MIND LIKE WATER MONTHLY
Dedicated to helping the ebook community.
Issue # 4: June 11, 2002
Publisher: Mind Like Water, Inc.
Welcome to another issue of the Mind Like
Water Monthly. In our feature article, I talk about the very thing we are doing right
here - sending a newsletter. This issue also profiles two more ebook authors. The theme is science fiction, which is one of my
favorite genres. As a bonus to you and a way to thank a past advertiser, we've included an additional interview, which I'm
sure you'll enjoy.
If you have been interviewed by Diane (our
editor) or me, please be patient. The interview will appear in an upcoming issue. For
the rest of you, we again invite you to contact us if you wish to be profiled in the Mind Like
Have a great summer!
Table of Contents
1. Feature Article: Newsletters
2. eBook Author Interviews:
a. Kate Saundby, Nublis
b. A. C.
Ellis, Soldier of 'Tween
3. Tip of the Month
4. Bonus eBook Author Interview: Connie Gotsch, A Mouth Full of Shell
Feature Article: Newsletters
One of the best ways to build a community and to interact with clients,
club members, associates or fellow hobbyists is to implement
an opt-in newsletter. Your newsletter should be focused on
a single theme. For example, the Mind Like Water Monthly is dedicated to helping the ebook
community. That is our theme. Authors,
your theme may be yourself. Another alternative may be a topic
that you've written about, such as investing, science fiction
or narcissism. The key is to not only write about what you
know and love, but what can help or entertain your niche audience.
First, start out simple and build a list of
opt-in readers by providing
a form on your web site (see our form at www.mindlikewater.com)
for visitors to enter their email addresses.
You can also manually build a list by simply contacting
friends, customers and other like-minded individuals by
Next, compile your list electronically using a
database such as Access
or a spreadsheet like Excel or Lotus 123.
Now you're ready to design the newsletter and write the copy.
Make sure you include a way for your
readers to unsubscribe to your
newsletter. You'll also need to decide if you're going to use
plain text, to guarantee that 100 percent of your readers can view
your newsletter, or if you're going to use HTML. If you choose
to send HTML only, you'll need to find out who can accept that
format and who can't.
You'll also need to decide how to distribute
your newsletter. There
are really three options: (1) do it yourself, (2) use a service
or (3) purchase email distribution software.
1. For the do-it-yourselfer using
Outlook, visit this link: http://www.mindlikewater.com/marketing/outlook_newsletters.html.
2. An alternative to this process is to use a
service to do much of
the hard work, so that you can concentrate on great content and
building trust. These services will even take care of the hard
part of managing subscribers and unsubscribers. For more information,
check out the following services:
3. Finally, one of the best ways to manage an
email newsletter is
to use email distribution software that takes care of the drudgery
of maintaining the list, handles bounced emails, interfaces
with a database, provides autoresponder technology and automates
many of the tasks. The added benefit is that you own the
software for one fee, not a monthly or per user fee.
We use and recommend Gammadyne Mailer (see our
For more information on creating newsletters,
visit the following link:
or contact me directly at email@example.com.
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eBook Author Interview: Kate Saundby, Nublis Chronicles
Michael: Wow! I did some searching around for Kate Saundby ebooks and I found quite a few: Dark
Angel, The Artemesian Mandate, The
Orion Property, Fortune's Hostage, A Circle of Arcs, The
Spirit Dogs of Sirius, Aase's Daughter, Wages of Deception
and the Nublis Chronicles. You appear to be quite a prolific
writer. Tell us about yourself and what inspires you to write.
Kate: An only child, I've been writing
every day since I first learned
to read -- at about five and a half -- and my vivid imagination
has been getting me into trouble ever since. Starting with
my evacuation from WWII London at the age of 18 months, I spent
my early life in boarding schools -- and between times with whoever
would have me -- while my bitterly divorced parents wrangled
over my custody. Not a promising beginning, I'll admit, but
great fodder for a writer.
