I signed up for a service called Author Platform Rocket after hearing about it from Johnny Andrews on an episode of the Rocking Self Publishing Podcast and then attending a webinar. They run Facebook ads for authors to help them build their mailing lists. Mailing lists are supposed to be the most effective tool for selling books. They say I can expect between 120 and 150 sign ups a month, with a 35-80% open rate on my emails. It costs $97 a month, less than it would probably cost me to run the ads myself. They get a discount through group buy. It all sounds really good, which is why I'm giving it a try. The ads will start on August 31st. I'll let you know how it goes.
This week I was invited to attend a new local critique group. I know. I complained about how difficult it is to find good writers groups in small towns, and now I'm practically swimming in writers groups. The group is starting with just three people, including me, and our first meeting was fantastic. First of all, the food was great! My interest has really been piqued in exotic cheeses. Second, both of the other women in the group seemed very committed to their writing. E___ is working on a fantasy romance and shared an intriguing first chapter. C___ shared some amazing poetry all about the New Mexico wilderness. Incredibly, she lives in a fire watch tower and said we could have one of our future meetings there. Yay! Their feedback on the first couple chapters of A Singular Second was concise, concrete, and helpful.
The meandering way I came to be invited to this group reinforced a lesson I've learned recently about the importance of reaching out and connecting with a variety of people. A year or more ago I decided I wanted to start a produce coop here, but I didn't want to do it alone, so I sent a message on a local women's mailing list asking if anyone would like to help me. Lots of people responded saying they were interested in participating in the coop but no one volunteered to help get it started. Then months later, L___ emailed asking if I was still wanting to do it, and she said she'd help. During several long drives to train at the nearest site, we talked and she told me about her friend E___ who was an author like me. I asked L___ to get us together but that never seemed to work out, so then I sent E___ a Facebook friend request with a message offering to read some of her stuff for her if she needed it since there weren't any good critique groups in town. She accepted the friend request, but that's all I heard from her until yet more months later she invited me to this group, which was a wonderful experience! The only downside is that I didn't know either of these women before Friday, and unlike the Definitely Not Werewolves Club, this group is unnamed so the members could be werewolves, vampires, you name it. I haven't seen any troubling signs so far, but I'll keep a careful watch at the meetings and I promise to be careful. ;-)
What unexpected connections and opportunities have you encountered? I'd love to hear about them. Please comment below.