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Best of the Blogs 22 July 2017

Best of the Blogs: 22 July 2017

Writing

#AuthorToolBoxBlogHop

This week was the monthly Author ToolBox Blog Hop hosted by Raimey Gallant. Over twenty writers shared their tips on writing, editing, publishing, and marketing. Erika Timar has helpfully compiled a listing of all the posts—and there are some good ones. I’ve included a couple of my favourites in this post.

LM Durand presents 35 ideas for marketing your book on Instagram.
Kristina Stanley shows how to open a scene.
ML Keller shows us when and how to transform telling into showing.

Song Lyrics

I’ve seen a lot of blog posts about whether authors can use song lyrics in their books (short answer: only if the song’s writer has been dead for over seventy years).

In Should I Use Song Lyrics in My Writing?, published at The Steve Laube Agency blog, Christian literary agent Tamela Hancock Murray suggests we’re asking the wrong question. We shouldn’t be asking “can we?”. Instead, ask “should we?”

Marketing

Marketing Must-Haves

Chris Syme shares a short post introducing her three marketing must-haves for newbie authors. At the risk of stealing her thunder, I’ll tell you what they are:

1. An author website with a URL that matches their author name (e.g. www.iolagoulton.com).
2. An email list.
3. A Facebook business page. No, your personal profile isn’t good enough (click here to find out the difference).

Chris goes into more detail about each of these in her marketing books, all of which I recommend:

SMART Social Media for Authors

Sell More Books with Less Social Media 

Sell More Books with Less Marketing

 

Marketing Plan

Everyone tells us we need a marketing plan. There are even some internet templates to help you write one. Unfortunately, most are so long it looks like writing the book would be quicker.

In this short post, Joel Friedlander takes us through the five essential questions that need to be answered in a book marketing plan (actually, substitute “customers” for “readers”, and it will probably work in other industries).

Missing Lettr

Over the last two weeks, I’ve written posts explaining how I use the paid versions of Buffer and Social Jukebox to manage my social media sharing. There are other tools, such as Hootsuite and CoPromote.

Missing Lettr is another tool. It allows users to promote blog content over the next year. The free version allows users to share one campaign (i.e. blog post) a week, from one website to one social media profile.

Smart Bitches Trashy Books are sharing a limited-time promotion on Missing Lettr’s paid plans—6 months for the price of 1. The cheapest paid plan (Personal) is usually $15/month, and allows users to schedule four campaigns a week from up to two websites, to four social media profiles.

It’s a good deal, and I might be tempted if I wasn’t already using the Power Scheduler and Buffer’s Awesome plan ($10/month) to achieve the same result. Let me know if you sign up for Missing Lettr—I’d love to know how you find it.

That’s all for this week! Which post did you think was the most interesting?

Best of the Blogs 22 July 2017

Best of the Blogs: 1 July 2017

Last week was all writing craft, and this week is marketing (well, almost all marketing)!

Marketing

Branding

First, two linked posts from Kristine Rusch on branding and discoverability. There are a lot of things that make sense in here (including a brief explanation of why non-fantasy readers like myself still love the Harry Potter series).

She quotes Lee Child on his Jack Reacher series (which I’ve never read, but apparently a stunning 70% of Child fans will buy his next book, because they know what they’re going to get:

There are two components of loyalty: one is the author and the second is the subject. If you like the author but you’re uncertain of the content of the next book, that’s an obstacle. It runs counter to the literary view of writing that values originality and growth. Jack Reacher is the same person in every book.

(However, she also points out that some readers will abandon the series for the same reason: that Jack Reacher is the same person in every book. The lack of character growth gets stale.)

She also quotes a Codex Group survey, which states:

consumers are willing to pay a 66% premium for a book by a favorite author over an unknown author.

This is why new authors often discount their first book (or make it permanently free): to attract the new reader in the hope their book turns that reader into a paying customer. It’s not platform: it’s brand.

 

Brand vs. Writing to Market

Author Rosalind James expands on this idea, saying that if we brand ourselves as authors and write to that brand, we won’t need to get stuck in the “churn” of writing to market.

Facebook

First, do you have a separate Facebook author page? Social Media Examiner tells why you should.

BookWorks have a tutorial especially for authors.

If that’s not enough detail for you, BookBaby blog has a series. It’s older, but the steps haven’t changed.

Facebook Header Videos

What has changed recently is that you can now use video in Facebook headers. In An Exciting Opportunity for Your Facebook Author Page, non-techy author Jebraun Clifford shares the 8 steps she took to create her own video header.

