The Special Few Who Get All The Goodies And Freebies


Let’s see if I can ease you into this slowly, ’cause it took me a while to get to terms with whether I should, could or want to create a Newsletter. I mean, what’s in it for me except more work? And more importantly, what’s in it for you? Because without you, it’d be just a waste of pixels.

I got mighty busy learning how to format my manuscript for publication, investigating all the legal and managerial bits of self-publishing, and studying marketing. And with studying marketing I mean reading a dozen books on how to get on top of that beast, absorbing what felt like 100+ articles and blog posts on do’s and don’ts, and watching a good 60+ hours of fantastic podcasts.

The most useful books I’ve read: Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran, Self-Printed by Catherine Ryan Howard, The 7 Secrets of the Prolific by Hillary Rettig (It’s not related to marketing, but it sure gave me a huge dose of sanity to go with all that stuff), Your First 1000 Copies by Tim Grahl, and Reader Magnets by Nick Stephenson (which only apply if you’ve published several books, but there’s plenty to learn from Nick, trust me).

But if you’ve got no time to plow through marketing copy, then go watch these two podcasts. Soak them in. They’re well worth it: Orna Ross at Alliance of Independent Authors and the small and lovely Science Fiction & Fantasy Marketing Podcast. I’ve spent days assimilating these, and every second and byte was worth it.

So am I any more savvy than I was two months ago?

Let’s say I get it. But can I do it properly? Probably not. Not all of it, certainly. And you know what? I don’t mind. Proper online marketing (the kind that doesn’t make you look like a total douchebag) has a dizzying learning curve. But that’s okay.

Life is a learning curve.

Writing science-fiction was a long and steep learning curve for me, and I’m still on it.

Blogging is a learning curve.

Social media is a constant up-and-down, but generally upwards-ish curve.

Publishing? It’s Chomolungma.

Studying all about it like a freak running on caffeine and taurine is just packing my gear for the hike. I’m probably taking a lot of shit with me that I won’t need. I probably forgot something important, like that extra oxygen bottle. I don’t know. I’ve never climbed this mountain before. But I know I can’t go at it in my shorts and flip-flops.

And I can’t do it alone.

I’ve been lucky enough to know a good number of smart, wonderful fellow writers (wink-wink) who’ve offered me advice and support, inspired me, and stolen my cookies, and I can’t even imagine where I’d be today if it weren’t for them.

So while I was reading about marketing—the ethical and decent, long-term marketing all self-respecting authors should opt for, versus the scammy, spammy, reeking-of-anxiety-sweat bullhorning that no one should engage in (but unfortunately still too many do)—I frequently stumbled over the infamous Author Newsletter.

Some say it’s a way to keep your readers engaged over the long waiting times between releases. Others say it’s a way to draw people into your world and storytelling arena. Many say it works best if you act like a normal, decent human being and communicate. But then again, many say it’s a waste of time in today’s clickbait-dominated, short attention span world. Most say it should be all about the readers, and barely about you. That it should be focused on giving, not asking.

And that’s when it clicked with me.

I wouldn’t even know where to begin using an Author Newsletter for subtle, effective marketing. And for fuck’s sake marketing what? I’ve only just released one book. *cue the ridiculous cartoon laughter in the corner*

But I could totally use an Author Newsletter to engage with readers, and thank the people who support me, all by doing what I love most in this world — storytelling!

It would be an awesome way for me to share stories with you without making those stories public (because, you know, maybe I can sell them to some prestigious magazine later… *starry eyes*). It’d be a way to serve and entertain those who like my writing, but don’t want to read all the stuff I blog about. And it’s a good way to recommend other great stories or non-fiction books I stumble upon. And even organize special giveaways only for subscribers! Now wouldn’t that be cool?

Think of it like… a private Facebook group that Facebook doesn’t get to command, because fuck you Facebook, you just blacklisted my blog because I posted a link to “Alien Sex: The Stranger, The Better” and you thought that’s worse than the kiloton of racism, sexism and intolerance you allow to be posted each day.

