Closing Time: The End of the Sneaky Kitty Critic’s Newsletter. (We’re moved to the blog now!)

All things come to an end, and the Sneaky Kitty Critic newsletter has driven the Wenchasaurus Rex to the end of her rope. So rather than strangling herself with it, she’s turned it into a whip, doused it in napalm, lit it on fire, and has turned it onto the server.

Buh-bye, mail server. Well. Almost. It has to finish sending out this final missive first.

We want to start this with a thank you to those who understand there is a real human behind the Furred & Finned Management. You’re appreciated. All journeys come to an end, and it’s time for the newsletter to ride quietly into the night.

There are a lot of people angry over the piracy newsletter we sent, too. (That’s okay. Go ahead and be angry at us for venting. If you’re not a pirate… it’s not targeted at you… and losing that much money over and over every book release is very frustrating for everyone involved.)

But there’s more to this than just that, though.

Ever since the death of Tia the Majestic, the human has, frankly, kinda loathed anything to do with the mail server she’d operate to help us send missives to you. Newsletters are an odd beast. They’re also expensive odd beasts.

But they were several hours of work a piece, and every time she goes to it, she gets a little bit angry, a lot sad… and using the software (and handling all the coding stuff) no longer held any joy.

There’s something to be said for getting rid of things that don’t spark joy. (And cost a lot of money without sparking any joy.)

We love talking to you humans, especially the ones among you who live and breathe books. That’s what we’re here for.

But, when we’re honest–a lot of people come to our site and read our missives for the laughs, the games, and the cat pictures. That’s fine. Really. We enjoy making you laugh.

That’s part of why our female writes books.

Laughter is good medicine.

But, there’s also a point in time where the Wenchasaurus Rex must figure out what makes her happy while also making you happy.

There’s some economics here, but it boils down to this: servers are expensive. Hosting the mail server? Also expensive. Hosting the mail server that sends images… even more expensive. (The female pays for each email sent, and then she pays even more for the load on the server as those emails are sent with images.)

With the website, wordpress helps carries the burden of expense; it comes part of the fancy thingies she uses/pays for to make this website happen. This means we can keep bringing you pictures at a much lower cost.

This may look impulsive, but as some of you are aware from being a subscriber, we’ve mentioned it before. We’re just moving the timeline up and cutting our loses now rather than carrying the burden of server costs for half a year to a year longer.

It adds up fast, humans.

So, this is a new start on the author’s adventure in writing and authoring.

Newsletter operators look at numbers. Subscribers are numbers. (When we send a newsletter, we just see a number.) It’s lifeless to the Wenchasaurus Rex. She does try to make it fun for everyone through us. (She helps us a lot with these things, you know. We just try to pretend she doesn’t.)

She’s tired of seeing people as numbers, so she’s getting rid of the numbers. Boom! It’s done. Fans are not numbers. People are not demographics. (And no, for the nth time, not everyone on the list is a pirate and if it doesn’t apply to you, please take it as intended, something to educate you.

While littered with curses, because nothing sucks quite as much as losing tens of thousands of dollars to thieves. (You’d be upset, too. Right? Well, the female is upset. With reason.)

She’s not sorry she’s upset, either. She may be a little sorry for offending some people, but… if it’s not about you, don’t worry about it.

Ending the newsletter has been a long time in the making, but after spending most of the day responding to as many messages as she can (many of them angry, including the typical I don’t even know who you are, how dare you sound like you’re accusing me of piracy!) she’s tired.

Everyone in the Blain household is tired.

P.S.: If you’re not pirating books, the letter wasn’t to you, but it was put there to educate you. While our intention was not to upset you, we of the Furred & Finned Management ask you consider why you became upset.

If you’re not a pirate, it’s not about you. You’re good. It’s that simple. If something is not directed to you, it makes zero sense (at least to us) for you to be offended by it. If you’re upset by it because you’ve done something in the letter… well, that’s something to think about.

Those who are pirates probably aren’t going to be shamed by their behavior or care. But maybe they’ll get angry and leave. (Which works for us.) This site is operated one part labor of love and enjoyment of entertaining and helping other authors, one part as a business investment. That’s reality.

At the heart of her rant is a simple truth: the female can’t do jack shit about the pirates no matter how hard she fights them, and they cost her, directly, tens of thousands of dollars. Some pirates take her books and sell them on sites (not the big vendors) because they can. That just makes the loss of the sales even worse.

She’s not sorry she’s angry to the point of tears. At all. We hope you understand that.

This site, while operated by cats, is for the human’s book ventures. It is her passion, her love, and her dream. It means more to her than just a pay check, but she needs that check to survive.

(Just like people who go to their 9-5 job expect to be paid for their work.)

