I forgot there was an extra Friday in the month, whooooops. My bad. HAPPY OCTOBER, IT’S SPOOKY SEASON!
In all seriousness, I’m home this weekend to celebrate my brother’s Eagle Scout, so everybody better leave him lots of congratulations in the comments. I’ve been scrambling to get my work done around the travel plans, and while I started this draft, I completely missed adding it to my queue. But all the same, this was a hectic month. Fall semester of my Senior Year includes several project-based classes, running most of my clubs, doing undergrad research, working at the school makerspace, and hanging out with my friends. It’s been a ton of fun, and I’m determined to make the most of it, much to the chagrin of my sleep schedule. So before time gets away from me again, let’s go over some cool announcements!
I recently started a new job at the maker-space at my school, which means I have FREE and totally UNLIMITED access to all sorts of neat machines, including 3D printers, a laser cutter, a waterjet, t-shirt printers, and a sticker maker.
4 out of 5 stars: This book is for any writer who wants to learn more about the marketing side of the industry. You don’t have to have a book out yet. In fact, you should be reading this and implementing the advice before you publish so you can reap the benefits of having a mailing list. But regardless of where you are, if the idea of self promotion makes you want to curl up in a ball and die, or you’re trying to promote yourself and it’s not sticking, this book has useful advice. There’s not a ton of business jargon, so it’s accessible and a relatively quick read. One star deducted because it’s easier said than done to execute some of these tips, and in my experience, mailing list success simply comes down to luck and previous existing visibility, but it’s still a solid primer.
Why you need a mailing list and what it needs to accomplish: If you have spent any amount of time throwing your work into the void of the internet you’ll know that persuading people to read your work is difficult. Convincing them to buy it is harder. The world is already so inundated by advertisements that people don’t want to see one more annoying self-promo, but that’s what it takes for people to realize you even have a book in the first place. The point of a mailing list is to cut out the middleman of social media or advertisement services and talk directly to people who will hopefully become your fans. People also tend to check their emails, or at least take them more seriously than social media posts, depending on your target audience, so if you can persuade someone to add one more to the top of their teetering inbox, you’ve already won their loyalty and readership on some small level.
How to pick a provider and set up an onboarding sequence: There are about a million provides out there to collect and store email addresses, and send out automated welcome sequences and scheduled campaigns. This part of the book walks you through the strategy of how to pick one that works for you, and what first steps to walk new members through before adding them to your regular list.
How to choose your target audience and convince people to sign up (hint: the answer is bribery): The target audience for your books is hypothetically the target audience for your mailing list, but as I mentioned before, nobody wants more emails cluttering up their inbox unless they’re really worth something valuable. You have to decide what you’re going to give them that’s worth that sacrifice.
What makes a good bribe? For authors, this is usually a short story or some other bookish merch, but whatever you offer, it should be exclusive, free, completed, and related to your other work. This section of the book gives you some ideas of how to offer “cookies” that will entice the right readers to sign up and stay signed up.
How to get people engage or re engaged: What do you write about? How often do you send out the emails? What are you putting in your subject line? Do you include images or emojis? Whether it’s an art or a science, every line of the email can influence whether someone clicks the links you include, deletes it immediately, or hits the unsubscribe button.
I read this book when I was first starting my mailing list over a year ago. Upon rereading it, I realized I had so much missed potential in the automation and landing forms I originally had set up, and immediately rehauled my entire system. I’m still offering the same thing (new short stories every 3 months), but now the onboarding process should be a lot more informative and seamless than it was before. I can highly recommend this book to any author who’s looking to improve their marketing, regardless of if you think you know all the tricks already. If you want to sign up for my Fancy! New! Improved! mailing list to get an audio drama of “Edge of Infinity” next week, you can register with this link. You can find Tammi Labrecque’s other books on her Goodreads, including a sequel to Newsletter Ninja called “If you give a reader a cookie.”
Thanks for reading! Do you have a newsletter? If so, drop a link in the comments and I’ll join up! If you feel so generously inclined, you can support my writing by leaving me a tip on my Kofi or donating using the secure box below. Until next time, thanks for reading and happy writing!
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The end of summer is always a time for transition, and this year was especially hectic. I had to finish an internship, move home, which involved packing and a nine-hour drive across 3 states. Then I spent a hectic week at home, catching up on administrative adulting stuff, fixing my car headlights, and seeing friends, before moving two hours back to school to start my senior year! The beginning of the semester included starting two new jobs, taking on my capstone project, hanging out with my best friends who are now my roommates, and kicking off the three clubs I help to run. It’s been crazy and quite fun, but I’m glad to be into a routine. With that context, let’s see how I did with my writing goals, shall we?
