My personal contribution to St. Patrick’s Day. Sharing the St. Patrick’s Funnies from The Story Reading Ape’s blog. Thanks so much for the giggles! 🙂
Many authors don’t know how important their newsletter is. I’m still working on that too. I think I made significant progress lately, but I’m still a beginner. On the Mixtus-Media blog I found two phenomenal posts, written by Jenn Henson-DePaula. She helps us with her experience and makes it easier for us to connect with our readers and subscribers. Thank you, Jenn!
How To Easily Create a Year’s Worth of Amazing Newsletter Content
Tell me if this sounds familiar:
I have a blog, so why do I need a newsletter?
No one reads newsletters! Why even bother?
I don’t want to bother people with a newsletter.
I don’t have time to write a newsletter!
I’ve heard it all. And I get it! When we first started Mixtus Media I put off starting a newsletter because I had those same thoughts running through my head.
But here’s the thing: a newsletter is one of the most important assets to incorporate into your book marketing plan.
25 Newsletter Incentive Ideas for Fiction Authors
When a reader signs up for your newsletter, they are moving from a mere spectator to a participant – someone who is one step closer to buying your book.
The key to growing a solid and thriving newsletter is to approach the process from the viewpoint of your readers. This will give you more clarity in what to provide for your readers and it will make your newsletter so much more effective.
When you focus on growing your newsletter list, one of the best ways is to provide a hook to make readers want to sign up by offering a free incentive. Offering a well-crafted incentive also ensures that you get the right people signed up for your newsletter – your ideal readers.
But for fiction writers, it can be difficult to think of creative or innovative incentives to drive interest.
The go-to incentive for most authors is the free chapter download. Now don’t get me wrong, this is a fine incentive, but nearly every author out there offers this.
To stand out and to offer great value to your growing audience, it helps to think outside of the box.
Thanks! We appreciate the opportunity!
Please introduce yourself.
We’re HL Carpenter, a mother/daughter duo. We write family-friendly fiction from our studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like our stories, is unreal but not untrue.
1. When did you start writing?
Helen had fiction published when she was young and she began writing seriously when her job was downsized shortly after her kids left home. A few years later, Lorri decided she also wanted to get serious with her writing, and a partnership was born.
2. What motivates you to write?
Researchers might say what motivates us to write is momoamine oxidase A. When we sit down at our computers and jump into a story, mood elevating neurotransmitters fire up, activating our happiness gene. The hours disappear in a blur of joyful contentment.
That’s probably the real reason. We’re certainly not going to admit we write the stories we do because we’re…weird. So let’s just say we like creating worlds that are one twist of the dial away from the expected. Okay, we’re weird.
3. What genre do you write in and what made you chose this particular genre?
We’re multi-genre authors. Our works include fantasy, allegory, satire and mystery. We tend to get bored easily, so switching genres is a great way to keep the ideas and the words flowing. Another advantage is that there’s always something new to learn, because each genre has its own peculiarities.
4. What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you?
Our goals change. When we started writing, our goal was to finish a complete manuscript (an entire book, whee!).
When we achieved that, our goal became having an editor respond favorably to our query.
Once that happened, the goal shifted to getting published.
Now…hmmm…let’s see… Oh, yes! Reaching the bestseller list and having a book optioned for a movie is definitely a goal.
After that happens…well, we’ll create the next goal when we get there. 🙂
5. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it?
No, we are quite fortunate. We think that’s one of the benefits of writing with a partner.
6. What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors?
If you have a story to tell, tell it.
Then put the manuscript in a drawer and go study authors whose books you love. Ask yourself what draws you to those stories. Write or type out passages that resonate with you. After a couple of months of immersing yourself in your favorite books, take your manuscript out of storage and read it with fresh eyes. Revise it based on what you’ve learned. Repeat the process at least once more.
And all the while, believe in the wisdom of Dr. Seuss. Oh, the places you’ll go.
7. Please tell us about your work.
Our books span genres, yet they all have signature similarities: a strong, practical, intelligent female protagonist, a steadfast friend or two with a sense of humor, and a supportive if exasperating family or family substitute. They’re all “clean” too. You won’t find explicit sex, violence, or language in our stories. We strive to create a world where readers of any age are welcome.
Thank you for being my guest. It was such a pleasure to have you here!!
Thank you for inviting us!
About HL Carpenter:
HL Carpenter is a mother/daughter duo who write from their studio in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit HLCarpenter.com to enjoy gift reads and excerpts and to find out what’s happening in Carpenter Country.
Connect with HL Carpenter:
HL Carpenter books:
We have a page on our website with all our books listed: https://www.hlcarpenter.com/index.php/fiction/
Our books are also listed on our Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/HL-Carpenter/e/B007SHS9LA/
Last year, sometime in October, I published a hilarious story, written by Merlin Fraser. I named it “On a different note” and the ones who read it had a good laugh with Merlin’s humor.
With this guest post, Merlin shows us that he’s not ‘only’ a great writer, and has his well known, a bit rough humor; but he is also a talented author of great sensitivity and treasures his memories with a warm heart and a trace of sadness many of us would not have expected.