Since I was moved around so much and was
invariably on the outside
looking in, I devoured books by the carload and became a somewhat
cynical but fascinated observer of the human condition. My
first fiction attempt was at the age of fifteen -- a dreadful, historical
romance. After I grew up and married and moved to the States,
I became a civic activist. My daily essays about this, that
and the other gave way to 25 years worth of political op-ed pieces
for various newspapers.
In the mid-1990s I got hurt on the job and
wasn't sure I'd ever work
again. Alone for twelve hours a day and thoroughly entangled with
the legal system over my worker's compensation claim, I had been
following the O. J. Simpson criminal trial. When I heard the verdict,
that did it. I yelled at the TV, "They shouldn't have sequestered
the jury! They should have sequestered the judge!" and
that inspired my first novel, The Wages of Justice.
Michael: What's your best selling ebook
and why? What's your personal
favorite and why?
Kate: To date my two bestsellers are The
Wages of Justice and my
standalone historical time travel A Circle of Arcs.
Julian, the classic alpha male protagonist of Wages
of Justice, is my
readers' favorite character hands down, and A Circle of Arcs is a complete departure from my
previous style. The protagonist
of Arcs is based on an actual and very controversial
15th century historical figure who, in my opinion, got
a bum rap. Even more demonized by historians than Richard III,
he has fascinated me since I first encountered him in Shaw's St.
Joan school. Given his earlier history and associations, the later accusations
against him and his lurid confession made no sense
to me. As I began to delve into his life and times, I became increasingly
intrigued and convinced of his innocence and am
presently working on my second novel about him.
My personal favorites are the third and fifth
novels in my Nublis Chronicles
series, The Wages of Greed and Dark
Angel, respectively. In each the protagonist is less than perfect
-- especially Felix of Dark Angel -- and both prevail over
incredibly difficult circumstances. There's probably more of me
in Felix than any of my other characters and he's my personal favorite.
Michael: You seem to be doing quite well
with science fiction. Do you
have a loyal following?
Kate: Judging by my rating on
Fictionwise's series list, it would seem
so. Actually, my stories are more cross-genre than science fiction
because they contain romance and fantasy elements and would
be equally at home in any of those categories.
Michael: I am interested in knowing the
evolution of one of your books.
In other words, briefly take us through the whole process from
idea to marketplace. What lessons have you learned?
Kate: Woo! That is a very complicated
As a writer, I tend to be somewhat disorganized,
and while I always
have an overall outline in my head when I start a book, the
characters invariably get away from me and take over.
For example, Julian in The Wages of Justice
started out as a supporting
character. Except he wasn't having any of that, and by chapter
three he had literally elbowed his way to center stage. Since
he was extremely complex and my original main characters were
more than a mite insipid, I said "Okay, you win," and from then on was simply along for the
ride. Gilles of A Circle of Arcs
was more tricky because he was a real person and I was having
to blend actual historical events and people with fictional
ones. The main protagonist of Arcs is a strong female who
rescues Gilles rather than the other way around, and I have been
told that my story's pace and unpredictability are its main attractions.
There's a saying in small business that you
should be your first and
best customer. In other words, if you won't buy the product why
should anyone else? From the marketplace point of view, it's essential
to grab the reader in the first paragraph, suspend their
belief and then hold on to their attention. In other words, the
story has to "move."
All new writers start out incredibly wordy and
one of the most important
things I've learned along the way is to cut, cut, then cut
again. An invariable tweaker, I prune out anything which detracts
from the advancement of the plot. Even though this isn't the
easiest thing to do with a series, I try to keep my backgrounds
and descriptions as minimal as possible to the point that
my editors are always making me go back and write fill-in scenes.
Keeping faith with my readers is of paramount importance and
I try to remember that my primary purpose is to entertain. Personally,
I don't like endings that are downers -- life is grim enough
as it is -- and my readers seem to agree.
Michael: You mentioned
that you are now with your fourth publisher.
Without naming names, can you tell us what to look for in
a publisher and what to avoid?
Kate: My first three publishers were
authors and they tried to wear both hats at the same time. While this may
appear ideal, I've
come to the conclusion that it's just not possible. Something's
got to give and this is precisely why they ran into trouble.