We enjoy being cats and entertaining you, but we’re here for the books. I know a lot of people who have been subscribed (and stayed subscribed) have followed because of us kitties. That’s great. Please continue to follow our adventures. (Although when the female and co leave for England, they will be accompanied by a plushy friend.)

She’s still trying to figure out how to sneak Ebola the Virus into her purse without TSA giving her stink eye. (Note: it’s a plushy, not an actual disease.)

If Ebola can’t be sneaked into England, Fippy Darkpaw will travel to castles instead–or Potion the Cat. We’re still a bit hazy on who will actually travel to England for photo ops and trip adventures.

We are going to a kitty palace for a vacation of our own. We’re totally not sure about this, but we’ve been told we will be fed at the appropriate intervals.

Posts will be more frequent without the newsletter stressing out the Furred & Finned Management. Some will be ranty. (We’re cats, after all. Passionate cats who love books. We’re also passionate cats who love food, and money is required for food. Things like piracy take food off our table, and we don’t like that.)

It’s okay to get upset sometimes. Everyone gets upset sometimes, even passionate cats who love books and food.

Some readers are really upset with the piracy message. It is what it is. We’ve lost fans because of it, too. (That’s fine. We’re abrasive, and we aren’t safe for some audiences.)

We’re honest, and we’re imperfect beings. The human? Particularly imperfect. We can’t be positive and happy all the time.

We expected to lose readers today when we posted our message. We posted it understanding we will lose readers. Closing the newsletter? Will lose us fans and readers and buyers. We know this.

We understand it.

For those of you sticking around, thank you. We hope to see you around on the blog, and we hope to talk to you in the comments.

You can subscribe to get email notifications of new posts on the right side menu on desktop browsers or at the very bottom of this page on mobile devices.

While this blog is operated by two cats, and people love cats, it’s about a writer working her ass off to make a living entertaining people.

Her name is RJ Blain.

To those of you offended by our recent post? We’re sorry you feel that way, and may you find great books and authors you enjoy elsewhere. We’re not for you–and that’s okay.

For those of you sticking around, we hope you’re sticking around for more than just cute pictures of us cats.

And with that, this part of our journey comes to a close. We’re turning off the lights and putting the server to bed. Once the emails are sent, things like the unsubscribe links will no longer function as there will be no server for them to go to.

For those of you who aren’t staying around or visiting our website (thesneakykittycritic.com), we truly wish you well in everything you do, and may you find your next new favorite book with the drawing of your next breath, because nobody should have to struggle to find a book to fall in love with.

So long and thanks for all the fish, newsletter subscribers. It was great while it lasted. We’ll be up to our same old in new forms, and we hope you come join us on our new adventures.

Leave a Comment:

28 comments
Sue Weinberg says February 4, 2019

Dear Ms. Rex (or may I call you Wenchasaurus?) I read Princesses piracy post with a heavy heart. No, I am not a pirate and have never purchased a pirated book. But I love books and grew up in a house FULL of books. My father was a science writer (textbooks, articles, research, etc) my mother loved to read, and my sister was a librarian. I feel your pain and sympathize with your loss. I just wanted reach out and tell you that some of us understand, support you, and share your pain.
Hugs,
Sue and my 4 Feline Overlords: Lucy, Binks, Link, and Isabella (Izzy to her friends, and although she does not make friends easily, I think she would be proud to be your friend).

Reply
    The Sneaky Kitty Critic says February 4, 2019

    <3 Wench, Wenchasaurus Rex... Rexy... whatever you prefer, just don't call me late for dinner. (I'm very food motivated.) Thank you for reaching out, and we hope you have a fantastic time on the blog even though it's not quite the same as the newsletter. (But you'll get it more often. That's something, right?)

    Books are amazing. There was... a bible and like five history books in my house growing up until I learned to actually read in 4th grade, and then I could only get books when they were gifts, from the library, or really cheap at a used bookstore. (I got to go to the bookstore for a new book only a few times a year.)

    Thank you for supporting authors. People like you mean the world to us.

    Reply
Kevin McIntire says February 4, 2019

I’m not going to say I have never downloaded a free pirated ebook. I do realize that it hurts the authors when I do and you have a perfect right to rant about it.

Reply
    The Sneaky Kitty Critic says February 4, 2019

    Thank you for having the courage to admit that. I appreciate it. (I also hope you’ll consider going back and buying copies of the books you pirated… but really, I’m not the morality police… although a ranter is gonna rant. Or, even if you don’t… take the time to make a list of the books and take that list to the library and request them from your local library. That way, you give the books to other readers without actually buying them (but the author gets paid.)

    (But if you didn’t know, most public libraries have digital book library systems, so you can just take your ereader or phone and check out ebooks at your library!)

