2011 has been a good year for the Royal Blog of Oz and Royal Website of Oz crew.
The Royal Podcast of Oz has switched to a semi-bimonthly format, after monthly episodes since April. We started a series focusing on film adaptations of Oz and interviewed several interesting names, kicking off with Susan Morse in her first time speaking out to Oz fans about her singing work on the 1964 Return to Oz. Other interviews included Leigh Scott of The Witches of Oz, Jerry Robbins of Colonial Radio Theater, Sean Gates and Clayton Spinney of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Tommy Kovace of Royal Historian of Oz, and Oz Club charter member Ruth Berman.
We also had our first live recorded podcast highlighting the Winkie Convention, where Sam Milazzo met several Oz friends in person for the first time. The podcast also has its own Facebook page which is mirrored onto Twitter.
The Royal Website of Oz saw a complete overhaul. In the summer, a wiki intended for reference purposes began, though there aren't many articles on it yet. In the fall, the site was recreated in Drupal, allowing for user-generated content. Unfortunately, it was impossible (or too difficult) to have all sections of the site require a single login.
In late September, the International Wizard of Oz Club closed their popular online forums and moved to Facebook. Because many users preferred to discuss Oz in a forum format, I stepped up with the Royal Forums of Oz, a new section in the Royal Website. After launching in bbpress, we attempted an unpopular move to Drupal's forum system. The forums are now run with Invision Power Boards. The usership has not quite reached the level of the old forums, but we do have a community going.
The Royal Blog of Oz itself has turned out popular articles, including several about upcoming Oz productions thanks to blog writer Angelo Thomas, for the blog has gone from just me writing to a more communal blog, featuring insightful blogs from Nathan DeHoff, Sam's blogs about his perspective on Oz, and occasional entries by Shawn Maldonado and Mike Conway.
I myself managed to finish my series on all the Oz stories by Baum, Thompson, Neill, Snow, Cosgrove, and the McGraws and move on to other works.
Outside of the blog, Sam and I both had work published in the International Wizard of Oz Club's Oziana. I contributed the story "Bud and the Red Jinn" for the retroactively numbered 38th issue, while Sam provided the cover for the 2011 issue. I've also contributed writing for future issues, or at least, that's the plan. Nathan will also be returning to Oziana in the near future, I hear.
I had an article published in the program book for this year's Winkie Convention and completed my Oz book Outsiders from Oz, which will be published early next year, illustrated by Shawn with decoration work by Sam. Mike's Oz book, Passion Fire of Oz, won the NaNoWriMo award this year.
When it comes to finances, I have never made it a secret that I pay the expenses for hosting the podcast and the domain name for the website out of my own pocket. I started a Zazzle shop and an Amazon affiliate store to hopefully make this back. Last year, it earned less than $20 altogether. This year, we have surprisingly earned far more than enough to reimburse me for those. So, thanks to all of you who helped out!
Next year, aside from continuing the podcast, blog, and publishing my Oz book, I'm also presenting at the 2012 Winkie Convention. I have plans for another Oz book, but we'll see how that goes. I also have thoughts about rewriting the online Round Robin story The Ruby Ring of Oz, but we'll see if that comes about. I might go on to write several Oz books and stories, or I might write a few more and never again.
Sam has not confirmed if he will be returning to the Winkie Convention, and considering how late it's getting, I'm thinking he won't. So for all of us who got to meet him this year, treasure those memories because it might be awhile before we have him back.
We're arranging a podcast interview with Eric Shanower (which I think people have expected us to do for a long time) and we'll be attempting a different type of podcast next month as well.
I have considered putting the podcast on CD, but I'm thinking this would be done simply as a service for those who do not use sound on their computers (because they're out there), so this would be sold only at the cost of producing the CDs. Not for profit, which wouldn't be fair to my guests who didn't agree to do a commercial recording.
Plans are all subject to change, and since I do Oz stuff in spare time, I don't announce definite time tables. For example, there's a podcast I need to finish editing now...