Ok, I know y’all are here for writing and bookish content and not Etta’s hyper-fixation of the week, but hear me out on this one. Usually, in my how-to posts of the month, I walk through my personal process for some element of the writing process. I’ll never say that my way is the Proper Perfect Official and Only way to outline, but sharing methods provides another tool for writers to pull out of their set when they need a new angle to solve a problem.
This month’s writing problem was the dreaded ~burnout~
I hadn’t realized how badly the accumulated stress and exhaustion of this year had worn on me until suddenly I had the free time to throw myself into the next project and just…. couldn’t. My major goal for this summer was to finish editing Runaways, but I’m struggling to even process the story, much less find the energy to comb through each line and hyper-analyze my word choice. Furthermore, I got sick with bronchitis, which had me wiped out for several weeks, and the fatigue hasn’t really left since recovering from the cough. At first I beat myself up for being lazy, but I’ve realized since finishing this project that my inability to sit down and grind through words came from a much deeper-seated issue. I needed something new and refreshing to refill my creative well, that wouldn’t require a lot of mental effort, and preferably wouldn’t put me in front of a computer. After rifling through my long list of hobbies and coping mechanisms accumulated from many years of doing this to myself in cycles, I landed on sewing.
If you’re facing burnout or a packed schedule, I recommend checking out my alternate post on How To Stay Creative When You Literally Can’t Write for some more suggestions on the topic. The rest of this post will walk through my process of tackling a not-writing creative project to serve as an example (a good one or a bad one is up for you to decide).
Hellooooooo everyone, I hope your summers are going well! This month went by much too quickly, and somehow the evenings and weekends I have off from work seemed like both a luxurious amount of freetime and nowhere near enough to accomplish all the things I wanted to do this summer. August will be hectic with moving home from KY, then back to school to start fall semester of my senior year, so I hoped to get everything done this past month. And I did a lot, but it still never feels like enough haha. Anyhow, let’s get into it, shall we?
Well, we’re halfway through the year and it’s been a great six months of beating writers block and burnout back into the hell from whence they came with a very big stick. I tried to take some time off this month to rest, work on low-stakes side projects, and enjoy long chill chats with friends instead of constantly working, and I think it’s helped a lot. I’m still exhausted, but in a satisfied, “I’ve spent my time well” sort of way, and not the frantic “I’m running out of time” that I’m used to. I’m settled down at my internship, living alone for the first time in my life, and learning how to manage my free time like an actual adult. Weird stuff. Let’s see what I did with my first month of summer “break”!
Hi, survived this month haha. For those of you who don’t follow my tumblr blog-turned-diary, May was absolutely insane. None of you want to hear about the comedy of errors that were my personal life, so suffice to say, I barely touched a document for the past several weeks. I’m still dealing with some burnout while I play catchup – a writer’s block of the “just thinking about tackling these projects sounds so exhausting I don’t even want to acknowledge them” variety. Also, many apologizes for this post coming late; I didn’t have time to finish it before leaving for work. Hopefully, a few days of serious rest and refilling my creative well through other means will help get me back on track, but until I can kick my catatonic brain back into action, let’s review what I salvaged of this month!
This video by Thomas Frank inspired this blog post. I highly recommend checking it out if you have the time! It’s generalized to any creative process, but I want to offer resources and exercises for authors to do to help us finish our WIPs! Many of these are tried-and-true methods for beating writer’s block, so let me know if you’ve tried them before, and how they work for you!
So I don’t know about you, but in my corner of the universe, time is hurtling ahead at a truly breakneck pace. Spring is tentatively here, after several late frosts, and getting my work done is less a task of time management, and more an exercise in staying focused long enough to not get lost outdoors. I’ve had quite the busy month, with course registration, housing selection for next school year, a bunch of STEM outreach events through the college, Easter travels, and backyard mad science experiments with my friends. It’s funny to see the giant gaps in my writer tracker that prove just how sporadic my habits actually are. Never let it be said that you have to write every day to be a productive writer! It’s about finding a rhythm that works around your other obligations.
Honestly, the fact that I finished this all shocked me, given the slow start to the month. I was super busy with social events, a bunch of exams and group projects, two trips to Philly, two flat tires (unrelated), and spring break, which was spent doing boring adulty stuff like taxes. From the look of this graph, it seems like I have a nicely defined and productive almost-daily writing habit, but the truth is most of this happens in adrenaline-inspired bursts when I should actually be doing my homework. Sorry, not sorry, Mass Transfer, fiction is much more fun.