Author Newsletters: All Your Burning Questions Answered!

Here’s a really, really bad example of an author newsletter.

Author newsletters are one of those things that used to be super-hot when the first author stumbled upon one like the ape in 2001: A Space Odyssey found the black monolith of human evolution. But now that everyone’s got one, they’re less potent than they used to be. Who doesn’t have a black monolith they keep in their basement but now mostly use as a clothes rack, amiright?

So you might be wondering: do I need one or what? And what the hell am I supposed to do with it?

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4 Steps to Finding Time to Write

Come on, time. I know you’re there. Don’t play coy with me, bitch.

You know the saying, “Writers write every day”? Here’s the thing: this isn’t true. The vast majority of successful writers don’t actually write every day; maybe most days, but not every day. Sometimes they get sick, or overwhelmed with family stuff, or go on vacation, or get hit by a car, et cetera. Things come up, life happens.

The real saying should be: “Writers finish.” Successful authors finish projects, period. If you never finish, you’ve effectively done nothing. …Unless you’re writing just for fun, and then none of this advice matters anyway. BTW, good luck with that Cinderella/Batman mashup story told from celebrity shock jock Howard Stern’s point of view!

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13 Nuggets of Advice on Marketing Your Novel

It’s me when I’m trying to market my latest novel! …but without the man-hands.

I’m gonna be honest up front: I have yet to find a marketing strategy that’s worked well for me. I’ve published six novels so far, traditional and self-published, and hustled to market each one. I’ve read a bunch of books and blogs about marketing and tried lots of different tactics. Money was never a limiting factor for me (I make decent dough at my day job, though I’m not rich—#middleclassbabe), so lack of spending was definitely not the problem. I even tried hiring a company to do it for me, and the results were the same: somehow, I’m still not a bestselling author.

So, I can’t offer steps to success like my other blogs…BUT I can offer some hard-earned wisdom and advice.

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9 Steps to Constructing a Good Scene or Chapter

Don’t put that book down, girl!

You know how sometimes you’ll read an entire chapter of a book and think to yourself, “What did I just read?” Or maybe, “What was the point of that?” Well, the reason you’re asking yourself this question is because whoever wrote the chapter didn’t know how to properly construct a scene…or it’s supposed to be some kind of deep literary nonsense, though if that’s the case you’d probably think to yourself “Soooo deep…” while secretly feeling ashamed because you assume you’re too dumb to understand it.

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5 Ways to Tell If You’re a Natural Writer

But I AM a natural heart surgeon! I just choose to do other things with my hands…

Like most endeavors in this thing we call life, how good you are at something depends on a combination of natural skill and drive to improve. Notice I said how good you are at something, not how successful you are, because success depends a lot on luck…more than most successful people are willing to admit. If you’re good at something, it increases your odds of success, but you can still suck at something and be successful at it.

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Plotting versus Pantsing, and 4 Hybrid Options to Plot Out Your Novel

Sometimes pantsing is what’s best for you!

The biggest issue with writing a book is that you need to somehow fill up blank space on a page with words. Specifically, words that form a narrative. Failing to do this means you’ve failed to write a book.

This is ALWAYS, 100% of the time, the reason people try and fail to write a novel.

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The 4 Key Attributes of a Good Ending

“Sprinkling some magic ending fairy dust…send this beautiful bitch to PRINT!”

There’s honestly not a lot to say about endings except they should be a satisfying conclusion of everything that’s come before—but, of course, that can be harder than it sounds. An exceptionally good ending can elevate a story to greatness (The Usual Suspects, The Shawshank Redemption), or ruin it (Season 8 of Game of Thrones, The Rise of Skywalker for some current examples). To clarify, when I say good ending I mean satisfying, which isn’t necessarily a happy ending.

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9 Steps to Start Your Story

Let’s say you’ve confirmed your what-if idea is worth expanding into a whole story. Yay!

Now what?

This is where most people get stuck after they decide they want to write a novel. They might write a few pages, or even a few chapters, and then stall out. Part of this is waning interest and competing priorities; writing an entire novel is hard and takes a long time, dammit! If you’re not committed, it’s probably not gonna happen.

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