Why Mailing Lists Are Especially Important For Beginning Authors

WHY AUTHORS NEED A MAILING LIST

When you are a Beginning Author just starting out, no one knows who you are. Well, some people do, like your friends, families, coworkers and online social network friends and followers, but unless you are already somehow well known, the vast majority of people on this planet are unaware of your existence. That’s why you need to put together a mailing list. People on your mailing list are people who know who you are and are waiting for news about your writing. Each person on your mailing list will be someone who has intentionally signed up for updates about you and your writing. You will put together this list using automated opt-in forms that compile names and addresses for you, using a service like MailChimp. When your list starts to grow, which it will if you follow the steps I will outline later, you will be ready to start sending out mass mailings to everyone on your list. When you do this, you will want to include freebies like special editions of your book, short stories or articles that only members of your mailing list will receive.

Here is a afantastic article that explains all that in a very good way: All You Need To Know About Author Mailing Lists

I know that’s a lot to digest, but that is the quickest and clearest way to reach your goal of success as an author. You will eventually have a mailing list comprised of thousands of subscribers. Each time you send out a mass mailing, thousands of people will instantly be given the opportunity to buy your book, read your newest post, watch your newest video, sign up for your latest contest of giveaway. You want to continually give valuable things to the members of your email list. This is why people will stay subscribed, and why they will eventually buy your books. The Law of Reciprocity applies, which means that if you continually give and give and give, then eventually, those your are giving to will want to give something back to you. This urge on the part of your email subscribers will manifest in the form of purchases of your books. This is what the big publishers and authors do, and it is what you need to do in order to achieve your own success, too.

THE PUBLISHING MYTH

There is a myth that the big publishing houses do all the marketing for their new authors and book releases. This is simply not true. What the big publishing houses do is create availability of titles, and arrange for online and brick-and-mortar distribution, make a few announcements in print media and online and sometimes give cash advances to their authors, hoping that money will be invested in advertising and publicity efforts achieved in large part by the authors themselves or people the author hires to do these things. When you are a traditionally published author, a lot of the weight of publicity and marketing still rests on your shoulders. In light of this, I recommend independent self publishing because you get to keep a much greater percentage of your book royalties, which will allow you to spend more on advertising, which you would very likely have to spend anyway even if you did get traditionally published.

When you have a mailing list, it is important to follow through with everything you have promised to your subscribers. If they are expecting a free download of a book or article, you have to provide it, or you will lose subscribers. That means losing potential sales. Create a mass mailing at least once a month that delivers to your subscribers what has been promised, and change what is promised every month, in order to avoid duplicate giveaways.

When you make commitments in the sign-up statement, make sure that you can meet them without fail. Offering something free is a great way to get people to join your mailing list. You don’t even have to give away your own work. You can give away gift certificates, or content collected from free Creative Commons sources. When your potential subscribers see that you are making them an offer, instead of a giving them a sales pitch, they will be more willing and eager to sign up for your list, and later buy your books.

Now…

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‘Easy’ Method for Writing Your First Novel

I am going to share with you the easiest method I know of for writing a novel.

This is one of the methods I endorse in my book, Magnify And Multiply.

The first thing you need to do is think of a character. This will be the main character of your book. If you are writing an adventure, this person will be your Hero protagonist. If you are writing Romance, then this person will be a Man or Woman who will eventually (hopefully) find love. Your character could even be a dog, or a child, or a fairy or vampire. Do yourself a favor and create a character you know something about. If you know a lot about playing music, then a musician would be a great character to create. If you know a lot about video games, then a gamer would be a good choice.

When you have your main character chosen, have given them a name, and decided what you want them to look like, create a second character. This could be either a family member, friend, lover or coworker. Someone that will regularly interact with your main character, but is ‘on their side’. Also give this person a name and decide on their appearance. This character can be a little more outside your area of expertise, but they need to be believable. If your main character is a musician, then maybe your second character can be a band manager or recording engineer.

Now, you need to create your third character. This person will be the antagonist. Every story has one. A bad guy. Someone who somehow thwarts the desires of the main character and keeps them from achieving their goal, be it finding a treasure, saving the princess, or simply finding love. Make sure that the antagonist you create has opposing traits to your main character, this will make it easier for readers to understand that the main character and the antagonist are at odds with one another.

Now that you have your three main characters, it is time to do some basic plotting for your novel. Some people do not like to plot their stories out, and they write by the seat of their pants, these people are ‘pantsers’, but for the easiest possible way to write a novel, you need to be a plotter instead. Trust me. You don’t want to get twenty-thousand words into a story and not know where it is going, and then just give up because your story has lost all its momentum. You need to plot if you want to get through the novel writing process without too much indecision or having to wrack your brain, searching for some kind of resolution to the quagmire you have put all your beloved characters into, without knowing how to get them out of it first.

Here is how you can easily plot out your story: Write out 25 – 50 single sentence events that will happen in your story, from beginning to end. To help make your novel more successful, I suggest using ‘beat sheets’ AKA plot templates. There are several genre-specific plot templates that can be observed in nearly every successful book in any given genre. There is a template for Romance stories, and there is a different template for Hero’s Journey / Adventure stories. Each genre has it’s own basic path that the story must follow, in order to keep readers emotionally engaged and thereby interested. Writing fiction is very much about taking readers on emotional journeys of the imagination. If your story does not rouse emotion, it will not succeed. In the history of the world, millions of books have been written, and it is universally accepted that some types of storytelling are much more emotionally engaging that others. That’s why I suggest you follow a beat sheet. History has proven that stories plotted out according to them are more successful than unplotted stories that the author just made up as they went along. So, begin your novel by writing out 25 – 50 distinct plot points, according to the beat sheet or template that best fits the basic idea of your story i.e. Romance, Adventure, Coming of Age, etc.

When you have your 25 – 50 plot sentences written out in order from start to finish, start filling in the spaces between them with 500 – 1000 word sections. These will be come the chapters of your book. When you have done this properly, you will have a novel that is about 20,000 – 75,000 words long. Those numbers are padded because you will very likely write some chapters that are shorter than 500 words, and some that are much longer than 1,000 words. This is normal. Your creative juices will be flowing freely, not having to decide what is going to happen in the story anymore, because you already did that when you plotted it out. Now, you can focus on fleshing everything out, describing everything that happens, and everyone’s reactions, thoughts and actions resulting from events in your story.

That is the lion’s share of the work as far as actually writing your first novel is concerned. When you have your manuscript completed, id will be time to get it edited. When you are just starting out, it might be too expensive for you to hire a professional editor, which can cost one cent a word, making a 75,000 word novel cost 750 dollars to edit. If you cannot afford professional editing in that kind of price range, don’t worry, there are free book editing options.

If you can afford a professional editor, do it. There is really no substitute. They will find things that you will not find. I know you will probably think that your manuscript is perfect when you send it to an editor, but no manuscript is perfect until it is edited, and even then, it really depends on who’s reading it. The goal is to get as close to perfect as possible prior to publication. That is an editor’s job. You may think that they are taking your baby and turning it into something else, and you are right. They are helping your baby grow up. They are taking out things that should not be there and putting in things that should. A good editor will never guess about these things, they will know exactly what they are doing, and your book will be better because of it.

When your first book is properly edited, it is complete and ready to be published, and it is also time for a party.