Monday, April 21, 2014

How Authors Can Benefit From Offering a Newsletter

Today I am at The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, discussing reviews for R.


Newsletters are a great way for an author to stay in touch with his or her fan base. During the release of my series, The Circle of Friends, I had a monthly newsletter. I had a huge mailing list and it was a lot of fun.

Newsletters are voluntary though—you can’t just send one to everybody in your address book.

Allow fans to sign up for your newsletter on your website, and provide a way for people to opt-out of this service. Remember, sending a newsletter to someone who didn’t request it is called spamming. Send it only to those who sign up, and let people know how often to expect your newsletter. Programs such as Constant Contact allow you to manage and personalize your newsletter. These programs are very valuable as your recipient list begins to grow.

Newsletters require a time commitment. They need to be consistent. If your newsletter is scheduled to go out quarterly, it needs to go out every three months. (Really, really!) Weigh your options and decide if you have the time and enough material for a newsletter.

A newsletter should not contain just advertisements for your books. No one signed up for an endless string of commercials. You can mention your books, events, and latest accomplishments, but that should comprise only a small portion of your newsletter.

Give your recipients information they can use. Write articles offering tips or in-depth details regarding your book’s subject matter. Pass along news that would be of interest to your readers. Talk about trends, new findings, and changes in the industry.

You can feature other authors that might appeal to your target audience. Invite authors and experts to submit an article for your newsletter.

Perhaps you can offer links to other resources. You can even call attention to causes and events that are near and dear to your heart.

The possibilities are limitless. Have fun creating the angle and style of your newsletter. Make it a reflection of your personality.

Do you have a newsletter or are you considering starting one? 


Friday, April 18, 2014

Catching Up and Spunky the Cat Update

First, thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for featuring me on Thursday. That was a big surprise.

I didn’t post on Monday due to a project I was working on. I knew I wouldn’t be able to visit other bloggers if I did, so I thought it was easier to just skip the day. I appreciate everyone who went back and commented on my comments post. The “Great post!” ones cracked me up.

I’m not participating in the Challenge here this year, but I am contributing to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group website. The posts are short and sweet, designed to encourage and inform. We also invite you to share your own A to Z posts over at the Facebook IWSG.

I’ll be back here on Monday. In the meantime, I’ll give you an update on Spunky. He had surgery the first week of February to remove a cancerous tumor. Twenty-two staples, three weeks with a cone, and six weeks in a crate to contain his activity. Longest six weeks of our life!

The cancer is in his bones, so it will take him eventually. But for now, we are glad he can be with us a little longer.

One of his nicknames is Captain Fuzzy Pants. When he came home from his surgery, I said he was missing half his pants:


But now I am happy to report, he is Captain Fuzzy Pants once more!


I’ll end with a photo of our handsome boy:


Monday, April 07, 2014

How to Comment on Blogs

With the A to Z Challenge in progress, I thought this would be a timely topic.

We all love blog comments. They acknowledge our efforts and make us feel worthy as a person. A comment means we evoked a response. And while blogging isn’t a popularity contest, lots of unique comments also means we have a lot of friends.

What is proper etiquette when it comes to leaving a comment?

1 - Demonstrate that you read the post.

Sometimes we don’t mind “Great post,” but that really doesn’t tell us anything. A comment should reflect on something the person wrote.

With book announcements, “Congratulations” or “Sounds like a great book” work, although it would be better to say a little more. But comments like that on a guest post are shallow. “I hope you sell a million books” sounds nice, but if the person wrote about a topic, a comment should reflect the content.

Cutesy comments on one word or the title also don’t say anything.

Commenting about something else entirely isn’t polite either.

2- Avoid a major argument.

Sometimes a blogger tosses out a controversial topic and invites strong opinions. it’s okay to get involved in the discussion with an opposing position, just remember to keep it civil. Visiting someone’s blog is like visiting someone’s house - remember your manners.

If the person isn’t inviting a discussion, just stating an opinion, don’t rain on his or her parade. It might be something held dear to that person. Maybe it’s his or her dream. Don’t be a sourpuss. If that person loves a book you hated, just politely say “Sorry, I just couldn’t get into it.”

Don’t get into a flame war with other commenters, either.

If it’s a subject that you just can’t say something positive about, remember the old saying - “If you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

3 - Comment because you want to comment.

Commenting just to get people to return the favor is selfish. Comment because you care about the topic or you care about the person.

At the same time, returning comments is just good manners. Try to find something nice to say. If it’s a topic way out in left field or offends you, it’s okay to walk away though.

4 - Don't comment just to promote.

It's okay to have a link in your comment, but not a blatant, obnoxious promotion.

The comment itself shouldn't be all promo.. Don't comment just so you can tell that person about your book, product, service. etc. Unless it directly relates to the post, just don't do it.

Those are the basic guidelines. What else would you add?

Good luck to everyone participating in the A to Z Challenge!

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

The Insecure Writer's Support Group

It’s time for another edition of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, hosted by Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh.

I have a special project I’m working on this month. It doesn’t involve writing, but it does involve creativity. It’s one of many in April.

I work on a lot of projects that involve the efforts of other writers. It’s both rewarding and scary. I get to try new things and help other authors achieve their dream, but there’s also a lot of pressure on me because I’m partially responsible for their success or failure.

I worry more when it’s someone else’s material than my own. How do you guys feel?


Don’t forget the A to Z Challenge posts at the IWSG website designed to encourage and inform.

We also invite you to share your own A to Z posts over at the Facebook IWSG.
A thread will be started for the "letter of the day" and we'd LOVE you to share your A to Z post links in the thread .
Example: on April 01st a thread for the letter A will be posted; on April 02nd a thread for the letter B will be posted and so on (Sundays are excluded)
Please do not post any A to Z challenge blog links outside of the provided thread. Remember: these everyday links (26 in total) ONLY apply to the annual A to Z challenge, which takes place during the month of April.

We also set the official IWSG Facebook Guidelines:
1. Since the focus of IWSG is support, the Facebook page should reflect this ideal.
2. You are encouraged to support your fellow IWSG'ers who share their writerly-related experiences, which include accomplishments/disappointments/challenges, with the rest of the group. Keep in mind that writers are at different points of their respective writerly journeys. Some lurk for a long time, before finding the courage to share with the rest of the group. Since the IWSG is all about community, a word of encouragement or advice may be just what somebody needs. Or even just a smiley face/thumbs up...
3. News & Promotional Saturday is your opportunity to add a link. The IWSG administrators reserve the right to remove promotional links, especially if they are posted haphazardly.