WriteScouts: Promotion – Building Your Email List

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the “badges” that will be offered in a future WriteScouts class is Promotion and one of the topics I’ll cover is building your email list. One of the things I learned as I studied promoting was that building an email list – a list that you yourself own – is key. You don’t want to depend on followers on a platform you don’t own or don’t control. Why? I have one word for you. Myspace.

Okay, so, we’ve addressed the fact that you need an email list. How do you build a list? What is it? What do you need?

Software. First, you need email software. Two that you’ll hear about often are MailChimp and Aweber. Which you choose is up to you. I won’t go into the versus issues, because, frankly, all I have used is MailChimp, so that’s all I can speak to. There are great resources out there, though, like THIS ONE or THIS ONE. I chose MailChimp because it was cheap to start out with, particularly given the fact that I had such a small <cough> non-existent <cough> list.

Plugin. You need a way to capture email addresses. Do a little research on your website so you can create a pop-up. You know what these are – those little boxes that show up and say, hey, just type your email list in here and I’ll send you X! I have a website (psst . . . get your name as a domain as soon as you can), which is currently hosted on Fatcow, and I use WordPress to actually create the content of my website (including my blog — which you know I have because you’re reading it right now). To capture the emails of the people who visit your website, you need to use a Plugin (I use WP Popup). Check out this post for some background info.

Funnel. Every single thing you do should point people to your website. Your social media profiles should all contain a link to your website. Your email signature should have a link to your website. Your business card should include your website address. Think of a funnel that leads people to your website (and ultimately, your plugin to capture their email addresses).

Lead Magnet. People generally need a reason to give you their email address. You’re a writer – give them something they want. I use a free ebook, which is a collection of short stories. There are lots of ideas out there for lead magnets. Like THIS. Take your time with this. Create something that people will actually want.

Cross Promote. Get out there. Talk to people. Be social on social media. Guest post on other blogs. Invite other authors to post on your blog. (psst . . . I’ll include a special section on this in the WriteScouts course.)

Newsletters / Mailings. Email your subscribers on a regular basis, with content that is interesting. I sometimes include snippets from my books or deleted scenes. I’ve also included news, such as when one of my books is nominated for an award, or cover reveals. From the moment you start sending emails out, act as if you are writing to your Perfect Reader. Be personal. Have a conversation with that Perfect Reader. Invite him/her to respond to you. Include content that he/she wants to read. Build a relationship with him/her.

Have you built an email list? What have you found that works? What have you used as a lead magnet?

(Oh – and before I forget – Fatal Obsession has hit the shelves! If your local bookstore or library doesn’t have it, ask them to order it! And if you want the ebook, you can get any format HERE.)

Techno Thrillers: My suggestions

I once described myself as a book slut – I read a bit of everything from horror (Stephen King is the master) to romantic comedy (love Tawna Fenske’s books). I’ve been reading a lot about technothrillers here lately, so I thought I’d share my own suggestions for the genre, in no particular order:

As you can tell by my list, once I find an author I like, I tend to keep reading them. But this list also shows that I need to find new authors! Give me some ideas. What are some of your favorite technothrillers?

Three Creeks Press: 2016-17 Catalog

I grew up around printing. One of my earliest memories is going up to the Centralia Fireside Guard to see my dad, where I breathed the sweet smell of ink while shouting to be heard over the clanging of the presses. When I stayed with my grandparents, I loved going down to the basement and running my hands over the long, narrow drawers of type that lined one whole wall.

In fact, one of my short stories that was inspired by a story my grandpa told about what happened when he was working late one night to put the Washington Journal to bed (hint: it involves Bonnie and Clyde, and is featured in my short story collection, Train of Thought).

So, it seemed natural for me to evolve from writer to authorpreneur to publisher. In 2016, I started Three Creeks Press. Thanks to the advances of technology, I was able to do so from my home, without the expense of purchasing an offset press (though I would dearly love to own an actual press). It is still a lot of work, and requires constant learning of new processes and new technologies, but I have been able to publish a few books and am now confident enough in the processes and distribution channels to be able to open Three Creeks Press to submissions. My goal is to help new writers achieve their dream of publication, focusing specifically on writers from the Midwest.

Please take a moment to check out the new website. I’d love to know your thoughts.

