I’m now a columnist at The Writing Cooperative. Also, I’m giving away books (international shipping available)

First, here’s the book giveaway. Yep, it’s international.

These books aren’t famous. They’re only popular within a particular niche, or not popular at all. To explain why people would want these books cluttering their bookshelf space, I wrote reviews. I submitted them to The Writing Cooperative to get extra exposure.

I didn’t expect Justin Cox, the editor, to like my reviews so much that he invited me to become a regular columnist.

I said yes.

Here are anti-paywall links to the book reviews which have already been published. More are coming.

“Publishers (Including Self-Published Authors) Need This Book’s Message”

“Even This Book’s Mistakes Show You How to Write Better Blurbs”

“This Book Flopped. Seize Its Bestseller Insights Anyway.”

I hope these reviews bring you something of value (the books themselves contain much more value).

Breaking Out of My Comfort Bubble: How to Write About Asexuality and Aromanticism for Allos?

A few days ago Prism & Pen published my essay, “Are Aces Doomed to Just Be Tokens in LGBTQ+ Spaces?” (That’s the anti-paywall link; it will give you access to the story even if you aren’t a paying Medium member.)

Submitting this essay left me feel nervous beyond the typical nerves of submitting to a publication for the first time. First, entering an unfamiliar LGBTQ+ space as anything other than a mere ally gives me trepidation. My personal experience is that most LGBT spaces aren’t intended for aces or aros. Some of this is based on experiences over a decade ago, when LGBT organizers were far more unaware of asexuality. On the other hand, the small minority of LGBT people who are hostile towards aces and aros are more vocal today than ten years ago. If an LGBT space doesn’t clearly accept aces and aros in a way that’s easy for outsiders to see, my assumption is that it’s not a space intended to include aces or aros.

On top of all that, my piece included some criticism of something a Prism & Pen editor said. Criticizing the editor who chooses whether your essay gets published is a risky move. However, James Finn has shown before that he cares about showcasing a variety of views and not just works which confirm his own opinions, which is why I thought my piece still had a chance of getting accepted. And he accepted it for publication. This increases my trust in him as someone who values discussion among multiple viewpoints.

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This Time, I’m Asking You to Try My Email Newsletter

I binged book reviews and analyzed them before I thought of sharing them. Even if my book review binge email newsletter had zero subscribers, I’d continue doing it. I also don’t want to annoy people by pressuring them to sign up for my newsletter. That’s why I haven’t tried hard to promote it.

However, this month, ConvertKit has a challenge to increase subscribers as much as possible. Thus, I’m going to try harder than before to get more subscribers. I won’t do anything unethical (such as sign up people without permission) or even anything which feels too pushy to me, but putting my toes outside my comfort zone will, at a minimum, teach me something.

Because of the challenge, I put together a new landing page using some of ConvertKit’s advice. I’m curious how it will compare to my original landing page, which is still live. The original landing page is upfront, whereas the new landing page uses more ‘salesy’ language. I’m curious which approach works better.

I also created a guide to how I analyze the book reviews as an ‘opt-in incentive.’ Originally, I didn’t want to use a ‘bribe’ to get people to subscribe because my thinking was, the digests should be the reward for signing up, thus anyone who didn’t want the weekly emails shouldn’t subscribe. However, new subscribers might need an orientation to understand what I’m doing, and that orientation could be the ‘incentive.’

By making a bigger push, I may annoy some people. On the other hand, if someone who otherwise wouldn’t have signed up benefits from the emails more than they expected, that justifies pushing for subscribers. I can’t find the right balance between ‘push people to sign up so hard I annoy them’ and ‘be so timid about promotion than the people who would like these emails never sign up’ without trial and error, and some of that error WILL fall on the side of annoying people. If I annoy you by being pushy, please give me constructive feedback so I can better calibrate this balance.

Because of the challenge, instead of saying ‘here’s this newsletter if you’re interested,’ I’m asking you to sign up on one of the landing pages I linked above. If you don’t like it, unsubscribe. I know this email newsletter won’t be for everyone, and I’ll have no hard feelings if you unsubscribe. But, if you have any interest in books, please try it. Also, please share it with anyone you believe might be interested.