She also got a shout-out from Chris and Becca Syme at the Smarty Pants Book Marketing podcast (listen to the whole thing for an excellent discussion on recent changes at Facebook, or listen from 20 minutes to hear them discuss video headers).

Writing

Yes, I know I said this week was all marketing. But I couldn’t resist including this excellent post from the Reedsy blog. Learn What Irony (Really) Is and How To Use It discusses three types of irony and gives examples of how they have been used in writing, cinema, television, and on stage.

 

What’s the most interesting post you’ve seen online this week?

 

Best of the Blogs 22 July 2017

Best of the Blogs: 24 June 2017

Best of the Blogs: the best posts I’ve read this week on writing, editing, publishing, and marketing.

Although mostly on writing, thanks to the #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop hosted by Raimey Gallant. (Click here to read my contribution to the blog hop).

Writing

Passive Voice

What’s The Deal With Passive Voice, from ML Keller, is one of the best posts I’ve ever read on passive voice—what it is, when it’s bad, and when it’s not so bad (hint: it’s not removing every was or to be from your manuscript).

Point of View

Point of view is a huge issue for writing. With beginners, it’s understanding that third person is not omniscient, or that headhopping an issue. (Adding a *** every three lines doesn’t make it a new scene with a new POV character.)

In Deep Point of View, K Kazul Wolf shows how to write deep point of view. As she points out, it’s nebulous and hard—it’s moving beyond ‘rules’. You can make a ‘rule’ not to use filler words. But it takes skill and hard work to move from “they fought” to showing the reader the fight.

Micro-Plotting

Micro-plotting is David Farland’s term for ensuring you’ve got all those nitty-gritty details in your story that ensure your readers are engaged with your character, and that your plot makes sense. Confused? Read the post.

Writing Christian Fiction

Blog posts from Mike Duran at deCOMPOSE always get me thinking. In The Importance of Implicit (v. Explicit) Christian Content in Fiction, he explores the trend for Christian authors to write for the general market. Duran introduces Holly Ordway’s idea of a “two-step conversion”: moving first from atheism to belief in God, then to embracing Christianity.

He points out that many Christian novels focus on this second step (or feature characters who are already Christians), and don’t address the necessary first step. Duran says:

While a work of fiction may not explicitly articulate the Gospel, it can still contain implicit elements which engage a person’s imagination and move them forward in their spiritual pilgrimage.

Not Writing Preachy Characters

It’s not just Christians who overdo the preaching in their writing. In this post (also from the #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop), Raimey Gallant shares Five Ways to Temper the Preachy in Your Plot. She’s not talking about religious preaching, but about the issues preaching—the environment, assisted suicide, political views …

I can think of a general market romance author I stopped reading after her novels detoured from straight romantic suspense with a touch of comedy to romantic suspense with a heavy dose of gay rights. I could have lived with a gay couple (hey, I can skip pages I don’t want to read). What I couldn’t live with was the preachy telling. Remember the show, don’t tell rule? Well, this author switched to tell, don’t show, and it did her message no favours.

I’ve recently read a Christian romantic suspense novel where the heroine was All About The Issue in a way which made Erin Brockovich seem like a disinterested lightweight. I couldn’t like the character even though I agreed with her stance, and that made it impossible for me to enjoy the novel.

Marketing

Craft Your Self-Publishing Plan for Success: Tips From an Indie Author is an outstanding case study from author Laini Giles, visiting Your Writer Platform. Giles takes readers through her publishing objectives, and how she worked to achieve them. What I thought was especially clever was how she identified her target audience, then marketed to them—including attending events her target reader would also attend.

One learning point: for all her success, she wishes she’d started building her email list earlier.

Productivity

Book coach Nina Amir is also a Certified High Performance Coach. This week, she gives solid tips to reaching your writing goals (and not making excuses).

What blog posts have you read this week that are worth remembering?

Best of the Blogs 22 July 2017

Best of the Blogs: 17 June 2017

Best of the Blogs

The best posts I’ve read this week on writing, editing, publishing, and marketing.

The focus this week is on writing craft. That’s not deliberate—it just happened that way. Some weeks it’s a mix, some weeks it isn’t.

Story Genius

First up, Myra Johnson visits Seekerville to discuss Story Genius by Lisa Cron. It’s a brilliant book, and I highly recommend it. Myra talks about the “third rail,” the emotional power that keeps our story moving forward.

