I didn’t think I had time for Newsletters. I also didn’t think I had the interest. But it's part of being an author these days, so I started (little scientist me) to research it. I signed up for several to see what others were doing. I read articles. I investigated platforms and programs. I asked around.
Maybe someone else is thinking about it. Here is what I learned about Newsletters:
1. It’s a connection.
Right now, connecting with people is hard. So maybe a little email sent to you monthly is a bright spot, a new idea, or a thought to share. It’s one more point of contact for people to remember that people are still out there, doing stuff. I liked having that moment of connection.
2. Newsletters are powerful
Newsletters are direct, from-the-source material, unlike many other platforms with filters or algorithms that continuously change and challenge our ability to connect. The message is going right to the person who wants to hear it. That in itself makes it potent.
3. Yes, it’s a way to advertise.
But is that all bad? From the other side, it’s a way to keep up with current developments, maybe even get ahead with pre-release information or covers before publication. It’s a way of generating momentum for a new book or helping people see older ones in a new light. Or maybe there is an event that needs to be shared. It’s all right there. I can be kept in the loop instead of counting on coming across something I may not even know to search for online.
4. Broadening my horizons, or at least my booklist.
Finding a new author, or a new song, or a new idea. By connecting with authors, we learn about their journeys. We get access to resources we never knew. Maybe we can be inspired! And with cross-promotion, we may find another book to read. Not that I have time for more of those… but I can dream.
5. Feedback from the readers!
What do you think of the new cover? What’s the interest in the fantasy world? Should more books follow, or is it time to move on? What do they love? Not love? Who do they root for? All of that is a vital part of getting to know the most important person in the writing field; the reader. A Newsletter is a way of hearing back.
So I'm going ahead.
In setting up my newsletter, I had to decide on some basic things (like the platform, frequency), but the hurdle became the content. I love music so expect some listening recommendations. A fun quote. Sure. But the content, the meat of it. What was I going to do?
I don’t want to be another newsletter about how to write. I am learning, and no doubt there will be some bits about the journey, new covers, release dates, but why would people open MY newsletter?
I decided I want to be a bright spot. I want to be that happy thought for the day or the funny quote. I promise to keep my newsletter upbeat and fun. We all need an excuse to smile.
If you’re interested, sign up here. The first one goes out Dec 1st. And yes, I’ll send you a short story as a bonus on sign up!
It's a tradition, although one I almost skipped this year because of the different set up for the conference. Still, there were gems to be had. Thus, here are ...
Things I learned from SiWC online
1. Video and audio are on the rise!
I knew Audiobooks were on the up and up. I had no idea how powerful video was becoming! With Google now indexing video and audio content, Podcast content shows up on searches and adds to an author's searchability. And now we can link videos to Amazon and websites. YouTube videos show up and bump your ranking up.
I guess this means people will be seeing a bit more of my bedraggled haircut in the weeks to come! I'm hoping to do a 'launch' for Dragon's Talon and a bit of a reading. I already have a reading of 'Someone,' a new short story!. Let's be honest; going audiovisual is an exciting new adventure: a terrifying one, but an exciting one. With modern technology, it's not as tricky as it once was.
I'll see you out there soon!
2. Blogs can tie to Amazon and Goodreads.
Now that I'm present on Goodreads (yay!), I had to do up the author profile. But it took a lecturer pointing out that it was possible to link the blog to the profiles for me to look at it again. I had seen the spot to put the link but failed to make it work. Now I've figured it out! Ok, small victories, but hey, I'll take what I can get.
Want to see more of me on Amazon? Follow here: DLambertauthor
Goodreads? Follow me as the author here: Author page
Or just friend me as a person (but know I'm not great at keeping my lists up to date!)
3. Taking a more in-depth look at the worlds we write, fictional or not
One talk I thoroughly enjoyed was "Decolonizing Fiction" with Erin Roberts. It challenged authors to look at many layers of their writing, even when we were not making a conscious effort towards a statement. Sometimes, even NOT making a statement may be making a statement we are unaware of. We don't see the scaffolding of the world we are accustomed to. It takes effort to see beyond that and make conscious choices about what we are putting out there.
It doesn't have to be big things. It can be simple as the type of stockings someone wears (Nude stockings: are they really nude for everyone? Clearly not!). But we can be active in our writing. We have to be deliberate in the choices we make.
4. Be afraid and do it anyway.
Eileen Cook's final speech spoke right to my heart. I'm getting doubts about the Sands of Nanterac series. It features so many new ideas and concepts, so far removed from the World of Espar and the familiar. I love it, but I don't know how to pitch it. I fear it's not good enough. It doesn't belong.
The thing is, the characters are black. Sort of, at least. They are more alien than just that, but it's based in a desert, and the people are pitch-black skinned. I researched lots of African themes and cultures to build the world and the peoples. I had to; building the world in the environment drove the culture. It makes sense.
What do I do with it? Shelve it? It has a place, I'm sure, in reaching broader adult audiences.
Even with a blue pencil last year with the lovely Cat Rambo, I haven't gotten any requests. Probably because I stopped querying it in 2019 though!! I lost my nerve.
So it's time to face the fear and, as Eileen said, do it anyway.
And that, my friends, is the final motto for SiWC. Be afraid, and do it anyway. Push the limits. You never know what will come of it.
So what project have you held back on?
D. Lambert, author
Fantasy novels that entice, inspire, and entertain.