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Jokien with Tolkien in 2023 and a Giveaway of The Hobbit!
Plus a very Happy Birthday to The Professor himself!
First things first: today would have been J.R.R. Tolkien’s 131st birthday! (The same age that Bilbo was when he passed the Old Took to became the oldest hobbit and sailed into the West.) So happy birthday to the man who has inspired so many of us, created such wondrous worlds and characters, and changed the world through his stories.
Today is a fitting day then to talk about what you can expect from this Tolkien-themed newsletter and to share two promotions I’m running for it, including giving away a hardcover, illustrated edition of The Hobbit! What better way to celebrate the Professor’s birthday than with giving one of his works away and either introducing someone to Middle-earth for the first time or continuing their love and appreciation for it!
Jokien with Tolkien in 2023
Less than two months ago in November of 2022, I started this Substack with the intention of creating a space on the internet where I could continue joking about and discussing Tolkien, faith, classic literature, pop culture, and the internet in general should Twitter suddenly cease to be. To say that it’s been enjoyable and a successful venture would be an understatement. So thank you, readers and subscribers, for a wonderful first few months together!
But because I was starting it in response to external events and not more of my own purposeful intention, I was playing catch-up these past two months as far as planning out the types of content and the subjects of that content here in my newsletter. How frequent was too frequent? Do people who subscribe just want emails or do they want to discuss as well? When should I be sending these updates? So it has been a few months of trial and error so far in seeing what works and what I wanted this space to look like.
Going into 2023 I’ve had some time to be more thoughtful and proactive. So here’s a description and preview of what to expect going into this next year:
weekly posts—in a typical month, posting weekly means my goal is a minimum of four different newsletters each month. Thursday will continue to be the usual day I publish, though there will be exceptions like today. I anticipate that a typical monthly mix will look like
1 essay—a longer update on mainly one subject like The Long Goodbye or 10 Reasons the Lord of the Rings is a Christmas Movie—for all subscribers
1 essay exclusively for paid subscribers
1 monthly roundup of the things I’m currently enjoying or recommending that month for all subscribers (for example, Fives Faves: December 2022)
1 monthly recap of current events, my favorite recent tweets, or other goings on on the world wide web for all subscribers (such as where I collected my favorite LOTR themed Christmas Carol Parodies from around Twitter)
weekly discussions—I want to try to continue hosting discussions here on a variety of topics and utilize both the threads option for posts and chats function in the Substack app. At least initially (we’ll see how it goes and if any adjustments need to be made), that will look like
1 monthly thread for all subscribers
1 monthly thread for paid subscribers
1 monthly chat for all subscribers
1 monthly chat for paid subscribers
As I hope you can see, I want to provide plenty of value to every subscriber, regardless of whether you’re a free subscriber or you’re a paid subscriber, by providing most content free to everyone but also regular exclusive content to paid subscribers. In anticipation of this new focus and format for the coming year, I’ll be running two promotions this week: a sale on paid subscriptions and a giveaway.
Paid Subscription New Year Sale!
The first promotion I’ll be running this week is 30% off paid subscriptions for a year! Currently my monthly subscription costs $5/month (the lowest Substack lets you set it) and I’ve set the annual subscription price at $36 a year. But at the discounted rate, a paid subscription will be $3.50 a month or $25.20 annually. Subscribe now to get access to
1 monthly essay exclusively for paid subscribers
2 monthly discussions (1 chat and 1 monthly thread) exclusively for paid subscribers
all past paywalled content for paid subscribers
Also, paid subscribers will be able to contribute ideas for topics for future newsletters and social media posts! Subscribe now to get the whole year’s worth of paid content at this discounted price:
The first paid-subscriber essay is scheduled to hit inboxes this Thursday, 1/5.
50K Followers Giveaway!
In 2022 I set a goal to have 50,000 Twitter followers by the end of the year. Now, I set that goal on December 31st, one day after reaching that milestone, so I instantly achieved it (this whole yearly goals thing is SO easy! hashtag lifehack), but that’s just a minor detail. The big point is that to celebrate me achieving a (mostly symbolic and overall meaningless) milestone on Twitter, the app where everything is made up and the points don’t matter, I will be hosting a giveaway!
This giveaway will run from Today, January 3rd, through this Friday, January 6th. I’ll announce a winner Saturday, January 7th. To enter, complete one or more of the following actions:
Subscribe to this Substack
Follow me on Instagram
Share the giveaway by retweeting my shares of the giveaway on social media or sharing this newsletter yourself and tagging me in the post
Every new subscription, follow on Instagram, or share on social media I’m tagged in from now through midnight PST on January 6th will earn one entry into the giveaway (one entry per person per subscription and follow, one daily entry per person for sharing the giveaway). No purchase is necessary to win and the giveaway is open to participants worldwide.
And the prize? A hardcover edition of The Hobbit with illustrations by Alan Lee! I received this specific edition as part of a boxed set of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings I was given for Christmas and absolutely love it, so it’s one of the first things that came to mind when I thought about a prize for this giveaway. It’s a lovely edition that would make a wonderful first copy of the book for someone reading it for the first time or a fine addition to your collection even if you already own a different copy of the book.
Based on how these past two months have gone, I’m excited for Jokien with Tolkien in 2023 and hope that one or all of these things in today’s newsletter gets you excited as well! Further up and further in!
Share this post for an entry into the 50K giveaway! (Be sure to tag me at @joshcarlosjosh in the post)