Many thanks to the seven people who shared their thoughts about the direction of this newspaper. While that may not seem like a lot of people to base a decision on, it's a pretty good percentage of the 41 subscribers we currently have. I'm especially thankful for the insightful comments that accompanied the basic poll.
(If you missed the survey and want to contribute your thoughts, I'll leave it up for another week or so. Believe me, I know how Facebook doesn't always show posts and how easy it is to skip reading a newsletter for one week.)
The Survey Results
- Yes, the newspaper is getting too long
- No, don't create two papers (one for writers and one for readers)
- No, not really interested in paying annually to keep the newspaper going
Suggestions and Comments of Note
- Use heavier curation to share only the "cream of the crop" of articles coming out from our CSF community
- Don't include more than one article from the same person or site in a single edition (if interested, readers can explore that site further for more articles)
- Use advertising for generating income to pay for the paper
- If you want to attract readers, don't focus too much on articles about the writing industry
- Many of our community are both readers and writers, so don't stress over a bit of crossover between articles of interest to readers vs writers
- It's important that Christians who love spec fic discover there's a greater community of people like them, so don't give up
Remembering the Goals
As we consider discuss this resource, it's vital to keep our eyes on the reason for its existence. The CSFR exists to:
- Collect in one place and publish weekly the articles produced by Christians who write speculative fiction
- Demonstrate to Christians who enjoy #specfic that they are not alone
- Showcase books, films, art and TV shows of interest to fans of speculative fiction
- Celebrate the various #specfic fandoms
- Facilitate discussion among Christians about the intersection of the Christian faith and #specfic entertainment
- Promote understanding between Christian #specfic fans and the Church
- Equip pastors to engage with the ever-increasing cultural impact of #specfic
The New Direction: Starting Now
Looking over past issues in the light of the survey comments, I notice that there's an average of about 10 "headline" articles. I'm going to trim this down, probably to six "must-read" type articles.
However, I would hate to miss out completely on the chance to at least skim the other articles coming out. When friends post personal type blogs, I like seeing them in the Community section. When writers post useful publishing resources, I like to keep an eye on those things. And when one site happens to put out two or three articles in a week that are great content, I will continue to include them: because nowhere else will I get ALL these blog posts in ONE email, and the reality is I won't subscribe via email to all of them individually.
For now, I'm going to keep a lot of articles in the paper, but put them into the categories so you can easily skip them if you're not interested.
I'm removing the "Curiosities" section. The articles from Atlas Obscura are an absolute tickle for my brain, and provide some serious story inspiration. But anybody who wants that idea stream can always subscribe to their site on their own.
The New Direction: Near Future
The "pro" version of this Paper.li newspaper expires in December 2017. Between now and then I'll devise an exit strategy that allows me to continue to monitor the stream of content coming out of the #cSpecFic community and curate the best of it to attract new readers and connect them with content creators they'll love (without paying $99/year for Paper.li). Utilizing the Paper.li engine to collect and present all this content has been a great experience, but it's time to take it to the next level and develop CSFR 2.0.