While their original intentions may have been good, they lacked
the requisite background and/or training to start and maintain
a viable publishing operation. Their writer's egos got in
the way of whatever business sense they might have possessed and
it wasn't long before they began competing with their own authors
to the detriment of both.
The only publisher/author I know of who's been
at avoiding this conflict of interest is Hard Shell Word
Factory's Mary Wolf. However, she's not the exception who proves
the rule because she reportedly gave up writing in order to
concentrate on being a publisher.
Their protestations notwithstanding, every
author secretly believes
he or she is Ernest Hemingway, Shakespeare and Tolstoy rolled
up into one. We invest so much of ourselves in our work we tend
to view any critique or criticism as a personal attack. While
some may hide this response better than others, we're all guilty
and, whether we realize it or not, our subjective attitude --
call it defensiveness if you will -- colors our reactions to other
authors' work. Shameless literary exhibitionists, our fondest
dream is to be published and we'll do just about anything to
achieve that goal. Our second fondest dream is to garner as many
good reviews as possible and no matter how successful some of us may be, the
quickest way to our hearts is to praise something
we've written -- the more extravagant the better. In other
words, an author's ego is huge and incredibly fragile. Unfortunately,
this is as true of a bad writer as a good one, or maybe
even more so, and therein lies the rub.
A publisher has to be the exact opposite.
They're looking for something
to sell, period, and they must above all be objective. Therefore,
my fourth time around, I went looking for a publisher who
was not an author, had a concern with quality control and the requisite
business experience and background, recognized the necessity
of good, hard-nosed editing, and was primarily marketing-oriented.
My present publisher, Deron Douglas of Double Dragon
Publishing, met all those criteria and then some, and he's done
more for my titles in four months than my previous three publishers did in as
-- Kate Saundby
eBook Author Interview: A. C. Ellis, Soldier of 'Tween
Michael: What is the market like for science fiction ebooks?
A. C.: Right now, it seems romance is the
place to be in ebooks. I
believe science fiction is running a distant second. But that's about
the way it is with paper books, as well.
Michael: What inspires you to write
science fiction? Do you like any
A. C.: I read quite a bit of sf - the
scientific puzzle, the WOW factor.
Always have. I read more of it when I was younger, so naturally
when I started writing, that's what I wrote.
Over the past ten years or so, I have read quite
a few mystery and
suspense novels. I recently finished my first mystery/suspense
novel; I'm trying to market it right now.
Michael: I tell my kids the great thing
about science fiction is that
if you can imagine something, it will probably come true some
day. What do you think of that philosophy? Have I been watching
a little too much Star Trek?
A. C.: Well, I'm not sure about that
philosophy. I mean, to a certain
level, sure, anything based on the laws of the universe as
we know them is possible. But then, you have to think that the laws
of the universe "as we know them" are continually changing. Before the 1920s, we would have
thought anything in the Einsteinian
universe laughable. So, who knows what the future will
Michael: Soldier of 'Tween sounds
like an intriguing title. How did
you come up with that name? While you're at it, what's the book
A. C.: I knew I wanted to write a
military sf story. But not one with
all the hardware you read today. A story a bit retro, harkening
back to the sf of the '50s and '60s. And with a touch of
the new physics involved.
The book is about Five-Red. To quote from the
blurb at my web page:
"As the most gifted battle unit in the army
of the Confraternity of
Sentient Races, Five-Red is entitled to the best: the best bunk,
the best food, and the best pleasure units 'Tween has to offer.
And that is as it should be. After all, he's being groomed for
the position of Fifth Division Commander.
"But on campaign planet Bravo-335 he
discovers a piece of alien technology
that turns his life upside down. That strange artifact holds
the thoughts of a supposedly unthinking beast, the very race
the Confraternity's army has been sent out to exterminate. And
suddenly Five-Red knows someone - or something - is eliminating
Michael: Tell our readers a little about
other projects you have going
A. C.: I'm currently working on an sf
book with the working title of
The Peripheral Man, about a thief and the interplanetary adventure
generated by his final job. I'm also working on the next
book in the suspense/mystery series.