And if you’re interested in our offerings, here’s our first catalog:

Three Creeks 2016-17 Catalog

Technothrillers: What are they?

As I was perusing Amazon, looking at the various best seller lists, I came across a category called “technothriller” – and a lightbulb went off. That’s the kind of book I gravitate to! Think Jurassic Park, the Hunt for Red October, the Judas Strain, Relic . . . these are books that I absolutely love. So, what is a technothriller? Simple. It’s a book that draws from different genres, usually mystery, thriller and sci fi.

Fatal ObsessionSo, if you like these books, too, check out this list from Goodreads of the best technothrillers. And share some of yours in the comments – I need new authors to read! Oh, and if you like that sort of thing, too, check out my latest release, Fatal Obsession. It delves into the cutting edge world of nanotechnology, and dips into the ethical questions medical research raises.

Spring Break!

Woman on the beach at Gulf Shores

I saw a post on Facebook Friday from a friend who was hours away from her spring break starting. Ohhhhhh, I am so ready for spring! How ’bout you? Though I really can’t complain – our winter has been practically non-existent. Just a few minutes ago, I walked the dogs without a coat on. Just clipped their leashes on and walked out the door. In March! In Missouri!

But still . . . there’s something magical about Spring Break. As a broke college kid, I never did anything for spring break. And I always felt a bit cheated about that. Maybe that’s why I find myself jealously reading spring break posts on Facebook, then browsing the internet looking for travel deals. As a matter of fact, we just booked a trip to the beach in May. My idea of a perfect beachy vacation would be lounging beside the pool or in the sand, listening to the cry of sea gulls while losing myself in a good book (have you gotten your copy of Fatal Obsession yet?). Oh, with a sweet icy concoction in a thermal mug sitting on the table next to me. The salty smell of the ocean and the coconut fragrance from my sunscreen would tickle my nose. And I’d be wearing a big floppy hat.

Ahhhh . . . I’m ready for that trip. How ’bout you? Tell me your idea of a perfect spring break day.

Do you want to write a book?

The vast majority of people want to write a book, but never get it done. Do you want to? If your answer is yes, what are you waiting for? Waiting for inspiration to strike? Don’t know what to write about? If that’s the case, sign up for my mailing list and you will get a copy of my Novel Idea Generator . . . PLUS, I will select three people from the list to get a hard copy of the workbook sometime in the next couple of weeks.

Get your free workbook!

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What makes you pick up a Thriler?

The cover is probably the first thing (by the way – I think my cover designer did a great job with Fatal Obsession – awesomely creepy!), but then you read the book description and decide whether or not to read. I can write the book, but I agonize over the description. You have to fit so much in very few words.

Take a look at these descriptions from books that are on Amazon’s thriller bestseller list now:

The Night Bird by Brian Freeman:

Homicide detective Frost Easton doesn’t like coincidences. When a series of bizarre deaths rock San Francisco—as seemingly random women suffer violent psychotic breaks—Frost looks for a connection that leads him to psychiatrist Francesca Stein. Frankie’s controversial therapy helps people erase their most terrifying memories…and all the victims were her patients.

As Frost and Frankie carry out their own investigations, the case becomes increasingly personal—and dangerous. Long-submerged secrets surface as someone called the Night Bird taunts the pair with cryptic messages pertaining to the deaths. Soon Frankie is forced to confront strange gaps in her own memory, and Frost faces a killer who knows the detective’s worst fears.

As the body count rises and the Night Bird circles ever closer, a dedicated cop and a brilliant doctor race to solve the puzzle before a cunning killer claims another victim.

The Trapped Girl by Robert Dugoni

A #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller.

When a woman’s body is discovered submerged in a crab pot in the chilly waters of Puget Sound, Detective Tracy Crosswhite finds herself with a tough case to untangle. Before they can identify the killer, Tracy and her colleagues on the Seattle PD’s Violent Crimes Section must figure out who the victim is. Her autopsy, however, reveals she may have gone to great lengths to conceal her identity. So who was she running from?