/rant over

But seriously. An Author Newsletter would be an awesome way to keep in contact without being dependent on some noisy social media venue or another. And did I mention I will send out free stories & bonus materials & recommendations?

I’d be super stoked if you thought this sounds as great as I do.

And if you subscribe. :)

In fact, I’m going to give you the first two chapters of THE DEEP LINK right now, plus a flash fiction story featuring one of the main characters for free! Just for subscribing. :)

I’ll send out the newsletter every couple of months tops. Nothing spammy. No sales pitches. Just goodies, just for you.

Whattaya say?

I think it sounds great! COUNT ME IN!

Ta-daa! — THE DEEP LINK Cover Reveal + Pre-Order!

The Deep Link by Veronica Sicoe

I’ve been waiting for what feels like for-goddamn-ever to show you the cover of my debut novel THE DEEP LINK. The moment has finally arrived, and let me tell you how fucking relieved I am that it’s finally out in the open! The work on this cover has taken no less than 2 months. *nods emphatically* My cover […]

Continue reading...

Alien Sex: The Stranger, The Better

Alien coutring (courtesy of Species 3, or rather H.R.Giger)

How do aliens have sex? It all depends on their biology — and your imagination. Since we science-fiction writers are the makers and breakers of specualtive biology, we ought to get really creative with the way our non-human characters do the rumpy-pumpy. If we invest so much brain juice in coming up with fantastic worlds and alien technologies, why not […]

Continue reading...

Humanoid Aliens – How Much Likeness Is Plausible?

The Only Sci-Fi Explanation of Hominid Aliens that Makes Scientific Sense

The idea that intelligent aliens are somehow similar to us in basic physical make-up has occupied both scientists and fiction writers immensely. And it’s understandable why, after all, when we look at the sky, we’re looking for kindred spirits, potential allies, a new mirror to gaze into and understand our place in the Universe. But will what we […]

Continue reading...

How to format your novel for Smashwords in ONE DAY

Word Styles 1

I assume you’re a well-informed, well-prepared author-publisher and have your novel parts in order (with front matter, biography, etc.), so I will only discuss the technical part here: formatting only. For tips on how to structure your manuscript for an optimal ebook experience, please consult Smashword’s very own tips, or the thousands of online articles on self-publishing floating on the web. Now let’s get […]

Continue reading...

Writing Taglines and Loglines for THE DEEP LINK


I’m getting ready to self-publish my first sci-fi novel THE DEEP LINK soon, and I’m preparing all sorts of materials beforehand, like: bios of various lengths, a synopsis under 1K (in case I need to convince a very busy, professional book reviewer that my self-published novel is worth their time) several versions of back cover copy (or blurbs) as […]

Continue reading...

Writing a goddamn novel synopsis

synopsis writing

We all love it, don’t we? The novel synopsis. That torturous exercise where we squeeze our brains real tight and compress a whole damn novel into a single page. One page! Might as well tickle our manuscript with a chainsaw, then tape a bunch of the shreds together. “Here,” we’d say, winking involuntarily, still clutching the chainsaw. “Here’s my goddamn synopsis. […]

Continue reading...

The Difference Between Marketing And Spamming


In one word? Generosity. It’s that simple. Whenever you vet a marketing tool or strategy, ask yourself ‘What’s in it for the others?’ not just ‘How can I turn this into sales?’ What will this offer my readers? (It doesn’t have to be an actual thing like an object; a unique experience, inspiration, fresh perspective or an A-HA moment can be just as […]

Continue reading...

How To Clean Up Your Manuscript Formatting In MS Word


If you want to submit your manuscript to an editor, an agent, or a publisher, OR If you want to self-publish, and want to be ready for all the ebook & print formatting that come next, I’ve got some good news! You can stop googling and ripping your hair out now. Just follow these simple steps to clean up your manuscript. 1. The following things […]

Continue reading...

The 7 Stages Of Novel Revision


We writers have different ways to do things, but when it gets dark and dirty, we share the same insanity and go through the same highs and lows and inevitable meltdowns. It’s heartening to see we’re not alone. But also, what the fuck, people? Hasn’t anyone figured out a fool-proof, three step way to go from sketch […]

Continue reading...