Michael: What's your prediction on the
future of ebooks? When will
they become mainstream? Do you have any other predictions, advice
A. C.: I think in the next five or six
years ebooks will take off. They
will never replace paper books, but then they never should. They
will be just another way to read.
-- A. C. Ellis
author of Worldmaker and Soldier of 'Tween
Why advertise in the Mind Like Water Monthly?
Online newsletters tend to narrowly focus their
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needs and capture the loyalty of a very specific readership ...
giving you the perfect opportunity to get your ad in front of your
best potential customers! If you would like more information about
advertising with us, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tip of the Month
When it comes to email, remember that the written word is the written
word, regardless of the medium it is presented on. In other
words, be careful with being too informal when you correspond
with others. An email is really no different than a paper
letter, and you will be judged by every word you write.
Bonus eBook Author Interview: Connie Gotsch, A Mouth Full of Shell
Michael: Briefly tell me about your ebook, A Mouth Full of Shell.
Connie: A Mouth Full of Shell is
about a young woman, Betsy, who
gets caught in a vicious political game inherent in her job situation.
If she doesn't defend herself, she will be fired through
no fault of her own. Betsy has had some bad experiences trying
to use anti-discrimination laws, and doesn't feel that a fight
is worth it. Her boyfriend, Todd, encourages her to fight. He
has used the law successfully to win a battle, but it wasn't concerning
discrimination. Todd had a renter who wouldn't pay up. Easy
to document, easy to take to court. In the ensuing story, a couple
of other people cross paths with Betsy, and with their support
she begins to feel she should at least take a shot at defending
herself. At the same time, Todd is harassed by an ex girlfriend.
She is related to every powerful person in the small town
where the hero and heroine, both university professors, are living.
When Todd tries to get a restraining order, the judge refuses
it. Now Todd begins to see life from Betsy's eyes. Someone
can be perfectly morally right, and the laws won't help them.
Betsy challenges the people tormenting her, and because they
really have no reason to pester her, they back down. She learns
from that to take a step in Todd's direction and fight if necessary.
He learns that he can't always do that. Sometimes you have
to use subterfuge and cunning to survive in this world. They
conclude both ways are correct at the proper moment for each
Michael: Are you trying to teach us a
lesson or just entertain?
Connie: Well, I guess there's a little
lesson there: don't give up,
do what you have to do to survive, there are many ways to solve
a problem. It's mostly a story that gathers some of the crazy
characters I've met on my ramblings around the United States.
It's a chronicle at least from one woman's viewpoint of what
can still happen to women and the mind set we have to break in
order to have what is ours as rightfully as it is anyone else's.
A lot of women have told me that they either lived part of
this story or knew someone who did.
Michael: Would you consider writing a
form of therapy? If so, explain.
Connie: Oh, no, not really. There really
isn't much to explain. I enjoy
writing, and it's relaxing and yet a challenge to make characters
come alive. But does it teach me something about myself?
Michael: What type of audience did you
have in mind?
Connie: I had a general adult audience in
mind. This is about a woman
and women's issues, but men who have read it have liked it as
Michael: Do you have any secrets to
promoting your books that you
can share with us?
Connie: Well, I'm just learning about how
to do that, so no, not really.
I think just getting the book out there as much as you can.
Every time I've had a local reading I've sold a book or two. People
need to know an author's out there. So a shotgun approach, I
guess. Try different things.
-- Connie Gosh
Author of A Mouth Full of Shell
"In this thrilling tale of inner courage, university politics and gossip jeopardize Dr. Betsy Craig's
job and personal relationships. Betsy feels as though she's bitten into life's
hard boiled egg and
gotten only a mouth full of shell. To spit back at her powerful
attackers terrifies her, even when the man she loves encourages
her to fight. Will Betsy find the courage to do it?"
$4.95; paperback $21.50)
Also available at http://www.Amazon.com.
Autographed copy available at http://www.authorsden.com.
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