, with some understandable first time hiccups that didn’t seem as noticeable to anyone who talked to me about it afterwards, and next year I intend to actually put myself forward as a moderator.
Second, I am getting much better at recognizing people. Frankly, I think this is partially down to going to WisCon every year, but I think Tumblr deserves a little bit of the credit.
My first panel of the weekend was on the subject of managing canon, how much one cares about maintaining strict continuity. I may make a blog post summing up my feelings on this later, if I still feel like doing it when I have a more orderly brain, but one thing that came up in the panel that was sort of a theme for me for the rest of the con was the idea that we are not the same people who wrote our first books/earlier works.
And this helped slot some things into place that I’ve been trying to get a handle on in my personal life, where I spent about five years trying to live my life in a holding pattern and have been having a hard time shifting out of that. I think the major problem there is that I can’t go back to who I was in 2009 and hit resume, which is what I’ve been trying to do.
As (WisCon 39 Co-Chair) Mikki Kendall has noted, the situation was never quite as dire as the mythmaking has made it out to be. WisCon 39 was always going to happen as long as enough people were willing to make it happen. Of course, “enough people” is a slippery concept… we really need to better distribute the load for next year.
While many people are understandably disappointed in some of the decisions that were made during the transition between the old guard and the new, the quiet efficiency with which certain problems were handled this year speaks to a more pro-active and nimble approach to things that I think will make for a safer and more pleasant convention all around. Many people I spoke to noted a change in the atmosphere that was hard to define, but welcome.
I don’t know. I left very hopeful for the future of WisCon. I didn’t do as much to support WisCon 39 as I’d wanted to, partially because my life was bumpy in unexpected ways but also partially because I think I misjudged where I could most easily make the largest contributions. Knowing better where my skills are needed is going to let me contribute much more to WisCon 40.