    Reply
Jules says February 4, 2019

just a little commiseration, please feel free to vent, swear and otherwise make known your anger at pirates. I fully understand and support you. Books are a joy and reading is a lifetime passion. its only fair to pay for the privilege of reading and enjoying stories from people like you who have the talent to provide them. I don’t know why someone would feel its directed at them, but hey people are strange. keep doing what makes you happy, and the rest of us will enjoy the results of your writing talents (at a cost… hopefully without a body count).

oh yeah, enjoy England, hope the weather is good (it tends to be a bit temperamental). Note, that while they speak English it is a bit different than your used to.

Reply
Amy Allen Hallmark says February 4, 2019

For the piracy post – Good for you for posting it!! I was angry for you (the human female) for it happening. As an author also – I have been lucky (or maybe not popular enough even after 2.5 years – LOL) to not be pirated – that I know of. I know that for me – if I come across a book on Amazon I like but can’t afford – I save to a private wish list to get later. And will never ask for an ARC (from any author). I rarely send out to readers myself (only once or twice for my own and a couple for anthologies). I don’t even join ARC teams because I won’t guarantee I’ll read by when needs to be reviewed.

For the closing of the newsletter – LOL – I get the blog posts already because mail server doesn’t like yahoo – LOL – so I haven’t received as a newsletter for a while now.

Thank you for all you all do (cats, fish, and human). You are very appreciated and loved.

Reply
    The Sneaky Kitty Critic says February 4, 2019

    The blog posts are prettier, easier… and just better! Cheers to the blog emails! Cheers!

    ARCs are so stressful. After I had two releases hosed do to piracy, I developed a severe allergy to them. (At least it delays the pirates a little while not having them?)

    But what annoys me sooo much is when people use the argument of “But it’s exposure!” Uhm… no, it’s “people are stealing my stuff and will get the whole series from their pirate sites so that exposure is worthless.” They’re not even going to the library to pay me…

    Reply
Ingrid says February 4, 2019

I’m sorry!! I cannot believe people are mad at you. Your product is being stolen!! Good luck in your writing!!!. And bad wishes to all the pirates and grumps

Ingrid

Reply
Robin says February 4, 2019

I’m glad you kitties are going to keep things going for the human. I’m not at all offended by something that was addressing someone else’s bad behavior! Only guilty and/or stupid people would be offended and unsubscribe. Their loss. I hope you all get to have fun vacations! You might want to suggest to the humans that reading a couple of US terms vs. UK terms might be helpful and also avert verbal disasters. Trust me on this.

Reply
    The Sneaky Kitty Critic says February 4, 2019

    I think we know most of the UK curses that would offend most Americans, and we’re okay with those. We’re generally well-spoken, so we should be okay on the general front. I hope. We’ll adventure. (I hope. Or something.) I’ll try to look up slang before we leave… if I get time ahahahah!

    Reply
Helen Jensen says February 4, 2019

Hi. Normally I don’t comment or communicate in any way with the authors of the books I read but I make an exception this once. You have a perfect right to rant about people who steal from you and I really hope you don’t listen to those who claims otherwise. I’m not good at finding words so I’m not going to say much more then this except that you are one of my favorite authors and I preorder your books as soon as I can.

Reply
Richard Dominguez says February 5, 2019

Sorry, it maybe me (I’m sure it is) but I can’t find where to sign up for the newsletter. Please add/keep my email on your newsletter and thank you very much …

Reply
    The Sneaky Kitty Critic says February 5, 2019

    You need to plug your email in on the side or bottom box where it says subscribe to the blog. That’ll make sure you get email notifications of blog posts. I can’t add you to it, as that’s illegal *and* it’s outside of something I have access to.

    Reply
Aisha-kimberly Hashmi says February 5, 2019

Awwww. I was just getting to know you!!! Love the cat photos and their rants, lol. You do you and be happy. I personally am offended by the pirates, not you, and anyone writing nasty notes to you because you were REAL in your newsletter can fuck off, get a life, or support you and your work with no strings attached, like a book lover is supposed to do. My cat has a gun and wants to pop a cat is someone’s ass, so theres that…

Reply
Susan Bradley Skov says February 5, 2019

I have enjoyed the newsletters very much. I cried when Tia died. I understand perfectly why the newsletter has to go. May all pirates get blown out of the water, sooner, rather than later!! Go write some books, human female. Go eat some tuna, furred management. Finned management, be happy as a fish in water. I’ll see you on WordPress!

Reply
Aisha-kimberly Hashmi says February 5, 2019

And one more thing. I happen to be an ARC reader for many authors and will tell them upfront I will read it by an exact date and do so. I read very fast and typically can do a smallish book within a few hrs then immediately go do my reviews so that way I am helping get the word out. Then I DESTROY AND DELETE my copy. Unless an author gives me explicit permission that I can keep it, and half of the time all the rewrites, corrections and new lines of thought the author has by the time the book is complete, it is a totally different fresh book. In many cases I have even reread the book after we gave our correction and suggestions and am totally surprised by a new ending, etc. For Andrew Mackay and a few others, i have been a trusted ARC and even have had characters named after me in the books or helped choose ways characters die, etc, and I STILL keep mum about the book and dont even share that with my friends. Thet want to see a great mind at work, they need to pay for it.