Using the MBTI for Characterisation

I don’t know about you, but I find getting to know “my” characters (the characters I’m writing) one of the most difficult aspects of writing a first draft. And characterisation is also what makes or breaks a book for me—that’s how important characterisation is.

In fact, Lisa Cron says:

Ultimately, all stories are character driven—yes, all stories.

That’s because great stories aren’t about what happens as much as they are about how the characters react to and make sense of what happened.

In 5 Ways to Use Myers-Briggs for Characters, KM Weiland recants on her previous aversion to using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to profile her characters, and gives five great tips. And do read the comments. One commenter has written a virtual essay, which is informative (and technical).

Inspirational Romance

Jamie Lynn Booth visits Kristen Lamb’s website to discuss Why the World Needs More Inspirational Romance.

This is another post where the comments are as enlightening as the post. Many of the commenters describe themselves as Christians, but say they aren’t writing with the major CBA publishers would recognise as Christian fiction. As one commenter says:

I firmly believe that God has called us to be truth-tellers in a broken world.

I take the point. A lot of Christian fiction is telling the Truth (God’s Truth), sure. But it’s failing to tell it in an authentic way that will resonate with non-Christians. While I love Christian fiction that’s written for Christians by Christians, there is also a need for fiction written by Christians for the general market, but that will still lead people to God.

Part of this is about having flawed characters non-Christian readers will recognise.

Authentic characters.

And that’s what Lanette Kauten is talking about in Writing Authentic Characters (also at Kristen Lamb’s website). Lanette is a Christian, but isn’t writing “Christian fiction”. She says:

My characters are a part of the world they live in and act accordingly.

And her world is messy. Her heroine is described as a confused atheist in a lesbian relationship escaping from her upbringing in a weird Charismatic church. That’s part of the story, but it’s not the whole story. Her message is that our writing must be authentic.

Now for something lighter …

I enjoy humour. Who doesn’t? But I often come across novels where the humour either falls flat, or crosses the line from humour into a cringefest of slapstick.

In this excellent post at the BookBaby blog, Scott McCormick explains why: because Your Story Needs a Good Straight Man. If I think about it, a lot of the humour that didn’t work for me as a reader was because both characters were trying to be funny. And that doesn’t work. As Scott explains, good humour needs a straight man.

The best humour isn’t when one character says something funny and the other character laughs. It’s when one character says something funny, and the other character ignores the humour and carries on with the conversation. Terry Pratchett was a master at this.

McCormick also says:

Interestingly, a straight man doesn’t have to be limited to comedies. A good straight man can make your heroes more heroic, and your tragic figures more tragic.

Worth thinking about …

Do you use humour in your writing? (Or humor?)

I’m currently running a giveaway of Then There Was You, the new novel from RITA finalist (and Christian Editing Services client) Kara Isaac. Click here to enter.

Best of the Blogs 22 July 2017

Best of the Blogs: 10 June 2017

Six of the best blog posts this week in writing, editing, publishing, and marketing.

Writing

Skills Writers Need

Frances Caballo from Social Media Just for Writers visits The Book Designer to share 5 Skills Every Writer Should Develop. I don’t think each point should get equal weighting: learning writing craft is far and away the most important skill. And I think I’d substitute building a website and email list for blogging (I agree non-fiction authors need to blog. I’m not convinced that fiction authors must blog. But they do need an email list).

What do you think?

Writing Effective Backstory

An excellent post with practical tips on how to drop in your backstory, from Kathryn Craft via Writer Unboxed. I especially like her idea about using continuity words—a new term to me, but one I’m going to remember (and apply).

The (Social) Rules

Literary agent Donald Maass visits Writer Unboxed to ask What Are the Rules? When I read the headline, I thought he was going to be talking about writing rules. Because, you know, he writes books like Writing the Breakout Novel.

But no. He’s talking about the unwritten social rules we all live by, and asking which of those we bring into the lives of our fictional characters. Take food as an example. For those stuck in poverty, the main concern is quantity—is there enough? For the middle classes, the concern is quality—did you like it? But for the wealthiest among us, the concern is presentation. Hmm …

Characters

Author Sonja Yoerg visits Writers Digest to share her tips on writing mentally ill characters. As she points out, up to one in five people have some form of mental illness. As authors, we have a responsibility for getting the details right and building a rounded character who suffers from a mental illness:

Mental illness can be debilitating and all-consuming, but it does not define a person. That job still rests with the writer.

Publishing

What Authors Earn

Written Word Media share the results of their latest survey into author earnings. The result which surprised me was how little people claim to spend on editing (often less than they spend on cover design). I get that cover design is important to attract a potential reader, but it takes a lot longer to edit a novel than it does to design a cover, and it’s the quality of the writing and editing that turns a casual buyer into a reader and fan.