After evidence surfaces that their Jane Doe may be a woman who suspiciously disappeared months earlier, Tracy is once again haunted by the memory of her sister’s unsolved murder. Dredging up details from the woman’s past leads to conflicting clues that only seem to muddy the investigation. As Tracy begins to uncover a twisted tale of brutal betrayal and desperate greed, she’ll find herself risking everything to confront a killer who won’t go down without a deadly fight. Once again, New York Times bestselling author Robert Dugoni delivers a taut, riveting thriller in the fourth installment of his acclaimed Tracy Crosswhite series.

Both of these sound good – but what is it about that description that draws you in? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

It’s HERE!!! Fatal Obsession

I am so excited to announce that Fatal Obsession, my new thriller, will be released on February 25, 2017!

As you probably know, Fatal Obsession is a Widow’s Web novel – an exciting series where women face challenges that threaten to destroy them, just as they begin to find the strengths within them.

Sophie grew up in the foster care system, an orphan separated from her brother after their parents are killed. After she married Blake Kendrick and gets pregnant, she’s thrilled that she’s finally part of a real family. When she learns that her husband, a brilliant cancer researcher, has experimented on their unborn child, her world shatters. The powerful man her husband works for is determined to get that child, to use the research within Sophie’s body to save his dying mother. Sophie is forced to go on the run, terrified of what might be growing within her, worried that her baby might need treatment by the very man who is hunting them. The survival skills she learned in foster care serve her well as she must discriminate between who she can trust and who she can’t, who is a real friend and who is a threat. All the while, an experiment grows within her . . . will they escape?

Fatal Obsession will be released in paperback on February 25, 2017. The ebook is available now – get your copy today! (and gain my undying gratitude.)

To celebrate the release, I’m giving away a $25 gift card to Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winners choice). Enter here (note – you can enter every day!):   a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Dark Side of Morning by Tierney James

Several years ago, I went to dinner with a group of aspiring authors at a writers convention. To our surprise, and the amusement of the others sharing our table, Tierney James and I ended up discussing scrapbooking and sniper rifles. We’ve been friends ever since, and I am excited she was able to take a little time to answer some questions for me to celebrate the release of her newest book, Dark Side of Morning.

This book includes a strong element of Native Americans. How did you get interested in Native American culture, and how did your experiences influence your writing of this book?
I did my student teaching on the Qualla Reservation in the Great Smokey Mountains among the Cherokee people. Years before my parents had taken me there on vacation. I told them I would return to live there. And I did. It changed my life. They experience life, nature and spiritual awakening on a higher plain. My soul rejoiced among these wonderful people. In my Enigma Series the hero is half Cherokee. His mother has the same name as my house parents on the reservation. The years have passed but my love of the culture has grown by leaps and bounds.

This book has sci fi elements in it. What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve visited the Field Museum in Chicago many times. And of course the North American Indian section is the first place I go when there. I looked into the mannequin eyes of my main character over the years and wondered if he could see and hear me. Some say it’s creepy. I say it is full of possibilities. Parallel universes started to interest me when I read Louie L’Amour’s book Haunted Mesa. He died shortly after it was published and I had a lot of questions.

Tell me about the protagonist in this book.
Dr. Cleopatra Sommers never came to terms with her father’s disappearance at the Museum of Natural History in Chicago. He had been a Native American scholar that explored avenues of unexplained spiritual paths in their cultures. The museum had been her home and playground growing up where her father spent long hours working. She was always drawn to one display case holding a mannequin of a Pawnee Indian. There was no way she could know he watched her all those years until the night he crossed over to find her.

If this book were made into a movie, who would you cast as the main characters?
Robert Silent-Thunder for Wind Dancer
Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World) for Cleopatra Sommers
Detective Jacque Marquette I’m thinking Bradley Cooper

Your previous books are true thrillers, with terrorists and pulse-pounding action. Does this book contain any of those elements?
Yes it has those elements but on a spookier level. I talk about skinwalkers which is like a witch that the Navajo have in their culture. Those are super scary things. Then there is the possibility of biological agents that could wipe out the United States.

I completely enjoyed the Enigma series. Do you anticipate ever returning to that cast of characters?
I’m actually working on #4 right now! Think diamonds, Africa and Tessa’s son hacking the wrong kind of people.

Tierney, I appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions and share some insight into your new book. Folks, take a moment to pop over to Amazon and check out Dark Side of Morning (and tell all your friends!).