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Showing posts from September, 2013

Mailing list, part two: I did it!

Last week, I wrote about the importance of having a mailing list, and my attempts to set one. If you read the post, you learned that it didn’t exactly go smoothly. I have better news this week: I have a brand new mailing list and newsletter. How did I do it? Well, let me tell you. After the celebratory fireworks.

I changed the provider. That’s how. I wasn’t intelligent enough to figure out MailChimp’s system so I gave up. I chose YMLP, Your Mail List Provider, instead. Their instructions were easier to understand and they had the feature I couldn’t find with the other provider, a possibility to set an automatic newsletter that is sent to every new subscriber. Since I want to reward my subscribers with a short story when they sign in, it’s an invaluable feature.
YMLP’s subscription forms were more basic and they didn’t require as much tweaking. Their templates were more flexible too. However, the autoresponder e-mail had a different editor than the other templates; it wasn’t as easy to u…

The importance of having a mailing list – and how not to go about it

A piece of marketing advice for self-publishing authors I’ve come across often is that they – we – need a mailing list. The logic is simple. People who will subscribe to your mailing list are those who are willing to receive news about your work and – hopefully – buy your books too.

I’ve ignored the advice so far. Mostly, I admit, out of laziness. It has seemed like a lot of work in addition to everything else I’ve had to set up during the past year. But I have time for it now, and a need for it too. I have a new book coming up this autumn I’d like my existing readers to learn about as easily as possible. Of course, if I had set one up last year, I would have many more subscribers by now.
A couple of timely blog posts have reminded me of the necessity too. The Writer’s Guide to Building an Email List by Your Writer Platform summarises all the benefits a mailing list offers: Blogs, websites and RSS readers can disappear. Once you have an email list, you can always stay connected with your…

L. S. Burton: This Land – review

I promised ages ago to regularly review books on my blog, but I’ve been somewhat remiss of that. I’ll remedy that this week with a review of This Land: That Ribbon of Highway. It’s the new book by my editor Lee Burton, the first book in his sci-fi series of four books.

I reviewed Lee’s book Ella on this blog earlier. It’s a short story of a young girl growing up and losing her childhood imagination; a wistful, beautiful book. Lee’s strengths are his ability to create believable, real characters and his beautiful language, both of which make This Land special too.
This Land is listed as science fiction, but perhaps more correct definition would be speculative fiction. The concept is intriguing; a planet that is terraformed with humans on it, unable to fight back. How will they react, what will they do to survive?
I gave This Land five stars on Amazon and Goodreads. It is a great book, and I warmly recommed it to everyone. Take a look.
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What if your planet were being terraformed by an …

Don’t ask writers where they get their ideas

The above quote, by author Saladin Ahmed, passed through my Twitter timeline today. I found it great and very apt.
I’ve never had any shortage of book ideas. My mind constantly comes up with ideas. Ideas are a dime in a dozen. I have ideas for contemporary romances; ideas for urban fantasy and paranormal romances – for the series I already write and for completely new worlds; ideas for historical romances and books with no romance in them whatsoever.
It’s actualising those ideas where it gets tricky.
Not every book idea I have leads to a book. Often it’s because I don’t have enough time to write it. I’ve tried to write two books at the same time, but both books suffer because of it and it takes longer to finish them than it would if I wrote them back to back. I’ve found that the best practise for me is to write the idea down, maybe write the first chapter, too, if it absolutely begs to be written, and then leave it be. If I still find the idea great when I have time for it, I’ll use it.
O…

Aches and pains

Today’s post is necessarily short. The reason: my shoulder is killing me.
I got a new computer and keyboard last week. While both are great and much needed, there is a drawback. With a new keyboard comes a new work position for my hands. The old one was an ergonomic keyboard curved in one way; the new one is an ergonomic keyboard curved in another way. And my body disapproves.
A writer’s life is full of ergonomic pitfalls. We spend much too much time sitting down in static positions. It causes all sorts of physiological problems. Poor circulation to lower limbs, back pains, achy shoulders and a stiff neck. This time round, my entire left arm from neck to fingertips is on fire. Stretching and resting offer only a temporary respite.
My right arm, on the other … hand ... is doing fine. I’m therefore confident that the left arm will follow the programme and adjust. Until then, I have to write in shorter intervals and rest my arm more often. Which isn’t that bad, come to think of it.
Here’s a …