What's our next step?

Occasionally I've waxed poetic on the future of LISNews. I admit that I'm light on ideas, I'm not even sure anything can be done to be done to improve LISNews, or make it more important to more people moving forward. My big idea is to have more original work, more reporting, more stories, more articles, become more a place for news, and less a place for links to the news.

The big question is, how can we pay for "real authors," or at the very least, how can we at least motivate people to "report" for nothing? This is a question I've had in my mind for years, and not been able to find a suitable answer for yet. I'd rather not become an advertising web site. I believe that entities that make money from advertising are simply advertising companies that use some other method to attract people so those advertisers who are trying to sell something to the readers have someone to target advertising to. If it's possible, I'd like to avoid that model of doing business. But what does that leave as our options?

The NPR model, where we beg for money and hope for the best. I've begged, and got pretty much what I needed, but that's just enough, it's not enough to pay anyone for what they do, it's not even enough to say I get paid for what I do, it's just enough to say that I am no longer paying to run LISNews. So that leads me to believe that it will pay the bills, but won't pay the people. So the questions this raises, for me: Would having original works attract more donations? What happens if it doesn't? What else can we give people who donate?

The subscription model, where we have a part free, part paid site? Authors would be paid, write original stories/articles, and only those who are subscribers would be able to read them. What else can we give subscribers?

Are those three models mutually exclusive? Would anyone care if we had real stories? Would anyone read them? Would anyone want to write for us? Do we have a large enough audience to support anything other than my break-even model?

What else could I do to pay people to be LISNews reporters?

Whatever I choose to do, if anything, needs to be not so drastic that if it fails LISNews fails along with it. I'm afraid of pushing too hard and becoming too involved, and just burning out, or spending too much money, and having to fold to pay my mortgage.

Some other random things floating around in my head.

Two plugins I'd like to write for Slashcode:
1. RSS Reader for LISNews accounts
2. Contact Us

Other things I need to work on:
Fix the most popular stories page, and hits updating.
What to do with LISFeeds.
Librarianmail accounts.
Automate signing on and off the newsletter? Or at the very least, signing off, it's a pain.
Get involved with the Slashcode CSS conversion.
various other bug fixes.

Book #1, Book #2, and another Book Chapter. When are those due dates again?

Comments

You could just ask. See what happens. If things end up as pieces of published material later, people could add a little disclaimer or explanation just like they do in Atlantic and Harper's.

Well, maybe I have low standards, but I like just having the links to news stories. I'd read original articles, too (if it wasn't a subscription thingy. I can't afford that), but it's not something I feel is lacking, really.

I know I view some of the journals here as being "news" or at least discussing the news. Sometimes the responses in the article discussions are eloquent too. I guess I don't really understand the need for orignal articles. Is it just to get more folks to LISNews or increase the variety or...???

I'd be willing to write original articles--although I'd need some guidance on what sorts of things to write about. And if you have people writing for LISNews you'd need editorial guidelines, wouldn't you? Would it be strictly factual reporting or editorial type pieces or a mixture of both? And while getting paid would be cool, it wouldn't bother me if I wasn't paid. After all, I write fanfic so I'm used to writing for free...

s/

I've been meaning to ask, What is fanfic? Is it a hobby, an obsession, a passtime?

"Is it just to get more folks to LISNews or increase the variety or...???"That's a good question. Why bother? I guess I'm not sure, but it's a feeling I have that I feel like we need to do something different, like it's a next step, a logical progression. I hadn't thought about what it would do to readership, might increase, might decrease, might do nothing, I can’t even guess at that one. It just feels like more original stuff is a good fit, it's what we're missing, and it would make us that much better (better than what or whom, I don't know really). It increases the variety, gives people a new outlet, gives people something new to read, something different, from new authors, and new voices.I guess I'm not really sure I have a perfect answer, I'm really just riffing here. It's the same feeling I had when I started the site: "because it's not there." Maybe it's a good idea, maybe not, but I think it would be a neat thing to persue.

"Is it a hobby, an obsession, a passtime? "

Fan fiction is all three for me. I'm sure there are writers out there that it is only one of those three things for.

If you want a definition of fan fiction, go here. It has a good definition and history as well as explaining some of the genres of fan fiction.

I don't write as much as I'd like, but I do use it to relieve stress and express myself. As with all writing there are some really good fanfic writers as well as some really bad ones. I like to think I fall somewhere in the middle...

s/

I suppose, in a way, I've already done this, as all current LISNews authors have carte-blanche (is that how you spell that?) to do write about whatever they feel is worth writing.I guess I've never put out a call for authors, "real" authors, asking for just people to "write", as opposed to "blog," not sure if that would make a difference or not.We've got a fantastic group of authors now, I don't even know if we need more.this is all just kind of thinking out loud I guess.

So who or what do you write fiction about [for] [around]? Is Laurie King, a best selling author who writes mysteries based on the character Sherlock Holmes a writer of fanfic?

I googled some popular TV shows + fanfic and found some amazing stuff--but not very good writing. I don't think the screen writers are in danger of losing their jobs, but I can see it would be an interesting and challenging hobby.

"So who or what do you write fiction about [for] [around]? Is Laurie King, a best selling author who writes mysteries based on the character Sherlock Holmes a writer of fanfic?"

Most folks say they write "for" a show, just the terminology. If Laurie King is a published author then in the true sense of the word, he's not writing fanfic. The same as the people who write Star Trek novels aren't considered to be writing fanfic. In their heart of hearts that may be how they feel, but fan fic is not pro writing. Most fanficcers would view it the same. Some fanfic is published but not by publishing houses--it's usually someone with a computer, photocopier and binding machine and they only charge enough to cover costs (production and shipping). They're called "zines" (short for magazines).

As to what I write; well, I write slash (if my login wasn't a big clue;)) and my current obsession is NCIS and I've written a fair number of stories for a (now cancelled) show called The Sentinel (my intro into fandom); CSI, and a couple other shows that no longer air. Most slashers have favourite pairings that they read and/or write for. I'm not as prolific a writer as some are. I am, however, a voracious reader!

"I googled some popular TV shows + fanfic and found some amazing stuff--but not very good writing. I don't think the screen writers are in danger of losing their jobs, but I can see it would be an interesting and challenging hobby."

Not all fanfic writers have pro aspirations--and there are some writers who feel they don't even have to proofread their work *shudder* (or use a beta reader--similar to an editor) and there are a some who hold their work to the highest of standards. Believe me there have been many a discussion on many a mailing list about that topic. (Ie: I'm a genius and no ONE is changing a word of my brilliance; sorta like Anne Rice.) There are also a lot of people who want no negative feedback at all about their work. I think that's ridiculous--if it's constructive criticism, send it to me! Like LISNews there are people who are out to attack other people who send nasty feedback just to be nasty.

It is a challenging and to me, very interesting hobby to be involved with.

s/

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