Digital Publishing · Marketing · Self-publishing · Social Media

How Many Writers Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb?

I’m old enough to remember a time when newsletters arrived in the post – the old-fashioned post, that is, as delivered by a postman. You know, post that was actually written down or printed out on paper and stuffed into an envelope. Post that took a few days, rather than a few nanoseconds, to arrive.

Image credit: John Webber|Wikimedia Commons
Image credit: John Webber|Wikimedia Commons

How a few short years can change things, eh? The sight of the postman trudging up to the gate at the crack of dawn is becoming ever more of a rarity. It’s not yet quite extinct, since many organisations and businesses seem curiously reluctant to embrace the internet age. (I’m thinking here of some of the utility companies I’ve been forced to deal with recently, most of which seem to have a positive aversion to that newfangled techno-internet thingy, though strangely enough they have absolutely no problem bothering you with pointless telephone calls about five times a day. But I digress…)

Just a few years ago, the idea of running your own newsletter was fantastical indeed, unless you were rich. Back then, running a newsletter would have entailed collecting people’s actual addresses (the place where they actually, physically live, that is, rather than some strange, wraithlike internet residence), which you’d then have to store somehow – often on paper, unless you were one of the first to experiment with those highfalutin database things. Then you’d have to design your newsletter (or get someone to do it for you), deliver your design to a printer, and stuff the result into dozens or hundreds of envelopes, which would then be sealed and stamped and sent off to their various recipients. Needless to say, the entire process would be expensive, in terms of both time and money, and would frankly have been impossible unless you had a very healthy bank balance and a team of dedicated staff.

Just a few years ago, then, the Authors Electric newsletter would not have existed – but then again, just a few years ago Authors Electric itself would not have existed. Not, that is, unless we all met up in a big room every so often to talk writing, and invited just about everyone we met to come along and join in. Come to think of it, that idea is not without its charms … Sadly, it’s impossible. We’re a disparate group, not least in geographical terms, and getting 29 authors together in one room might just be asking for trouble in any case…

An actor friend of mine once told me the following joke:

Q: How many actors does it take to change a light bulb?

A: Ten. One to change it, and nine to say they could have done it better.

c/o KMJ|Wikimedia Commons
Image credit: KMJ | Wikimedia Commons

I’ve a funny feeling that a similar gag might be applied to writers. (I’m joking, by the way. I’ve rarely met a more mutually supportive bunch than my AE colleagues. Mind you, if a dispute about whose turn it was to bring the booze erupted, just about anything could happen…)

Happily, in 2015 organising a newsletter is not a great deal more complicated than changing a light bulb, thanks to some fabulous services like the oddly-named Mailchimp. I mean, having an email address and internet access is pretty much de rigueur these days. How else would you get to look at pictures of Grumpy Cat, take pointless Facebook quizzes, and while away hours wandering the streets using Google Streetview?

c/o New York Zoological Society|Wikimedia Commons
Image credit: New York Zoological Society | Wikimedia Commons

Anyway, thanks to our simian friends over at Mailchimp, the Authors Electric newsletter is now up and running! (I should know, since I volunteered to set it all up. I don’t know why, I must have been in a good mood at the time.) In return for your email address, you’ll get exclusives and occasional gifts, and you’ll be the first to learn about giveaways, price promotions, and new releases. In effect, you’ll get virtual access to our very own VIP room. We won’t spam you and we won’t share your details with anyone else. You won’t be bombarded with emails, and you can unsubscribe whenever you want.

If that sounds like a good deal, please click on this image…

AE Newsletter Signup Form

…which should, if all is well and the chimps are not on strike, take you to a signup form. And thank you for your support.

I leave you with a riddle: how many writers does it take to change a light bulb?

Answers on a (virtual) postcard, please…

This post is reblogged from Authors Electric.


6 thoughts on “How Many Writers Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb?

  1. I’ll certainly sign up, Mari.
    Answer to your question: one, but none will volunteer, because they are too busy:
    a: doing rewrites
    b. brooding over insolent reviews
    c doing tedious social media stuff that leads nowhere
    d beta reading…
    However, perhaps all they need to do is ask one of their characters (a servile, useful type) to change the said lightbulb, and s/he will manifest to do just that (I wish).

  2. It would take three writers to change the light bulb.

    The first would change it the traditional way.
    The second would go for a more DIY, indie approach.
    The third would tell you how she’s been changing the same light bulb for the last nine years.

    And then there’s that random guy, who says he has lots of ideas on how to change a light bulb, he just doesn’t have time to do it (yet)…

    Congrats on the newsletter!


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