Skip to main content

The Return of the Roving Ranger

What is changing from January 3rd, 2023 - J.R.R. Tolkien's 131st Birthday - going forward and why I needed a break

Many of you may have notived in recent months that the Roving Ranger has not been published on its usual weekly basis. There are reasons for this I will try to explain as succinctly as possible and I will also tell you what I would love to do in the future - the Roving Ranger is here to stay!

January 3rd - What to look forward to in 2023 as a Tolkien fan - visit thetolkienist.com for this edition of the Roving Ranger!

1 - The Rings of Power media onslaught

As you may know I am combing through a large number of news sources and places of interest on the web to put the newsletter together. As we have all basically limited ourselves to one search engine which sells top spots to the highest bidder you do not get the most relevant search results but the ones that pay best and/or are shared so widely thanks to a huge marketing budget that the good stuff gets buried, invariably. 

I love digging for this stuff, that is one of the reasons why I love sharing my 'findings' with you but with the marketing campaign of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power some days searching for Tolkien led to 100+ pages repeating what had been said in one of the exclusive fluff pieces for the show.

And I knew this would go on for months, at least until October. So I decided to drop out of it.

2 - Finding a sustainable model for the newsletter

Again, I love digging through the net to find the latest news on all things Tolkienian but I had to consider what I could possibly do on a long-term basis. When the Roving Ranger was nominated with the Tolkien Society Awards in April 2022 I shed quite a few tears of joy but I also knew that in the long run I could not keep up spending several hours a week on this while at the same time trying to do my work as a freelance translator (which has become very difficult thanks not only to the pandemic but it certainly worsened the situation) and write as the Tolkienist for my blog/ Patreon etc. 

So I used the time-out thanks to the series to reconsider my options and what I could do with this newsletter that is up to my standards and would possibly still interest you people out there. Changing to a bi-weekly publishing schedule is one of the decisions I had to make as well as changing the topics I would like to treat with preference in the future - Tolkien's life and work, mostly, and volunteer/ fannish activities on all things Middle-earth. 

I do not need to repeat the words of billion dollar companies but I would love to strengthen the voices of those people who do the everyday work in smials, regulars' tables, literary societies, conferences and so. People who do not have tons of money to spend but who spend so much of their time and so much effort on sharing the love for Tolkien's works.

3 - Considering how to find funding for all of my Tolkien ventures

I have turned 50 last year so this is the year for me - just like with Bilbo and Frodo - when I should be looking out for an adventure, and that adventure for me will be the attempt to find out whether I could do what I love for a living. 

Being the Tolkienist, sharing my joy in Tolkien and in all fannish activities, providing you with great news and stories, posts telling about what so many wonderful people are doing out there - that is what I am trying to do going forward.

The Roving Ranger will continue to be a free service for Tolkien fans the world over but if you have a few bucks to spend to support me in doing all of this - future ventures are coming up throughout the spring - then, by all means, I'd be delighted to have you sign up for a membership here at Steady.

4 - Looking for a solution that is not dependent on the Elon Musks of this world I found Steady

The German website and crowdfunding platform Steady is well-known in my country for providing creators the opportunity to make an independent living such as Krautreporter (at the time of writing this project providing first class independent journalism is being supported by 16,643 members.) 

It offers excellent service on all essentials - for me as a creative writer, as a freelancer, it has amazing support, and allows me to do all the things I would love to do from one site alone.

Tinyletter, the newsletter service I have been using so far for the Roving Ranger, is a subsidiary of Mailchimp, a US company owned by Inuit. Given the fact that Twitter recently was bombed by Elon Musk it has become clear that billionaire-buyouts in the tech world can happen any time and I want to be independent of this. 

Nothing like this will happen with Steady.

Patreon is another US company, meaning it can become the plaything of just another buyout anytime soon. Also its backend is incredibly clunky and does not do what I would love to do so I needed to look for another option - and I will be moving from that site to Steady in the course of spring as well. 

So all the things I would love to do are in one place, easily accessible, in cooperation with a reliable partner. 

Do you have any questions and/or suggestions?

Please do send me an email with marcel@thetolkienist.com. 

Also - please note 

You have subscribed to The Roving Ranger with TinyNewsletter and I have moved you to this new service to provide a smooth transition for you. 

You are free to unsubscribe at any time, of course - a link is provided below!

If you decide to stay I would be incredibly happy to provide you with all the news you can possibly get as a Tolkien fan - and if not I would love to thank you for having subscribed to The Roving Ranger!

Have a great 2023, everyone!

The Roving Ranger
Only members who have access to this post can read and write comments.