Coming to an inbox near you

I’ve talked before about doing a newsletter. Oddly enough, regular readers of my blog didn’t see a lot of use for it, most likely because they already know what I’m up to most of the time. I’m starting a newsletter anyway, to connect with people who read my stories elsewhere (or maybe who even buy my books) and want to know when I have something new coming out, as well as others who don’t find that blog reading is a good way to stay in touch.

The newsletter will launch in July and will come out twice a month. The first issue each month will include an episode of a steampunk serial, while the second will focus more on my mysteries, with character blurbs or perhaps recipes. All issues will talk about what I’m up to, what I’ve read recently that I’d like to recommend, and perhaps even posts I’ve had on the blog that might be worth checking out, for those who don’t already read it. Look for information on signing up soon.

Meanwhile, here’s the introduction to the steampunk serial, to whet your appetite:

We pelted across the grass, away from the village. Everything had been going so well, and then Felix had to go and mess it up, as usual. I was so busy running that it took me a moment to realize we were running toward the setting sun.

I tried to grab Felix’s sleeve to get his attention, but he nimbly dodged me, presumably thinking me one of the villagers. “We’re going the wrong way!”
He ignored me. What else was new? And I followed him, not having anything better to do. I didn’t like my chances with the villagers, so I had to trust him. Again, nothing new. I just hoped this escapade worked out better than his underwater-protection instant pontoons, which had failed while we were in the middle of a school of sharks. Not that sharks school, as he informed me at the time and on numerous occasions since.

The dry grass under our feet made running easy for both us and the villagers behind us, and they were used to the terrain. A spear whistled past me, close enough to make me redouble my speed.

“Relax, Owen,” Felix said. “They’re just getting the distance. They don’t want to hurt the pup. Anyway, we’ll be away before they get it right.”
The less I said to him about the pup, the better. “Away where?”

“Over the cliff, of course,” he shouted with a wild grin, as though the sharp rocks below held no fears for him. Perhaps they didn’t; Felix is more than a little unbalanced, I’m afraid.

That’s not what you want to hear, though. Like so many, you’ve probably bought into the myth and hype of Felix Wright, adventurer extraordinaire. Fair enough. There’s truth behind the legend, and he is undoubtedly the smartest person I know, except possibly for his twin — but we’ll get to that.

I’ll make it easy on you, go back and start over, tell you how we wound up on that cliff, running away from the villagers all because Felix had a hankering for a new pet. Soon you’ll know all you ever wanted to about the wild inventor of the west.

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  1. I used to send out a travel newsletter to keep friends and family updated during my first few years living in Viet Nam. I noticed that when I kept them short, people seemed to read them and I got lots of feedback. When I started to make them longer, I think people decided they’d read later and then forget, or just skim through them. I stopped sending them out after a while, but I’m glad I did it, because I ended up with a whole lot of writing that I was able to turn into essays. Recipes is a good idea…people always like to read about food.

    Enjoyed your steampunk intro…looking forward to the next installment. Will you be posting them here on your blog as well as in the newsletters?

    • Thank you!

      I’ll probably have to experiment with length a bit, for sure. I looked for analytics for open rates based on length but couldn’t find any. I found articles that suggested blog posts around 1,600 words are most likely to be read completely, while longer posts are more likely to be shared on social media. I doubt that’ll directly transfer to e-mail newsletters, though.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the intro. The current plan is to have the steampunk be a newsletter exclusive, as an incentive for people to subscribe and read. I may revisit that idea in a few months, however.

  2. I enjoyed your steampunk intro too, and will sign up to continue reading it in your newsletter. 🙂

    Recently, I polled my followers on Tumblr to ask if they’d be interested in a newsletter if I started one. They wouldn’t. YA readers don’t do newsletters.

    • Thanks, David!

      I imagine that adult readers of YA might do newsletters, but there’s no need for you to overtax yourself by adding more work to your schedule. You’ve got enough to deal with.

  3. Behind as usual, but neat intro. I don’t like serials as a matter of course, but I’ll try yours out because it feels more episodic (still waiting for Sabra to be released as a book :)).

    • 🙂 Thanks.

      This is definitely going to be more of a traditional serial than Sabra is. (And I’ll be releasing Sabra as a book no sooner than halfway through, and possibly not until it’s complete, depending on whether people start giving me feedback on where they think the story ought to go.)

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