Back in February, I started this Substack partly as a way to while away the days in this seemingly never-ending pandemic and partly to just have an outlet to blog about whatever I wanted. For awhile I’ve been missing the blog days when you could read a writer’s thoughts on a variety of subjects without the constraints of “what works” on websites or the hell discourse that accompanies anything on social media. A little under 11 months later I’ve published 48 newsletters (🥴) and even though that means I’ve probably written a novel’s worth of words here—instead of, well, writing another actual novel—I’ve really enjoyed it! And it really has been gratifying to see how many other people enjoy reading my rambling thoughts of various niche topics.
So thank you all for reading!
Since we’re in the final days of 2021, I thought I’d write a final newsletter to look back on what Counter Craft published this year and also organize it a bit. I started this newsletter hoping with the idea of covering “craft ideas, publishing demystification, weird books.” I think I’ve mostly stuck to that, with the occasional side rant here and there. But since Substack doesn’t have much by way of post organization, I wanted to do a table of contents organization here so subscribers—especially recent ones—can easily check out what they might have missed.
One note: my plan with this Substack from the beginning was to keep every article free initially, but move some to subscriber only at some point. I’ve started to do that with some old posts. If you’re a free subscriber, you’ll still get to read everything new as it comes out but if you are one of those glorious, beautiful, valiant, irreproachable beings of glory and light for whom no harm shall ever befall (aka a paying subscriber)… well you get access to all the old as well.
So here’s a guide to 2021 Counter Craft posts. These aren’t all 48 newsletters, but the ones readers found the most useful and/or I thought were the best. (I’ll put a little lock emoji on the subscriber locked ones.)
Misc. Rants and Essays
There you go! There were some other posts I didn’t include, but obviously they’re all browsable in the archive. In terms of 2022, I plan to keep on keeping on. Expect a lot more of the “Processing” series—where I interview writers about their the process and craft behind their new books—and the usual assortment of rants, weird book recommendations, craft thoughts, and more.
If you’re interested in some of my non-newsletter writing, here are some other things I wrote this year. I interviewed George Saunders (InsideHook), Karin Tidbeck (BOMB), and Joshua Cohen (Frieze). I reviewed Perceval Everett’s The Trees (Biblioracle). I wrote about the literary history of baseball (Lit Hub), defended David Lynch’s Dune (Tor), wrote about why noir and SF are such a powerful combination (Crime Reads), and why I think genres are valuable traditions not just marketing labels (Lit Hub).
For fiction, I published three short stories this year. One about dystopian corporations and religion (Air/Light), one about ghosts and climate change (Uncharted), and one about haunted houses and real estate investments (F&SF).
And then of course I published my first novel, the science fiction baseball body horror noir thriller The Body Scout. I’m obviously pretty proud of that one! It got pretty thrilling (for me) reviews; praise from Victor LaValle, Kim Stanley Robinson, Margaret Atwood, and others; and was picked as a top 10 SFF book of the year by the New York Times.
Okay enough shilling. I really do appreciate all you subscribers. Looking forward to respectfully sliding into your inbox in 2022.