Wednesday, June 1, 2022

The Insecure Writer and Developing An Email List


Today is June's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.

Why makes me an insecure writer this month?

Fretting over my email list--or more specifically--the fact that I don't have one yet.

As authors, you've probably all heard that we need to gather an email list. A list of readers who have voluntarily subscribed to receive our newsletters. A list of readers eager to hear about our books. Of course, some of this information can be delivered via social media, but an email list belongs to you, and you only. It can't be taken away from you the same way your social media followers can. Just ask Facebook.

My problem is how to get people to sign up for my list. I've yet to publish a book, so I have no readers who might be interested in subscribing. There are ways of gathering subscribers before your debut book comes out, but those usually depend on having a reader magnet--a freebie that you give readers in order to entice them to join your list. Unfortunately, I don't have one.

I'm currently working on a reader magnet, a short story that details the adventures of one of my characters that occur before the events in the book. Unfortunately, this story only makes sense if read after finishing the book, so while this "magnet" may be a great way to attract new subscribers who've enjoyed my book, it's not a particularly good incentive for those who haven't.

The standard advice would be to write a short story in the same world that doesn't require having read the book, but that won't work in my case. Learning about the world and how the magic system works is such a big part of the actual book. I'd either have to ruin it by explaining everything in the prequel, or let the reader be confused for much of the story. 

I suppose I could write a standalone short story that has nothing to do with my debut book or its world, but I'm not sure what that would be or how well that would be received.

Any suggestions from you guys?

June 1 question - When the going gets tough writing the story, how do you keep yourself writing to the end? 

I'm a slow writer and really like to think about a story for a long while before beginning to write, so by the time I'm ready to type, I'm already so invested in the story, I'll keep writing until I reach "The End." Period. I may hit some rough patches, but I will doggedly keep plugging away until it's done.

P.S. A few of you expressed disappointment last month when I didn't reveal the cover for my debut urban fantasy, so here it is. If I do manage to put together an email list before the book is published, I may still do a cover reveal for my subscribers, so if I do, pretend you haven't seen this yet. :)

Take care everyone, and stay safe!