Beta Issue 15

October 26, 2015

Review of Paladin by Sally Slater

by Katie Rose Guest Pryal       Selected as a Top Pick!       selected

Paladin is an outstanding fantasy novel of the swords/high fantasy sub-genre, fit for YA or adult audiences. The book can stand alone, but it also sets up a world for more adventures, and I hope the author provides them. This is a fantastic book that shows what great promise there is in independent publishing. You can’t go wrong with Paladin.


The No-Fail Author Newsletter Formula

by Katie Rose Guest Pryal      

So you’ve decided you want to send a newsletter to help you connect with your readers. You’ve created a Mailchimp (or other) account. You taught yourself the software. You’re totally ready to do this. There’s just one problem. What on Betelgeuse do you write in your newsletter? I mean, really. Authors are supposed to post to Facebook, Tweet, keep a blog, write guest posts (ahem), and now send out newsletters, too!? When are we supposed to write our actual books? I’m about to give you a no-fail newsletter formula that will make sending out your author newsletters as painless as it can possibly be. Step 0. Become super familiar with your newsletter software. This is important. You don’t want your software to stand in the way of your newsletter success. I’m going to write these instructions based on the presumption that you have already read the Mailchimp tutorials and watched the YouTube video guides. (Mailchimp is what I happen to use. There are other newsletter platforms out there that are also good.) OK. No that you are a pro (okay, semipro) with your newsletter software, let’s talk about what you want to put into your newsletter. Step 1. Create a title and a theme. A newsletter is much easier to write if you have a starting point. It is also much more interesting for people to read—that is, people are much more likely to open the newsletter—if they know what they are getting. By giving your newsletter a title and a theme, then you are doing yourself a favor, because you have a starting place when it comes time to write your newsletters, and you are doing your readers a favor, because they know what to expect. The title of my newsletter is “Writing Isn’t Sexy,” and the theme is how, although it may seem like the writing life is glamorous, it really is so, so not. I created header art for my newsletter, and it’s the same every month. Again, the consistency is for my readers, so they know what they are getting. Step 2. Break your newsletter into sections, and then use those sections every time. Just like having a theme, having consistent, predictable sections in your newsletter helps your readers know what to expect in your newsletter. Here’s an example of what might be a newsletter’s sections: (1) Main story of the month.* This is a large box. (2) Books update. This is a medium box. (3) Recommended Reads and Book Deals. This is a medium box. (4) Short Bio (of you). This is a small box. (5) Social Media Links (yours). This is a small box. What’s with the “boxes”? Mailchimp lets you design a newsletter by using templates, and within those templates you use drag-and-drop elements such as text boxes to create your newsletter design. Each one of those sections up there is a drag-and-drop element in Mailchimp. I made recommendations for how big each of the sections should be in the list above. Once you’ve …




Pitch Perfect Pick Winner

Over the last month, our top submissions were put to a vote. This one came out on top.


Codename Cupcake

Votes: 64

Molly Peterson is a frazzled mother of two who is recruited by a super spy agency to infiltrate the PTA at her son’s elementary school. This book is a send up of motherhood, the PTA, comic books and spy novels. Its underlying message: life is better when you have superpowers.



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