I wanted to share this side of Merlin with you and I’m sure you will read his guest post and find it as valuable and admirable as I do.
“And now for something completely different,” to coin a phrase, I pinched it from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, in case you were wondering where you heard the expression before.
I’m sure you tire of my exploits with trees so a change of tack is required as I explore some of the many characters I have met during my country upbringing.
Journeying back to the 1950’s I think this character reflects a slightly cruel streak in our past due to a complete lack of understanding as to the causes of what is now considered a mental illness.
Bernie was a gentle soul never known to harm anything or anyone but to all he was cruelly known as the village idiot and to my everlasting shame I have to confess that as a kid I was no better than the rest.
To this day I have no idea what the problem was within Bernie’s brain, as I remember he was looked after an old lady at the far end of the village but as to their relationship, I have no idea. To her great credit, Bernie was always clean well fed and fairly well dressed in hand-me-downs’, presumably donated from other villagers.
Bernie would do odd jobs, take letters to the post box, that sort of thing and could always be relied on to hold one end of a long skipping rope for the girls or go in goal for a friendly football kick about. Although I suspect today’s parents would have a different view of a Bernie in the midst of their offspring and would probably demand his removal from the community, however, as I said Bernie was absolutely harmless.
For a while, he did the daily village paper rounds, until one dark stormy winter’s day all the daily papers were found thrown inside the door of the village church. With hindsight, I think that in that thunderstorm Bernie just got scared, panicked and ran home. Nevertheless, it is safe to say that was the end of the only paying job he ever had.
After that, the paper delivering job fell upon us kids, and we took it in turns to bugger it up as best we could but in a crafty way so as not to raise too much suspicion or acquire a thick ear. Whether this was a childish attempt to get Bernie his job back or just a piece of rebellion I cannot say, but in my case probably the latter. However, whichever kid had the duty Bernie was always a constant companion chattering away and pointing at anything and everything that caught his eye. Except on Sundays, his guardian always insisted Bernie went with her to church.
Not very far away from our village there was a large agricultural college and quite a few of the students had their own transport, mainly vintage motorbikes but there was the odd Ex Army Land Rover that could, somehow or another, manage to hold about ten students, more depending up the season or how drunk they were.
Back then, any such college was way beyond the means of the average family and the agricultural college more so and it seemed to be populated by the children of the landed gentry or well to do Farmers. In other words, ‘Privileged OIKS,’ who because of their often-rowdy behaviour would get banned from more and more pubs and have to travel further and further afield to get a drink. They used to invade our village pub on a regular basis. Now our pub landlord was a genial host, far more tolerant than many and more than happy to take their money, and it is the subject of money that brings me back to Bernie.
Most days, thanks to his never-failing routine depending on the time of day you could always find Bernie. If there were cows or horses in the fields close by that’s where he would be feeding them handfuls of grass stroking and talking to them.
As kids it took us ages to win the confidence of big animals, Bernie, on the other hand, was always surrounded by them. Even little birds would take food from his hands. While if it were me the little sods would sit on the ground about twenty feet away with their head cocked at that jaunty angle and that look in their beady eye that said, “you have got to be joking!”
On sunny summer evenings Bernie had a favourite seat on a wall across from the pub, he never went in unless he had found or was given an empty bottle and then he could reclaim the three pence deposit. From his perch, Bernie had a grandstand view of the pub and as he sat there in his own little world, he would sit swinging his legs and waving at all who came and went.
On the occasions when the invading hoards came from the college, some would try to engage Bernie in conversation, which was impossible. If he wanted something he would ask or more often just point, he talked, more often than not any response to your reply was never connected. Therefore, we learnt to simply listen and smile in understanding.
However, one Sunday evening there was much hilarity outside the pub close to Bernie’s wall and Bernie seemed to be in the centre of the action. To Alan, my best pal, and me it looked like the college students were picking on or making fun of him and we went to investigate. What exactly we intended to do was unclear since there was about twenty of them and only two of us and at that time there was a considerable age and size difference. Thankfully, it never came to that because as we got closer, we discovered that there was some sort of game going on and by the happy look on Bernie’s face, he was winning.
To explain the game, I have to take you back to pre-decimal British coinage, I won’t bore you with the confusing facts as to why there was 240 pennies in a pound or 12 pence in a shilling but the size of the coins of the day played a significant part in the game.
Therefore, a sixpenny piece was half the size of a shilling piece. A shilling was half the size of a two-shilling piece and there was another coin, which was called half a crown that was slightly bigger than a two-shilling piece and worth six pence more.
I’m already confused, and I grew up with this crazy system, but fear not it’s not critical because the game here is based upon size and as you can see from the above description size relates to value, all very logical, however, I doubt Bernie had any notion of logic.
The students seemed to be taking it in turns to challenge Bernie by showing him two coins of different sizes and demanding he chose one. Bernie always took the smaller coin and therefore the one of lesser value, this was the cause of the hilarity and so the game went on until the students tired of the game, they sweetly called ‘idiot baiting’ and returned to the pub to throw beer and darts at one another.
