Category Archives: Articles

Plot Bunnies!

Every writer needs a little muse whispering in their ear from time to time.  I’ve hand-made some Plot Bunnies to help my fellow authors through the tough times of writer’s block and editing blues.

The bunnies are 8.5 inches tall and made of felt (so be gentle with your muse bunny). Each one comes with an index card with 3 writing prompts and every stitch is infused with oodles of love and light <3

If this is something you’d like for yourself or favourite author friend, let me know via email (rosa at iamrosa dot com). I have several bunnies eagerly waiting to a-muse authors 😀

What to Include in Your Author Newsletter

What are you putting in your newsletter to prompt clicks to your site? If you’re only including things that fans have already been exposed to via your social media accounts, you’re missing out on the opportunity to generate traffic to your site.

Your newsletter can’t be just about selling your book(s). You have to give readers a reason to engage. In preparation for my own newsletter launch, I took notes on the ways other authors have mentioned to get readers clicking though to their site instead of just scanning the newsletters. Maybe there’s something on this list that will help generate more traffic for you …

Ways to Engage

  • Polls (re: titles, character names, locations, future projects, etc.)
  • A peek at your world-building
  • Character interviews
  • Cut scenes from your book
  • Sample chapters of your book
  • Samples chapters of another author’s book
  • Asking the readers personal questions
  • Asking them to send photos related to topic of newsletter
  • Giveaways (gift cards, freebies)
  • Swag give-aways (post cards, book marks, magnets, key chains)
  • Flash stories/vignettes on your site
  • Discounts on another author’s book
  • A chance to win a beta read or critique of their story
  • Adding only the beginning of an article with a “Read More” link to your site
  • Book related art (ie. wall paper) and coloring pages they can download
  • A chance to win video chat with you
  • Video updates / behind the scenes
  • You reading the first chapter of your book
  • Photos of an event or activity (besides what you’ve posted on social media

Remember: The point is to get readers to open your email and click through to your site. Mention in your newsletter that you are doing/offering something and include a link to your site they can follow to participate.

What do you do with your newsletter to generate reader activity? Let me know in the comments!!

Don’t Skimp on the Meat

Father’s Day is coming up and I want to share something important I learned from my dad:

Don’t skimp on the meat.

I remember the conversation between my parents when my dad said those words. I thought it was a silly argument at the time. My dad was a miner. He worked long, hard hours in a dangerous situation to keep a roof over our head, food on our table, and the bills paid. One of the few things he asked for in return was that my mother not skimp on the meat in his sandwiches. I remember him saying:

“I don’t want to be filled up with bread. I want a lunch I can enjoy and will keep me going until the end of my shift.”

That’s how my dad lives his life. He busts his butt to get a job done. Any job. Every job. He doesn’t slack. He doesn’t skimp on what he gives others. In return he wants lunch meat piled high on his sandwich. He wants dinner to include a decent-size hunk of meat.

As an adult, I look back and see that he takes that philosophy into other aspects of his life as well. He doesn’t skimp on meat of his life, so to speak. He enjoys his recreational time. He makes sure there’s something to enjoy on his vacation, during his family time, and in his home. He doesn’t skimp, but he’s smart about it. He doesn’t go overboard or put himself in debt to enjoy life. He simply refuses to skimp. Those are things  I equate to being wealthy – in all aspects of life.

I picked up that habit to a certain degree. I like my sandwiches with a lot of meat and when I make sandwiches for other people I don’t skimp on the meat. But unlike my dad, I have not made that philosophy a concrete part of the other aspects of my life. Particularly now that I have children. I skimp on my “Me Time”. I skimp on time with the kids.

I’m a single parent trying to earn an income as a writer so I can stay home to raise them. That’s a big responsibility I take seriously and I bust my butt every day working towards that goal. It’s easy to skimp on the meat in this situation. And that’s not fair to myself or my children.

Are there areas of your life where you been skimping on the meat? They are all important, otherwise what’s the point of working so dang hard? How do we get back on track so that we can enjoy those aspects?

… First, I’m going to make a sandwich. A big one with lots of meat. Then, I’m going to plop down on the sofa and spend time with my kids. I’ll tackle the rest one thing a time <3

Pushing Boundaries With Fantasy

Fantasy writers often ask:

“How far outside the box can I go?”

No box in the ‘Verse can contain fantasy. I love that fantasy can’t be contained! It has so many wonderful and exciting sub-genres.

BUT – you must have rules to define the reality you are creating and you must stick to them. If you break any of the laws of reality you established, you need to have a darn good explanation. Then, you need to explain it to the reader in a way that makes them accept it as logic. Otherwise, you create a disbelief with the readers. This means they won’t trust you or your story any more.

Questions? Comments? Let me know below!

Beta Reader Checklist for Useful Feedback

A while back, I wrote about How I Found My Beta Team for Eyes of the Hunter and promised to share the guidelines I provide my beta readers with to help them give me useful feedback. This is that post 🙂

When looking for beta readers, I target honest and dependable people who enjoy the manuscript’s genre. I also make sure they are familiar with both good writing techniques and important elements to the craft.

To make sure everyone is on the same page, I need to know exactly what I want from my beta readers. Then, I make sure that they know by providing them with a clear list.

 

 

Below is the basic letter I give my beta readers, which I tailor per project and person. You can also download the template for the Beta Reader Checklist [pdf] for future reference.


Dear Beta Reader;

Thank you for being part of my Beta Team! I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to help me make improvements to [Book Title]. Please, don’t worry about grammar, spelling, and punctuation issues; an editor is helping with those. The feedback I’m concerned about centers on continuity, character development, dialogue, flow, and completeness:

  • Is the story interesting?
  • Does it make sense?
  • Any plot holes?
  • Does the story flow?
  • Is the continuity okay?
  • Did I miss any important information or opportunities?
  • Do you get a solid feel for the setting and people?
  • Do the characters unfold well?
  • Do any of the characters need more development?
  • Is the pacing okay? Does it lag anywhere?
  • Is anything clunky or awkward?
  • Are there problem areas that need more attention?
  • What worked for you? What didn’t work for you?
  • … And, of course, anything else you feel I should know.

 

Specific concerns I have for this book are:

  • [Specific feedback needed]

 

Please, be as specific as possible with your answers. Your honest comments will go a long way in helping this story be a success. I need your notes by [date]. I look forward to reading them and thank you, again.

Sincerely,
Rosa

Download the Beta Reader Checklist [pdf]


Need more information about what a beta reader does? Check out Duties of a Beta Reader, which includes a handy pdf to download.