Welcome to Still Not a Robot, a newsletter and blog created by SFF and CNF author Alia Luria
Hi, I’m Alia
I started writing back when word processors were still a thing. I didn’t publish a novel until 2014, however. I’ve had many lives—web developer, privacy and tech lawyer, dog mom, knit designer, but writing is my oldest passion. I am a Brooklynite by birth, currently live in Florida, but take every opportunity to travel and have been to such amazing places as India, Jordan, Sweden, Ireland, Japan, and always looking to expand the growing list. I will finally be visiting the motherland, Italy, and hopefully Morocco in 2024. I have also had the opportunity to live both in Tokyo and Tel-Aviv for different projects.
I like owning my own law firm, traveling, immersing myself in nature, watercolor painting, trying to get that weirdly awesome photograph, knitting, crocheting, figuring out how to work hand-knit-or-crocheted items into my daily fashion, reading voraciously, cooking (particularly soup), baking shortbread, keeping my elderly corgis alive, sharing my knowledge and expertise with others to help them realize their goals, and sharing my opinions with anyone who takes a fancy. I try to read 100 books a year, but it varies.
What I Write
I hold an MFA in Fiction from Fairleigh Dickinson University. I write a mix of SFF novels, personal essays, and questionable poetry. My first novel, Compendium, won the Indie Excellence Award in fantasy, was a silver medalist in the Reader’s Favorite Book Awards in fantasy, was a gold medalist in the eLit Awards for science fiction/fantasy, and was an Independent Author Network Book of the Year finalist in the science fiction, fantasy, and first novel categories. My personal essay about being stalked “You Might Eat Organic, but You’re Full of Baloney,” was a finalist for the Open Season Award in CNF and was published by Northwest Review. Click here to read it. I have also had short work published in Toho Journal and Wingless Dreamer. My second novel, Ocularum, is forthcoming in 2024 with Something Or Other Publishing, and my first collection of personal essays and haiku, working title Geri o Shimasu, will be published in 2025 by Unsolicited Press.
Why I Ported My Blog Here
I’ve been blogging online since LiveJournal (*cringe*), but I started this version of my blog under Alia Writes in 2013 as I was beginning to write my first novel. I found that I really enjoyed sharing my experience as a writer writing a novel, my analysis of books and stories, and my personal observations on surviving and thriving.
This move to Substack is part of a concrete effort to organize and be more consistent in my writing life. It is also a move to build an actual readership rather than just some really great thoughts with good SEO that get pillaged for school essays or used in generative AI content. I can always tell when one of the stories or books in my reviews is assigned to a class, because I would get a few dozen views to that particular post in a short timeframe. If a professor wants to actually assign my thoughts as part of a critical evaluation of a literary work, they can absolutely reach out to me to give their class access to the post, but frankly, I don’t relish that my original content is being analyzed by ChatGPT and used to create ripped-off pieces based on the hard work done by my brain. Certain posts about upcoming releases, news, etc. will remain free and open, but the rest of my content like my close readings, personal observations, and craft advice are behind a paywall for this reason.
Why “Still Not a Robot” instead of “Alia Writes”
I want to consolidate all of my writing in one place. AliaLuria.com will still function as an online hub for books and projects, and a redesign to that site is coming as well, but I want to have my writing-related communications all in one place, and the name Still Not a Robot feels right to me. As we increasingly turn to technology to create, I find myself cherishing my own writing voice even more. So, I guess you could say that it’s a play on the trend towards AI content. I’m still just a human thinking thoughts and writing them down.
Yeah, so how does this new platform work?
If you only want to receive updates from me about new book launches, readings, signings, and other new-type information, then just sign up for a free subscription. I’m porting my author mailing list to Substack for this reason. Those news posts will come right to your email box just like my current newsletter.
If you want to read posts like what I used to write on Alia Writes, e.g., book reviews, thoughts on the craft, haiku, travel adventures, and my personal observations, as well as the new types of content that I’m creating, including Footnote Fridays and hopefully readings of my in-progress and prior-published work in audio, then you will want to become a paid subscriber. Paid subscribers will also have the opportunity to participate in chat and comments, and I’m happy to answer craft or book questions or to give book recommendations through the platform.
Every free subscriber gets seven days to determine whether they think the content and the ability to share comments and community is worth the cost of access. For me, a paywall functions as not just a means of keeping the robots from my content, but it is also a reciprocation of investment. I invest in my thoughts that I turn into words that I share with you, and you invest the monetary equivalent of a triple-shot latte each month to get access to those thoughts.
As part of this investment, I plan to be significantly more regular and intentional in my posting. Published works will be shared on Still Not a Robot, but I will also regularly post craft and publishing articles, close readings, and personal observation similar to what you have read here in the past. I also want to make this the first platform to get access to things like cover reveals, coupon codes from my publishers, invites to events, and sneak peaks from upcoming books.
Finally, I have ported my Reading Log over to the new site as a bookshop.org store so that I can support independent bookstores and continue to keep people updated on my ever-expanding reading list. I do receive affiliate income for any books you purchase through my Bookshop.org site and through any links to Amazon (which I use when the book isn’t available on Bookshop.org).