I appreciate feedback. Which landing page do you prefer? What’s your advice for attracting subscribers? How can I improve my email broadcasts?

The Word Is Out: I’m Working on a Novel

Has it already been a year since I wrote the first draft? (Answer: almost a year, I finished the first draft in September 2020).

Sorry I didn’t tell y’all about it sooner. So, so, so many bloggers write novels and… I was self-conscious about being yet another blogger who wrote a novel (why? Looking back, I don’t understand why I felt that way). Since I didn’t tell y’all earlier, I’ve been waiting for the ‘right moment’ to mention it.

The moment has come, even if it’s the wrong moment.

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Why I Don’t Do Crossposts with This Blog

During my years as a blogger, I’ve written posts for other blogs in addition to this blog, yet I’ve never, ever cross-posted. Sometimes, cross-posting is not an option – for example, my agreement with Hacking Chinese was that anything I wrote which was published there would not be published elsewhere unless the Hacking Chinese website permanently shut down or became paywalled.

But even if I had the option of crossposting my contributions to Hacking Chinese to this blog, I wouldn’t do it (unless it was the only way to make those posts available on the internet).

Most of the contributors to the The Asexual Agenda (TAA) who also have independent blogs crosspost most (or all) of their contributions to TAA to their personal blogs as well. I’m the glaring exception.

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What Surprised Me about Blogging about Asexuality

This is for the March Carnival of Aces, which is themed as ‘Writing About Asexuality’.

I decided to name this blog ‘the notes which do not fit’ so it could be a place where I could put writing which I want to be public, but which I can’t place somewhere else. At the time I started this blog, asexuality was the topic which I most wanted to write about publicly for which I didn’t have some other forum, but this blog is first a Whatever Sara Wants to Write About Blog, and only an ‘asexuality’ blog in a secondary sense. That is why there is no ‘aseuxality’ or ‘ace’ or any reference to such in the title.

One reason there is such a high concentration of writing about asexuality (and aromanticism) on this blog is that, when I want to write a lot about something else, I tend to find another place to do it. For example, I wrote the ‘It Came from the Sinosphere’ column at Manga Bookshelf, and right now I have my own blog about travelling in South Korea (and if I ever decide to do a significant bit of writing about my travels elsewhere in East Asia I will probably not do it here at ‘the notes which do not fit’).

All of this implies that asexuality/aromanticism is something I care about which is harder to fit in elsewhere.

Now, once I started blogging on a regular basis, I assumed that the ‘notes’ I wrote would only get a few readers, but I still wanted to write it. For example, I expected ‘”Going to College” and the Old Neighborhood’ to get very few readers – a prediction which so far is totally true, by the way. And I assumed that asexuality-themed posts would be likewise not-very-much-read.

Probably my most-read blog post ever “A language learner’s guide to reading comics in Chinese”, and my other guest posts at Hacking Chinese are pretty widely read relative to most things I’ve written. This is partially because Hacking Chinese is an excellent blog which has a large readership, and deserves even more.

My second-most read blog posts on the internet? My asexuality/aromanticism blogging, particularly if I am also talking about fiction, though “Why Are Sex-Indifferent Aces Assumed to be Open to Sex” also seems to have touched a nerve.

I’m surprised by this result. Something which I expected to be read by about, say, three strangers on the internet, is being read by a lot more than three people. And it’s asexuality of all things.

I think it’s because there is a rather large group of people who really really want to read about asexuality and easiest place to find in-depth writing about asexuality is ace blogs. I remember back in late 2009/early 2010 reading and reading and reading ace blogs (and you can probably guess which blogs those were, since there weren’t so many ace blogs back then). Even though only a small fraction of those people on ace-blog reading binges ever find their way here, apparently some of them do.

All of this means I’m doing the right thing by writing about asexuality and aromanticism. We need more of it.


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