Ramblings (pl. noun): talking or writing in a confused way, often for a long time
Bardlings (pl. noun): Ramblings from Bard

[tsat home] [#36] [editorials]
Posting to Lists
by Michael W. Bard
©2004 Michael W. Bard -- all rights reserved

There are a number of mailing lists available to writers, including TSA-talk, Furry-Lit, and TFWF. Doubtless there are hundreds I either don't know, or have forgotten about. If you know of one that I missed, please let me know. As well, there are also a number of fiction critique organizations, but I am purposely disregarding them. They generally don't have a standard mailing list, and they also usually require stories to be complete before you post them.

Which brings us to the topic at hand: How should one go about presenting one's work to a mailing list?

There are two effective ways of posting stories that I've seen, and a couple of ineffective ways. The two main ones, both of which I've used, are going to be discussed below, and the others mentioned.

All At Once: The first way, and the most common, is the 'All At Once' method. This method is fairly self-explanatory. You completely finish the story, and then post it all at once.

Note: Most lists have an upper size cap on posting sizes so large stories generally need to be broken into segments. In this case, all of the parts are posted more or less at the same time.


Thus, generally, you get more comments, can make a more polished story, but may not see interesting options until it's far too late.

A Bit At A Time: In this case you post parts at (hopefully) regular intervals. Generally one part a day.


Other Methods: Note that these are more complaints and annoyances at some of the things I've run into. Use them at your own risk.

Posting When You Feel Like It: If you post parts at random intervals, you will have fewer readers and will need to have some site where readers can easily find the older parts. You end up with the disadvantages of both main methods above, and few of the advantages.

Blackmail: This usually comes in the form of 'unless I get a number of comments, I'm not going to post the next part'. Or, to put it more bluntly 'send me $10 or you'll never read the rest.' Anything like this will almost certainly piss people off. They'll stop reading and never touch anything of yours again.

Long Preambles: I've seen some people who post stories at long intervals, often for good reason, to have a 'part 0' e-mail or equivalent that is basically a synopsis of what happened already, and a list of characters for the newcomer. Generally this turns people off. 'You mean I have to read all this before I can even read the story?'

Anyway, I hope this helps you in your writing. Good luck!

[tsat home] [#36] [editorials]