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No-Write Wednesdays

Discussion in 'Marketing' started by skip.knox, May 24, 2017.

  1. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    I'm rasslin' with Mail Chimp right now and may be gaining the upper hand on the tech, so I'm starting to think more about content.

    I will have a monthly bulletin. I could increase the frequency, but for now let's say monthly. I know that this is the place to make special offers to subscribers, to give updates on my (pretending-not-to-be-wretched) progress on my latest novel, and to give them an early look at background content about Altearth itself (stuff that will eventually wind up on the web site). I'll also regularly invite questions and can write replies here. I should mention that I have also (largely moribund) Facebook and Twitter accounts for Altearth.

    All that having been said, what else would you expect to see in such a newsletter? I want to make sure I include all major pieces, as that will affect design choices. If any of you folks already run your own author newsletter, I'd love to know about it.
     
  2. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Ohh, where to begin . . . .

    Let's assume for a moment that I'm an avid reader and an alt-earth fanboy (I read, but not avidly, and I know unfortunately little about your setting). Here are the things I would be interested in:

    - What you're reading, and what you think of it.
    - What you're writing, and how you feel about your characters.
    - Cool fantasy things that didn't make it into the story or that are only lightly touched on in the story. A bestiary, or a tour guide, for instance.
    - Maps and art, if presentable. "I sketched my character to help me get into his or her head." "Presentable" can still be mediocre.
    - Short-Short flash narrative fiction. 500 word day-in-the-life. Your MCs went to a bar and had a lofty conversation while ordering cocktails? What does that scene look like from the waiter's POV? Maybe enough to tease out the story.


    That said, in my opinion all of that is more work than is worth it for one person to do on their own. I think you'd be better off if you grabbed two to four other people who are about as good and as far along as you are and rotate who does what segment.
     
    skip.knox likes this.
  3. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Those are excellent suggestions. Here are some variations on those.

    The first two are gold as-is. I will use them.
    The third thing is in progress. I have essays on how magic works, A Child's History of Altearth, and articles on various historical events (e.g., 1819 and All That).
    Rather than art, I would post images that I use as inspiration and research for my stories. Since Altearth is based on real Earth, I get to use real images and don't have to draw!
    Not so sure about flash fiction. I'm lousy at it. I'm more of a campfire fiction sort of guy.

    Anyway, thanks a whole pile of dragon gold for the response. I'm shopping web site designers now, getting ready for a redesign, logo, and a genuine marketing push this November-or-so.
     
  4. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    What does that mean?
     
  5. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    I might suggest that your newsletter not be overly focussed on just your work or your world. At this stage you probably don't have enough followers that you can call them "Reacher's Creatures" or something similar. :) Hell even Lee Child's newsletter promotes other authors and their events.

    What I suggest you give your readers is "added value" on related topics and authors.

    So if you know about similar authors who have a sale on, or a new book coming out, or a public appearance of an author similar to you or want to comment about the upcoming Game of Thrones episode. Stuff like that. IT really can't be all about you and your world if it is going to be effective.

    Also, if you can, offer real world value in your newsletter. My wife offers specific well researched travel safety tips in hers which ties in with her international style thriller writing.

    Consider allying with other writers to form a group of authors helping promote each other. I have seen this done very effectively and it serves as a force multiplier for your marketing efforts.

    And oh yeah...sign me up!
     
    Michael K. Eidson likes this.
  6. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    A writer alliance is a good idea. I can't imagine wanting to comment about current events or current entertainment. Books I've read would be something, especially to plug a book that I think is good but overlooked. Or to talk about classics.

    Related topics would be history. I have hundreds of pages of real history essays from my online classes, but that seems a bit off the mark. I'll have to give this some more thought. Personally I don't much care for "off-topic" materials at an author's site. Diff'rent strokes.
     
  7. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Just an inept grab at humor. Campfire fiction would be slower than flash fiction. <grimace>

    Apropos of nothing, "flash fiction" is a term I don't much like. It evokes men in raincoats. It also feels pretentious, as if "short fiction" were not sufficiently descriptive. Not that anyone asked.
     
  8. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I know I gave you a bunch of suggestions above, but to be brutally honest Skip.knox, a monthly newsletter like the one you're brainstorming isn't the marketing tact I would recommend.

    Your strength is history. Cool. Scrap the crap and focus on that. Make a list of twenty historical places, people, events, and so on that you think are awesome enough, and overlooked enough, to be inspiration for a fantasy story. Think about everything you know. What are some attitudes and behaviors that people had in, say, the Renaissance that we might not realize? Write an article on that. What's a battle that had some awesome tactics you found interesting? Write about that. Was there a story you saw about a farmer who did something weird? Write it.

    And focus on how could that stuff be used in a story.

    Okay, now that you have this list of topics, find somebody who is already publishing articles (hint, hint: Mythic Scribes) and submit them. Also, figure out a cool name and call it a regular feature, like:

    Attitudes in the Renaissance: Making History into Fantasy

    Now, look, my last Trope Reboot had a hundred shares, thousands of clicks and 600 people who read it. I don't have any sales links at the moment, but I'm sure that if I did it would draw in more than I could wearing myself out with a monthly newsletter that doesn't even have readers.

    And if I really wanted to, I'm sure I could figure out an article style that would do just as well on a couple of other sites. I'd rather write three articles a month and get promoted at three different sites than try and do the hosting and the networking and the like all by myself.

    I mean, I said above that if I was an avid reader and an altearth fanboy, those are the things I'd be interested in. But the truth is, if I was an avid reader and an altearth fanboy, I would have already your books. Somebody reading a monthly newsletter is "already in." It's not the best way to go.

    Of course, if you get a group of people involved, that changes everything. But by yourself, there's other ways.
     
  9. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    I will chew on that. Because I already have a number of such articles, though they are straight history. I've tweaked a couple to be history-as-fantasy, as proof of concept, and they seem to work. Posting to widely-read blogs is a good idea.

    Just to be clear, the newsletter is for people who subscribe, so they presumably already have expressed an interest. It would not be going out to no one. It's a mailing list, and I would want offer them something of value.
     
  10. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Just to add, with both Devor and Russ expressing the same opinion, I really do need to give that serious consideration.
     
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