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Friday, December 14, 2001

This in on the FAQ line...The Official Neil Gaiman Newsletter was wonderful, until the last line: "Wishing you all a happy holidays, and hoping that every good girl and boy who haven't yet read AMERICAN GODS finds a copy of the book or audio tape in their stocking on Christmas day!" Neil, I know you didn't write it, but this line upset me. Chances are that most of the people signed-up for the newsletter have already bought the book. In fact, I'd bet that many are like me, spending that extra pocket money on comics and books that we really can't afford. But we indulge, because we love your work. So, isn't it enough just to wish your fans a happy holiday? Must the newsletter, a promotion in and of itself, end in a promotion? You're publicity is always pretty low-key, and I enjoy that about you. Until now, I never felt like your work was being unduly foisted on me. I find myself wondering if the only reason the newsletter was sent out was to capitalize on the "Christmas spirit." That bothers me.

Sorry about that. As you say, I didn't write it (and HarperCollins are going to try and make the newsletters more regular in the future -- and they're sending out a special bonus mailing to everyone registered early next week) -- but look at it from HarperCollins's point of view: they pay for this website, for the hosting, for everything connected with it. It's the most successful author website they have, which by the strange logic of these things, also means it's, for them, the most expensive. ("If we're actually looking at individual page views," I was told today, "in the last six months the web site has had a little over 15 million hits". Er. More realistically, every week at least 30,000 people wander past and read stuff). Everything the people at Harpers do here costs them money -- including sending out a newsletter to tens of thousands of people. So I think they've earned the right to stick in a plug for American Gods at the bottom of their newsletter if they want to -- after all, it's what's paying for the site to be here....
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