Allan and I tried as best we could to explain to Bernie the error of his decisions, even showing him the difference in size from the collection of coins he had won by playing the same game between Allan and me, Bernie just frowned and shook his head.
We gave up, well I did, Allan had one more question, “Bernie why can’t you understand?”
Bernie emptied his pockets and at a rough guess he had at least two pounds in loose change, by kids standards a King’s ransom in those days, he looked at us and said, ”If Bernie take big coin they don’t play with Bernie no more !”
I learnt a valuable lesson that day and I suspect Allan did too.
What happened to Bernie?
Sad to say I have no idea after I joined the Navy in the early ’60s my family moved away from the village. When I eventually went back for a visit a few years later he was gone. The old woman who looked after him had died and I suspect the local authorities moved in and sent him off to an institution somewhere.
Nowadays in the mad rush and tear of modern living, I often think of those far off days, it was a far gentler time, the pace of life was far slower, and I can’t help thinking the world is a sadder place without the Bernie’s and the gentle humanity of a close community.
The Story Reading Ape sweetens our Monday once again with Maxine’s antics. Thanks so much for the giggles, Furry Friend! You rock!!
Don Massenzio presents us the cover and an excerpt of his new book Kongo.com. I love the cover and the announcement, Don! Well done!
Well, after a great deal of time, effort and procrastination, I am happy to announce my new book, kongo.com, that will be released on
March 29, 2019.
Find the entire blog post here:
Joan Stewart of “The Book Designer” blog provides us with a great blog post about 7 myths of using press releases to promote our books. Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge with us!
When an author plans a book launch and hires me to write the press release, I often learn fairly quickly that she has no clue about the kinds of results to expect.
That’s because she asks questions like these:
– “How many books do you think I’ll sell from the press release?”
– “How many TV and radio shows will schedule me to appear as a guest?”
– “How many newspapers and magazine do you think will print the release?”
Most authors believe the press release will result in phone calls from eager journalists and an onslaught of orders. Nothing could be further from the truth.
By itself, the press release lacks the power to skyrocket sales.
But combine it with other marketing tactics like a compelling email or phone pitch, and you can help journalists learn about your book and take the next step: schedule an interview with you or invite you to be a guest on their show or podcast.
To continue reading the entire blog post go to:
On the FORBES.com site Elaine Pofeldt writes an article about a new platform which connects self-published authors with readers. Thank you very much for this information Elaine!
It’s not easy to promote a book, and for self-published authors on a tight budget, it can be especially challenging.
Reedsy —a U.K.-based publishing startup that connects authors with editors, designers and marketers who can help them with their projects—has announced a new service to help them called Reedsy Discovery. Reedsy Discovery, which launched today, will let readers know about books its expert reviewers have recommended every week. Those who join are able to look through curated “bookshelves,” preview chapters and connect with other readers. Reedsy Discovery will also issue a weekly newsletter of top books in popular genres and books curated by trusted reviewers. It will also offer a leaderboard where readers can vote on their favorite titles.
“Most titles never get visibility,” says Reedsy CEO and Co-founder Emmanuel Nataf, who says the reasons often stem from a lack of knowledge of book promotion or reluctance to market their work. “We worked on a platform that will help authors find their target market,” he says.
To read the entire article go to:
Don Massenzio provides us with his excellent blogging strategy. This is the second part of it. I think he does a phenomenal job. Thank you so much for sharing, Don!
This is a second installment in my series on my blogging strategy. As I relay the things that I’ve learned and that seem to work for me over the past five years that I’ve been blogging, it’s important to note that I’m not an expert and that my blogging process is a continuing series of trial and error.
My first post on this topic talked about how I’ve evolved my usage of blogging statistics over time. If you want to check it out, you can find it HERE.
In this post, I’m going to dig into my reading schedule and how I select posts from other bloggers to be shared.
Daily Review of Posts:
I currently follow 120 blogging sites. (118 if I remove my own two sites). This sounds like a lot but, as I review posts daily, not every site posts every day. This results in about 35-40 blogging sites that I check out every morning on Monday through Saturday.
To read the entire post go to:
Rachel Poli informs us about the March/April 2019 writing contests. Once more she took all the efforts to keep us updated. Thank you very much, Rachel!
Here is the updated list for March & April 2019 writing submissions. I try to find submissions and contests with no fee (or on the cheaper side at least), which is surprisingly hard. As always, if you know any places that run contests and accept general submissions that are not on my list, please let me know and I’ll check it out to add it.
Genre: Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction
Website: The Boiler Journal
Submissions OPEN: March 15, 2019
Entry Fee: N/A
Website: Literal Latte
Deadline: March 15, 2019
Entry Fee: $10 per six poems ($15 for 12 poems)
Prize: First – $500
Genre: Fiction, Nonfiction
Website: Narrative Magazine
Deadline: March 31, 2019
Entry Fee: $26
Prize: First – $2,500
To read the full article go to: