We have all seen, read or subscribed to another author’s newsletter in one form or another. When making the decision to create our own there are a few decisions to make first.
Firstly, why do you want to produce a newsletter?
How often will you publish it?
What content will you share?
And probably most importantly – do you have the time for it?
Stick to a Schedule
Newsletters take time to create and format, so decide on a schedule that works for you and your other commitments, whether that is writing time or your personal life. Don’t make it a too frequent chore – you will quickly discard it altogether. (Or run out of content, which is disastrous). Once you have a workable schedule – stick to it! A newsletter a week is a great deal of work, so I would suggest once a month. Make sure you are not mailing out your newsletter too frequently, or it will become a chore. I send mine monthly (most of the time!) If you have a specific promotion, then you can send ‘special’ newsletters.
Create a Catchy Titleand Imageryto Make Your Newsletter Unique
To attract attention, decide on a unique and personalized title. Then create a banner or typeface that will catch your reader’s eye. Once you have it – stay with it. The more often it is seen the more people will realize this is your newsletter and become familiar with it.
Go for Quality
Always proofread and edit
Add relevant images when necessary
Make It Easy to Read
Using bullet points
Highlight (bold or italicize) vital information
Use short sentences and paragraphs
Every now and then, offer a reward to your current and potential subscribers. The prize need not be worth a fortune but relevant to your book’s topic or theme (or somehow related to the story).
What do you put in an author newsletter?
When it came to my author newsletter, I asked my subscribers what they wanted to hear from me. I also looked at other newsletters for ideas. It is a great way to formulate how you want your newsletter to look and to give you ideas on your content and frequency of transmitting it.
Tip: You can pre-write your newsletter and schedule it. I find this gives me the ability to drop content into the draft throughout the month, so I don’t forget something.
My newsletter is Musings from Mandy Eve-Barnett – to distinguish each newsletter I add the month and a sub-title – Sneek Peeks & Glimpses.
Here is a list of possible content you can include: (it is by no means all-inclusive though).
Personal anecdotes and photos of your everyday life. You can include your writing space.
Behind the scenes peeks – what you are currently writing, ideas formulating etc.
Exclusive content like a cover reveal or a sneak peek at your next title
Excerpts from upcoming books and free bonus chapters from past books.
Launch dates of your new book
Events you are attending, whether in person or virtually.
Your writing processes.
Report writing progress on novels.
Request feedback on a current manuscript/project
Interviews you have participated in with links
Spotlights/interviews of guest authors
What you are reading
Your book reviews
Include book research and photos.
Tell what sparked book locations, plots, or characters.
Interview an author in your genre.
Recount your experiences at book events.
Recount personal experiences that appeared in a book in some form.
Include a photo of your writing space.
Share writing milestones: signing an agent, book contracts, book releases, book awards.
Display book trailers.
Hold character interviews
Offer installments of short stories
Create a contest.
Remember the goal of any newsletter is to promote, so make sure to include:
Your author bio Insert links to blog, website, Amazon and other sales sites and your Goodreads author page, and reviews.
Tip: Even unpublished authors can create an author newsletter. The sooner you start to grow your subscription list, the bigger your platform will be when you have something to sell.
I took an extra day off this past week to ‘finish’ the prequel to the Rython series. Although, the manuscript has ‘the end’ on it, this is the start of the editing and revising stage. However, it is always a great sense of achievement to get a story completed.
I hope that my readers will enjoy this part of the Rython series, which is now officially a trilogy. When I first wrote The Rython Kingdom, I had no intention of continuing the story of a traveling troubadour in medieval England. But as we all know we should ‘never say never’, and with numerous requests from readers for more story, I, of course, obliged and Rython Legacy was born. It follows the granddaughter of the first sorceress on her own journey and how she vanquishes an evil.
The idea of a prequel telling the story of the evil witch came to me unexpectedly, but then became an insistent ear worm, so to speak. So much so, I abandoned the final book in my crime trilogy, to quieten the voices. Of course, I will get back to that project once this prequel is published, sometime in the fall/autumn. I had so much fun tracing Malgraf’s character and the darkness within her soul. Watch this space for more on Malgraf’s Dawning in the months to come.
As for my current reading, I am 3/4 through The Imposter Bride by Nancy Richler, which I am really enjoying and am also reading a short story collection called Insomnia by Kelly Covic.
This week’s literary birthday is: 2/22 – Edward Gorey – he wrote more than 100 books. (That is an exception number!) He was also a talented artist and illustrator.
A coloring book designed to cultivate imagination, inspire, build confidence and foster a positive-self image by Takiyah Smith
Colourful and Creative: An Empowering Coloring Book Series for Boys and Girls
This carefully crafted coloring book series was designed to cultivate imagination, inspire, build confidence and foster a positive-self image.
This revolutionary book teaches children to love the skin they’re in. I Love ME! Colorful and Creative. A boy or girl can be a leader, quirky, brainy, brilliant, sporty, inventive, entrepreneurial, musical, artsy, strong, or all of the above. Being a child is limitless and knows no bounds. Children color outside of the lines, should they see fit. This book reinforces the notion, that children can be and do whatever they choose.
Words are Powerful.
Every coloring page includes an “I am”, affirmation statement or words of empowerment. There are no drawings on the back so that children can have a space to create and dream. The back sides of each coloring page feature words of influence and elevation, such as, “Well-read and well-versed. A winning combination. Now that’s Powerful. or A boy or girl is happy and confident.
Imagery is Influential.
Every single image was crafted with care and intention. This book highlights hundreds of well-thought-out images with a focused theme for each page such as: entrepreneurship, traveler, music, science, art, math, sports, travel, prince, etc. Some of the beautifully crafted imagery includes: camping scenes, space ship, doctor, astronaut, scientist, microscope, beakers, math problems, musical instruments, art supplies, King, gymnast, rock climber, golfer, skateboarder, soccer player, basketball, runner, nature, rainbow, super hero’s, dogs, cats, lizard, snake, turtle, bunny, deer, birds, candy, flowers, pyramids, books, cars, hearts, music notes, stars, crowns, and so much more.
I Love ME! Colorful and Creative coloring book, is strength and talent at its finest.
Positive. Educational. Fun.
An amazing gift any boy, girl, AND parent are sure to love.
Takiyah Smith is a native San Franciscan. She studied business and merchandise product development at The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (commonly known as FIDM). Girl power and women empowerment has long since been a passion for Takiyah.
There are approximately 10 million moms parenting alone, according to the Census Bureau. Today 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 are being raised without a father.
Parenting information is available in a ton of different locations from books, blogs, websites, articles, YouTube videos, workshops, and conferences to name a few. But, what single mom really has time for that? It’s on the job training time! Takiyah felt it would be so much easier if women could find information, community and inspiration all in one trusted location. That’s when Takiyah founded, Single Mom and the City, an exclusive resource for single moms.
Takiyah is grateful for the knowledge that has been imparted through thousands of hours of research and reading, family and friends, colleagues and strangers alike, that have been ever so gracious to share their parenting secrets, life experiences and wisdom. Takiyah wants to share this information with the world.
To request additional review copies or an interview with Takiyah Smith, please contact Mickey Mikkelson at Creative Edge Publicity: firstname.lastname@example.org / 403.464.6925. We look forward to the coverage!
We all read books that resonate with us in one way or another. Some of us have a favourite genre, others more eclectic tastes jumping from one genre to another (me included). As many of my followers will attest, I love a novel called Ferny by James Long. It is essentially a love story, but across time and has a reincarnation theme, much like my own homage to this book, The Twesome Loop. Similar to the novels, The Time Travelers Wife or My Names is Memory or Mariana.
In all stories there are plots that propel the characters on a journey. Some are easy to follow, others trick us into one way of thinking only to shock us with an unexpected outcome. There are novels whose plots cause sensations in their creativity, this list includes many, although you (and I) may have our own favourites.
Gone Girl by Gilliam Flynn
Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Lost Ground by Ulla Jordan
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
1984 by George Orwell
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Of course, many of these novels we have heard of, and indeed read, they are great literature from our youth and others more modern. We became involved with the characters and their plight and their essence remains with us, months, sometimes years after we’ve read the book. That is the true test of a great story.
Which plot resonated the most with youand why?
For me, Ferney, put into a story context a fascination I have in reincarnation. It is a topic I have researched and been interested in for decades, ever since working as a nurse. But not only that, it is the finding of their soulmate after years of searching – one with the certainty of prior knowledge, the other from an unknown soul deep longing.
1. How did the idea for the Thyrein’s Galactic Wall Series come about?
Thyrein’s Galactic Wall was born in my classroom. I taught 6th grade English language arts and social studies for 15 years. The curriculum in social studies was the study of world cultures, which presented me with a great way to thematically connect all my subjects. We learned about the influences of geographic features on the developments of people in social studies, and then created our own planets building in geographic features that would influence the stories we would write in language arts, while reading about survival adventure stories in book clubs for reading and exploring man v nature. Across the school year, we drafted myths and legends and all manner of stories that happened on our planets. Thus the intergalactic alliance of planets was born as I modeled in my own writing for the students.
2. What were your influences in creating these stories?
My biggest influence as a world builder is Tolkein, who created a vast world with so many people and cultures. I also love the world building in Star Wars and in Star Trek. I love the way that CS Lewis built in moral and allegorical elements into his stories and I love the way that fiction can bring us the exploration of so many themes about life, the human experience, cultures and diversity, socio and economic issues, and so much more. Fiction allows us to explore our own beliefs and those of others in nonthreatening spaces with make believe peoples. As an avid reader, I’ve enjoyed the influence of George R Martin, as well as Dean Koontz, Stephen King, and even the great Agatha Christie. Jane Austen also influenced my writing as I build the plot around the relationships of the characters and the societies they inhabit.
3. Do you write in other genres or forms – if so which ones?
I have written some dystopian short stories, as well as erotic romances. I write poetry as well and have several poems published. I like to work with illustrators to do some picture books around cute short stories, mostly about my dogs. However, my main writing passion is science fantasy as I love to blend elements of what could become scientifically possible with the fantastical creatures of my imagination… and dragons. Always dragons.
4. Have your life experiences affected your writing topics and themes?
I would say most definitely. There is a little of me in every story I write. Every character, even the darkest villains, hold seeds of parts of my own personality and life. Of course, some are modeled after people I’ve met and plot elements that mirror my own experiences appear here and there. I also love to integrate my view of what the world is right now, what it could be if everything turned out well, and what it could be if things don’t work out for the best. That last is probably the most fun to hypothesize in terms of creating compelling stories, but not so fun in terms of real life possibilities. Still, as a writer, I think we are in a way prophets, shedding light on what is and what could be for those who have the will to hear and see and to act.
5. How does writing graphic novels compare to novel writing?
When you are working on a collaborative project like a graphic novel, it is important to write the story keeping in mind that it is intended to be illustrated. On the one hand, you want to give your illustrator plenty of clues and descriptions, so the artist can visualize and capture your vision. On the other hand, you also need to give them space to bring in their own flavor to the work. In many ways, it is as much their story as it is yours. I love working with Rosamaria Garza on the Mr. Landen Series and I hope to have a second installment of it out soon, perhaps even later this year if everything works out.
6. You have many writing organizations you are part of – what benefits are there for you and other writers with these memberships?
I think writers should be part of the community as much as possible. For me, an organization like the Houston Writers Guild is a great first step and that was my first step in becoming a serious working author. They offer critique groups which help hone your skills as well as conferences and seminars, which allow you to learn about the industry. Too many authors jump into self publishing or get sucked into spending a ton of money with a vanity press because they don’t take the time to join organizations and attend conferences. You have to learn about the industry before you dive in to the deep end of the pool.
Organizations like Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, or Women in the Visual and Literary Arts are all wonderful because they focus more on specific genres and so you can glean about the more niche sections of the industry, as well as connect to authors that write within your own genres. There are Science Fiction and Fantasy organizations as well as, those for children’s book authors and illustrators.
More than anything else, the one thing that matters is to learn before just doing. Really understand the industry, what the standards are, and how to do things right. You get one chance to capture a reader and you have to make it count by putting forth a quality product.
7. Can you tell us a little about your latest release Love’s Call?
Love’s Call is set in the world of Thyrein’s Galactic Wall. It happens on planet Gelderant several years before the events of my first novel. President Nichamir is fighting to hold on to power while at the same time winning the heart of the woman he knows is destined to be his mate. Because they come from opposing nations, Denipia is reluctant to let her attraction and burgeoning feelings for Nichamir lead her into a relationship with him. Yet, it is their destiny. The question becomes, will their love be able to overcome all that stands between them?
Nichamir has a small moment of appearance in the opening chapters of United Vidden. As the story of Verena and Amiel on planet Jorn unfolds in the coming novels, Nichamir will have a key part to play. In order for readers to really understand the choices he makes in the main line series, I decided to give him his own series. Thus, Love’s Call is book one of The Dragon and His Kitten series.
8. Do you believe exploring all aspects and genres of writing is beneficial for writers?
Generally, I think it is a good thing for all artists to stretch their skill sets by delving into a variety of different genres and modalities. However, ultimately, each artist has the medium through which they speak. So it is with writers. Some are poets and it is the language of poetry that brings forth their voice. Others are fiction writers with specific genres that call to them and which flow more intuitively from their hands. I like to explore and push my comfort zones. I’m currently taking a poetry lab course with Max Regan of Hollowdeck Press. He is a great writing teacher and coach. I dabble in poetry and the skills and techniques of the genre show up in my fiction. But ultimately, I’m a science fantasy romance writer. World building comes as naturally to me as breathing.
9. Describe your writing space.
Oh my… well… messy. Haha. I am a discovery writer and tend to have just a general idea in my head of what the story will be when it begins. I don’t do a lot of plotting or diagramming or note taking in advance. BUT when it comes time to revise, then I like to get physical with my story. I like to use note cards or post its and put the story up on the wall to see what is already there and find what is missing… the pieces that need to be added. I like to print out chapters and cut them up and rearrange things to see if they work better. And I like to color code text with highlighters to show me where themes are already weaved in and where they need to be added. This is how I process my revisions so that the full flavors of the story, all its nuances, can be integrated fully.
Fern Brady is the founder and CEO of Inklings Publishing. She holds multiple Masters degrees and several certifications. She began her professional life as a foreign correspondent, and taught for 15 years in Alief ISD. She has published numerous short stories, two children’s picture books, and a couple of poems. Her debut novel, United Vidden,which is book one in her Thyrein’s Galactic Wall Series, was given a glowing review by Dr. Who Online, the official site of the fandom. Also available for purchase is volume one of her graphic novel/novella hybrid project, New Beginning. She has returned to the leadership of the Houston Writers Guild, with whom she served as CEO for four years previously. She co-hosts two podcasts – Author Talk and The Hot Mess Express. Besides being Municipal Liaison for Nanowrimo Houston, she is also a member of Blood Over Texas, Romance Writers of America, and American Booksellers Association. Fern lives in Houston TX with her parents and her talkative husky, Arya. Follow Fern’s writing at: www.fernbrady.com