Do I have to have a newsletter?

It’s May Marketing Month on #RWChat. Check out the first installment by Alexis Daria: 5 Things to Include On Your Author Website If You’re Not Yet Published.

I’ve avoided starting a newsletter for over a year now. It’s become a spectre haunting me: Start the email list… it’s your number one marketing tool… everyone says do it… you won’t sell books without it… 

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And all that pressure makes it worse. Continue reading

5 Things to Include on Your Author Website If You’re Not Yet Published

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When I started building websites in the 90s, it was hard. Now, we’re living in a golden age where anyone can turn a free theme into a functional author page. My intention when I started querying was to turn my online art portfolio into an author site—but a hacker wiped it! Rather than rebuild from scratch, I gave my rarely-used WordPress blog a fresh layout. But one question remained: If you aren’t published yet, what do you include on an author website? Below, I’ll give you some easy elements to add to your site, including the one that netted me several comments from agents. 

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Ruining the Moment

Our upcoming chat is about writing humor! Check out Robin Lovett’s post on the struggle to be funny.

Alexis Daria

I think I’m pretty funny. I don’t know if others would agree or not, but I think I am. Or at the very least, I’m silly, which is close enough. When writing, I try to imbue a light-hearted sense of fun into my stories, to balance out the deeper feelings that come up for the characters. The ability to infuse your writing with humor is all well and good, but alas, this is where killing your darlings comes in.

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What’s so funny?

I’m not a funny person, or at least I don’t intend to be. I take everything too seriously, and I fell for the “gullible’s not in the dictionary” joke three times when my husband and I started dating.

How the hell could I ever write humor in my novels?

Jokes happen at my expense, not because I’m making them. Every party I go to without fail, I say something I intend very seriously that instead makes everyone laugh. I’m left saying, “But it’s true!” and baffled as to why everyone is laughing.

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Humor has always been a mystery to me, until last year I heard this quote. Continue reading

The Fear and Shame in Jealousy

Below is Robin Lovett’s honest confession about how she deals with this week’s topic: jealousy. Also check out Alexis Daria’s post on it.

My CP got an agent! A contract! An award! A big advance! I’m thrilled and excited for them. We celebrate, go out for drinks, plan what comes next on their big journey.

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This has happened to a lot of my writing friends in the last two years, and even though I too have had my achievements, I always experience something awful in the midst of their celebration.

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Hey Jealousyyy

This week’s #RWchat topic is all about jealousy. (And yes, this post title comes from a Gin Blossoms song.)

Envy is real. We look over at someone else getting the book deal, winning the award, hitting the bestseller list, and we think, “I want that.” But envy can be useful. It can guide us toward new goals, and allow us to study how other people got to where we want to go. Envy can push us to work harder and smarter. But if left unchecked, or allowed to run rampant in the mind, envy can quickly turn to jealousy, which is far more insidious.

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The dictionary defines jealousy as, “jealous resentment against a rival, a person enjoying success or advantage, etc., or against another’s success or advantage itself.” The key word here is resentment. Resentment can fester and grow, sapping creativity and damaging personal and professional relationships.

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Last month, I attended the Liberty States Fiction Writers’ “Create Something Magical” conference with fellow RWchat co-host Robin Lovett. On a whim, we went to a session called “I Want What She’s Got: How to Cope with Professional Jealousy” led by Avery Flynn and Kimberly Kincaid. Normally I’m a compulsive note-taker, and I live-tweet workshops and panels, but this felt too personal to live-tweet.

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Bragging, Bullshit, & Lies

Our final publishing origin story is Kimberly Bell’s. For stories with less profanity and hubris, check out Alexis Daria, Robin Lovett, and C.L. Polk.

Everyone’s journey to getting published is unique, but I’ve been told mine is particularly atypical. I don’t like to tell it because I think it is unrealistic, and thus unhelpful. It also kind of makes me sound like I’m bragging. (…sometimes, I kind of am, but I don’t like to sound that way.)

The very first book I ever tried to write was the first book I published. I had dabbled in single scenes of fiction, but I’d primarily written personal journal entries before I decided to sit down and write a romance novel. It took a year, almost to the day. I edited the first couple chapters, but then I became impatient and started querying.

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