Reply
Orvan Taurus says February 5, 2019

We love talking to you humans…

Well, about that… }:o)

Reply
Orvan Taurus says February 5, 2019

Also, don’t hold back so, tell us what you REALLY think of piracy, would you please?

* Ducks & Covers *

Reply
Ros Hammann says February 5, 2019

You were perfectly right to be upset over being pirated. That is not right and if someone is offended by the rant, that is on them. You can be sure that if it happened to them, they would be screaming. Personally, I will never buy a pirated book knowingly. If an author does not get paid, they do not write. If they do not write, I can not read. The world would be a sadder place without books and we do not need it to be sadder than it already is. If you need to rant, do so. You have a right to do so. Those who do not like it, do not need to read it. 🙂

Reply
Cathy says February 5, 2019

Wow, I totally sympathize with you and don’t blame you for venting at all! I think I would be using a lot harsher words. I hope the sites that I have used are not on the list of thieves. You mentioned BookBub so I guess that one is safe. What about Prolific Works, The Kindle Book Review, AuthorsXP.com (from Amy Vasant) and ReadFree.ly? These are the main ones that I use and I hope they are all legit. Please let me know if they are not and I will stop immediately. I would never want to be a party to pirating. Of course you deserve to be paid for what you do and the enjoyment you give your readers.

Cathy

Reply
Paula says February 5, 2019

I read the piracy post and got angrier and angrier (OK, pissed off) – at the pirates! I knew this happened with movies & songs, never thought about it happening with books, so thank you for the education. I know the feeling of being ripped off – my husband & I used to do art & craft shows, had a hand-burned/painted wooden ornament, wood sourced from our own yard, hours in the making, stolen from my display – still mad years later. Thieves are all parasites and scum, no matter if cyber or in person. This goes for both those running the pirate web sites AND the ones downloading the stolen content.

I freely admit to being frugal (cheap), but it’s so easy to use legitimate sites like Bookbub, my library online & in person, author freebies, Amazon Prime freebies, not to mention actually paying 99 cents or $4.99 at times, which isn’t really far from free. Sheesh, what’s wrong with people? Seems I remember years ago some people downloading pirated music actually got arrested. That should happen more.

P.S. my nickname in some areas of the web is KittyG (long silly story involving Ebay). But I am a cat person!

Reply
Paula says February 5, 2019

I only ever read one pirated book, and it was because I couldn’t buy it (it wasn’t one of yours). As soon as it became available to buy, I bought it. Actually I bought it twice-paperback and ebook.

Reply
Denise says February 5, 2019

I will really miss your newsletter. I understand the why. Will read your blogs and FB postings.

Reply
    The Sneaky Kitty Critic says February 5, 2019

    The blog has the same exact type of content the newsletter had but more frequent and easier. (And looks better in the email box if you sign up to have emails sent to you.)

    And much less expensive.

    Reply
Letha Gray says February 5, 2019

Congratulations on your move!! And pirating is pure AWFUL theft!!

Reply
Becky Andreasen says February 5, 2019

Just want you to know that I totally support your position. You have every right to rant. And anyone upset by the language used has obviously never read one of your books or they wouldn’t be surprised.

I totally love the ability to download ebooks – and especially audiobooks – from my local library. I do so whenever I feel my book addiction is getting out of hand (costing more than my mortgage). I tell every reader I come in contact with about this marvelous source.

I am constantly adding book requests to my library website. I had never heard about your pirated books before, but I immediately requested them from my library.

Sorry to see the end of your newsletter, but I am signing up for notifications from your website.

Thanks for writing. My life would be very empty and colorless without the output from you and numerous other authors. I truly appreciate all of your hard work and effort.

Reply
N. V. Patterson says February 5, 2019

Dear Sneaky Kitty Critic and RJ Blain, aka Wenchasaurus Rex,
Thanks for the memories – “so long & thanks for all the fish” – the newsletter, the blog, and most of all, for the BOOKS!

Will follow you all on the blog as the newsletter says goodnight, Miss Moneypenny. (That’s from Ian Fleming & 007, not about penny pinchers.)

P.S. Sorry you got so much grief about the piracy newsletter. Some of us are not so dumb….

Reply
Susan E Aceto says February 6, 2019

There was never a doubt that I would stick around for the blogs.. Love hearing about all the stuff so will look forward to still contributing.

Reply
Add Your Reply