Amazon Book Sales

Last week I commented on the kerfuffle around Amazon’s changes to the buy button. Kara Isaac visited Australasian Christian Writers this week to share her view in Buy New, Get Secondhand? If you’re buying a paper book from Amazon, make sure the book ships from and is sold by Amazon. If you buy from a reseller, it’s likely that the book is secondhand. This means the author doesn’t receive a royalty on the sale.

Or buy the ebook—the author probably earns a higher royalty on the ebook sale. Or ask your library to order a copy, or borrow the ebook from your library if you have that option. Remember, authors are paid for library copies and some are even paid more if the book is borrowed more.

Want more current news on writing, editing, publishing, and marketing? Follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

Best of the Blogs 22 July 2017

Best of the Blogs: 3 June 2017

The best blog posts I’ve read in the last week (or two. Yes, I missed last week’s post. Apologies!)

Writing

Writing Scenes

Beth K Vogt visits Novel Rocket to share her 5-5-1 method of planning a scene. She makes it sound easy … and effective.

Characterisation

In Shame, Shame, We Know Your Name—Or Do We? Kristen Lamb makes the point that shame is an important element of good fiction, that our characters don’t just need a secret. They need a secret that shames them.

I hadn’t thought of that … and I almost dismissed it. Except that the same day, Christianity Today published a related article: Shame, Guilt, and Fear: What 1,000 Americans Avoid Most. Hmm …

Publishing

Carla King at Bookworks has another article on the perils of vanity publishing. She specifically addresses how to re-publish your books (aka self-publish).

Marketing

Branding

Kristine Kathryn Rusch has started a series on branding. I value her opinion on all things related to writing, publishing, and marketing, so this is definitely a series I’ll be following. The first posts are:

In the latest post, Brand Identity, she talks about branding the book, branding the series, and branding yourself as a writer. My view is that the last is the most important—especially for pre-published authors.

Branding is obviously a current theme, because romance author Barbara O’Neal visited Writers Digest to share her take on developing an authentic brand: Your Writing Platform: Letting Readers Know the (Sort of) Real You 

Social Media Marketing

Neil Patel from Quicksprout shares his daily online marketing routine. Yes, you have to sort out brand first, and you need to have your website and social media set up properly. If you don’t, click here to sign up to be notified when my Kick Start Your Author Platform email course starts.

Do you have a daily social media routine?

Inspiration

Melanie Dickerson visited Seekerville to share her six tips to Take Your Career from Whine to Shine. It’s an inspiring post, and requires us to take action. Check it out!

 

 

That’s all for Best of the Blogs this week. What blog posts have you read that inspired you?

Best of the Blogs 22 July 2017

Best of the Blogs: 20 May 2017

The Best of the Blogs for the week ending 20 May 2017 …

Publishing News

There were two major stories in the publishing world this week.

Harlequin Closes Five Lines

Harlequin confirmed they are closing five fiction lines to new acquisitions. One of these is the Love Inspired Historical line, which publishes 4-6 Christian romance novels each month. Romance Writers of America report that the final Love Inspired Historical titles will be published in June 2018.

Love Inspired (contemporary romances) and Love Inspired Suspense (contemporary romantic suspense) do not appear to be affected.

Harlequin (knowns as Mills & Boon in the UK) have long been best known for their short category romances. But the increasing rise of self-publishing and cheap ebooks means many publishers are facing financial problems.

But knowing something is inevitable doesn’t change the reality for the stable of established Love Inspired Historical authors who are now without a publishing home. Some of these authors have been writing for Love Inspired for twenty years.

Amazon Changes Buy Buttons

Publishers Weekly report Amazon have changed the “buy” buttons for books. This means that when you buy a book from Amazon, you need to check who you are buying it from.

  • If you’re buying it new from the publisher, great. That means the author is getting a royalty from your purchase.
  • If you’re buying a new book from anyone other the original publisher, it’s likely the title is a review copy, remaindered, or perhaps even stolen. This means the author won’t receive a royalty from the sale.

Royalties have never been paid on used or second-hand books, so there’s no change there.

So be sure if you’re buying what the seller says is a new book that it actually is a new, unread book—not read carefully, not a remaindered copy (which might be marked by a black line across the pages), and not a review copy (also marked).

Writing

Writing Emotion

Screenwriter Art Holcomb visited the StoryFix blog to share What an Actor Wants You to Know About Your Novel. This is important, because:

Since the majority of movies are adaptations of novels and other materials these days, the problem lies as much with the sort of characters in novels today as they are in screenplays.

Writing Scenes

Randy Ingermanson is the author of several novels, as well as Writing Fiction for Dummies, and his website has lots of great advice for writers (including his famous snowflake method for plotting a novel, which I’ve talked about before).

This week, he’s answering a question from a reader: How do You Know When to Start and End a Scene?

Marketing

Penny Sanseveri at Author Marketing Experts posts that This One Thing Will Encourge More Book Sales. It’s a clickbait-y title, sure, but the advice is good. Her One Thing? Consistency. She says:

My homework for you is this: choose 3 things you can do better to promote your book over the next 30 days and hold yourself accountable to be consistent.

No, there are no easy answers.

What’s caught your eye in the blogs this week?

Best of the Blogs 22 July 2017

Best of the Blogs: 13 May 2017

Best of the Blogs: the best posts I’ve read this week on writing, publishing, and marketing. Lots of marketing!

Writing

Stephanie Dees visits Seekerville to talk about critique partners, and shares her tips for finding a great partner (or group).

Publishing

Tim Grahl has published a length post on the pros and cons of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing. It’s comprehensive, but there is one thing missing: vanity publishing aka co-operative publishing, partnership publishing, subsidy publishing and even traditional publishing.

I recently met an author who was talking about her published book. She said the publisher was a traditional publisher … but later said she’d paid the publisher $10,000. Sorry, but that’s not traditional publishing. It’s all the cons of traditional publishing with none of the pros. And all the cons of self-publishing with none of the pros.

Children’s Fiction

Publishers Weekly report growth in the religious children’s books market, including young adult novels (a genre Christian fiction has yet to crack).

Marketing

Amazon Also Boughts

Two linked posts from David Gaughran, author of Let’s Get Digital and Let’s Get Visible (if you’re self-published or planning to self-publish, you should read both—you can buy them from Amazon using the above links, and they’re currently showing as $2.49 each for me. There are also audio versions available, if you prefer to listen).

Please Don’t Buy My Book explains the mysteries of the Amazon Also Boughts, and why it might not be a good idea to ask your friends and family to buy your book.

The second post, Who’s Pointing at You?, goes into more detail about Also Boughts and introduces a clever tool called Yasiv (www.yasiv.com) which shows which books on Amazon are pointing towards your book.

His point is that having a famous book show up in your Also Boughts is nice, but doesn’t do anything for your sales. The important thing for sales of your book is for your book to show up in the Also Boughts of a book with high visibility.

Gaughran also promises a future post on finding your Ideal Reader and using that information to hack Amazon advertising. I’ll be watching out for it …

Amazon Keywords

An in-depth post from Penny Sansevieri at Author Marketing Experts on how to research the best keywords for your book … which might mean thinking outside the box (excuse the cliché).

Craft or Platform?

It’s one of the conundrums of writing. Which is more important—craft or platform? Dan Blank of WeGrowMedia attempts to answer the question: craft comes first.

I agree.

But nor can we ignore platform. If we want to publish (whether traditionally or self-published) and be read, we need to identify our target audience or ideal reader. Dan gives some useful questions to answer, saying if we can’t answer them, we have work to do:

1. “Someone who would love my book (or creative work) already loves theses three books: ____, ____, and ____.”
2. “My ideal reader loves this person: ______ and reads everything they write, would see them speak in a heartbeat, and really respects their opinion.”
3. “Where to find my ideal reader? This conference or event: ________, and this online blog/community: ___________.”
4. “What resonates with my ideal reader? What gets them to stop and take notice? This: ________.”
5. “What repels my reader? What gets them fired up? This: _________.”

Christian Fiction

The internet is full of posts announcing the end of bookstores or paperback books or ebooks or … the list goes on.

This post questions the doom-mongers: Christian Fiction: Heading Towards Extinction? Or Adapting to a New Market?

Even better, it suggests how readers can help ensure Christian fiction doesn’t become extinct.

 

What do you think? Is Christian fiction dying? Or is it reinventing itself to be more relevant to modern reader?

Best of the Blogs 22 July 2017

Best of the Blogs: 6 May 2017

Apologies for missing the last two Best of the Blogs posts. I had a long wifi-free weekend away with my husband, then I was at the New Zealand Christian Writers Retreat—I had a great time!

Congratulations!

INSPY Award Shortlist Announced

Congratulations to the finalists in the INSPY Awards—especially Kara Isaac, who made the shortlist in two categories with different books (Close to You in First Novel, and Can’t Help Falling in Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense). Now it’s up to the reader judges to decide! Kara’s next book, Then There Was You, is due out in June. If you like contemporary romance, you’ll love it.

ACFW Genesis Award Semi-finalists Announced

And American Christian Fiction Writers announced the Genesis Award semi-finalists—these are the names you’ll be seeing in Christian fiction in years to come.

Publishing

Updates on Tate Publishing

The Oklahoma Attorney General has filed charges against father and son Richard and Ryan Tate of Tate Publishing. This follows over 700 complaints from as far away as Europe and South Africa. The pair have been charged with extortion, embezzlement, racketeering, and extortion by threat. Further charges may follow as the investigation continues.

I’ve long been against vanity presses such as Tate, who claimed to be a traditional royalty paying publisher. Traditional royalty paying publishers do not require payments, do not offer a contract until they’ve seen a manuscript, and only publish the best manuscripts. In my experience, Tate scores 0/3 on this simple test.

If you published books or music through Tate, you can contact the Consumer Protection Unit at the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office to submit a complaint.

Blogging

Nick Thacker at WriteHacked shares nine tips for Writing a First Blog Post Perfectly. Actually, the tips work for any blog post—I guess the takeaway is to start as you mean to go on.

Shane Arthur at Smart Blogger teaches us How to Write Spellbinding Introductions. It’s a long post, but there are lots of nuggets to mine!

Inspiration

Karen Swallow Prior visits The Gospel Coalition to remind us that Only One Platform Will Last.

I don’t agree with everything in this blog post. Some of it I don’t even understand (I’ve never voluntarily listened to The Rolling Stones, and if I’ve ever heard “Mother’s Little Helper”, I don’t remember it and I have no idea what it’s referring to).

But there are some great quotes. Especially the last line. Check it out.

 

Best of the Blogs 22 July 2017

Best of the Blogs: 15 April 2017

 

Best of the blogs: the best posts I’ve read this week on writing, editing, publishing, and marketing your novel. Well, mostly writing and marketing, including a useful posts about Elegant Authors from Elegant Themes.

Writing

On Christian Fiction …

TJ Mackay of InD’Tale Magazine visits Seekerville to share her views of the role of Christian fiction in a secular world.

Andrea Grigg visited Australasian Christian Writers to share a similar message. Andrea is Stepping Out and writing to encourage. And that might be in the Christian market, or the general market.

Point of View

 

Kristen Lamb continues her series on point of view with How to Immerse the Reader in Story.

And I continue my series on point of view with Using Point of View to Engage Readers. Great minds must think alike! Although Kristen has better graphics . . .

Marketing

Cover Design

Holly Brady shares seven tips to consider when briefing your cover designer. Yes, I agree with Holly when she says she never recommends authors design their own covers.

 

MailChimp Autoresponders

It is a truth universally acknowledged that authors need an email list, and that MailChimp is the market leader in the field. Okay, not quite.

I’ve seen several comments over the last week from people having trouble with MailChimp account. One problem is setting up autoresponder emails: those emails a new subscriber to your email list receives automatically. (If you’d like an example of an autoresponder sequence, sign up for my email list using the box on the right.)

Anyway, Elegant Themes have written an excellent post on how to set up an autoresponder sequence in MailChimp—complete with pictures. Note that autoresponders are a paid feature in MailChimp. You can select:

  • A monthly subscription where the price is based on the size of your list(s) and you’re allowed unlimited emails.
  • The pay-as-you-go model, where you buy email credits so effectively pay per email sent.

If budget is an issue, you could consider MailerLite. They offer free autoresponders if you have less than 1,000 subscribers.

 

If you prefer video instructions, then I recommend watching Day 3 of the free WP-BFF Five Day Website Challenge, and/or the paid WP-BFF MailChimp MasterClass (available through the BFF Academy, or separately).

Author Websites

Elegant Themes have introduced Elegant Authors, a Divi layout for authors. For those who don’t know, Divi is their popular drag-and-drop theme. They say the layout is free, but I suspect that means it’s free if you have Divi, which means if you have an Elegant Themes subscription.

I haven’t tried Divi or Elegant Authors—I currently use the free version of the Make theme on this site, and I’m happy with it. But I do use two Elegant Themes plugins on this website:

  • Bloom for capturing email optins.
  • Monarch for my social sharing icons.

What’s the best or most useful blog post you’ve read this week?