It’s been a busy couple of weeks in BeckyLand.
On August 16, my seven siblings and I gathered for a reunion with our spouses in Manitou Springs, Colorado. We took over the entire Avenue Hotel Bed & Breakfast, a fantastic place to stay.
We’d planned the reunion long before my dad died, so used the opportunity of having us all together to conduct his inurnment ceremony down in Colorado Springs, then sending him off with a right jolly Irish-ish wake.
The next morning, we swooped down upon his house and cleared it the rest of the way with much laughter, and many, many trips to Goodwill. Afterward, we caravanned through all our old haunts and houses where we grew up.
The weekend was jammed with fun memories, lots of silliness, and the draining of a multitude of airplane bottles of booze Dad had squirreled away. I’m sure he would have approved.
When it was over though, I made the final push to finish the first draft of PUZZLING INK, the first of my Crossword Puzzle Mysteries. I got it done last Friday and sent it out to my exceptional beta readers, a delightful mix of personalities and talents, plus this time, a bonus category of people who deal with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, something with which my main character struggles.
I can’t wait to get comments back from everyone. I’m letting it rest for a few more days when I’ll pick it up and read it straight through as fast as I can. I find when I read it fast, I can catch continuity problems so much better. Plus, it’s always fun to remember what I wrote!
Right after sending the manuscript off for comments, I dove back into changing the hosting company for my mailing list. I moved everything to MailerLite, which took SO MUCH LONGER than I expected! My newsletter readers won’t notice any difference, other than a different design, but backstage, it’s very different.
Subscribers to …
… have always received a short one email welcome from me as soon as they click their confirmation email, but MailerLite does this cool thing with their automation called “workflows.” It’s basically a flowchart where I can schedule my emails to people, and put conditions and actions on them. So, when people subscribe to my mailing list, they automatically receive a series of five “Welcome” emails from me that come every two days. In them, I give away some short stories, give them more info about me and such. If they don’t open the first one, they’ll get a little nudge from me which sends them down a different branch of the flowchart. If I wanted to subcategorize them or if I wrote in different genres, I could send them down a “cozy mystery path,” or “thriller path,” or “self-indulgent memoirs about dogs path” or whatever. That way, if a reader only wanted weepy stories about dogs, they’d never hear about my thrillers. And there’s a ton more stuff on there for me to explore, yanno, in my spare time.
As cool as it is, though, it didn’t come easy to me. There was a steep learning curve, a couple of frantic tech support chats (big thumbs up to these kind and marvelous creatures, btw), and more than a couple of times where I had to walk away and talk to some chocolate about it all.
But it got done, and I’ve been assured it got done correctly, so YAY! As much as I complain about learning curves, it does give me a bright, fizzy feeling to know I did something new (and complicated) that actually needed to be done.
Next on my to-do list is to redesign my newsletter template, and with the first one I send, I’ll be able to offer a link to all my subscribers to follow that queue of freebies. By the time everyone works their way through, all my subscribers will have all the same freebies and info. Like I said, very slick. It allows me to welcome my new friends, make sure my old friends have everything I’ve promised them, all while saving me time so I can continue to write … which is where we all want me to be able to focus my time. Win-win!
If you’re not already a subscriber and want to check it out, feel free to join my mailing list and then unsubscribe down the road. When you do, I will try to refrain from becoming a pathetic Becky-shaped puddle over in the corner, missing you desperately and wondering where we went wrong.
Just kidding. I’m a good Midwesterner … I don’t want to bother anyone who doesn’t want to hear news about my books or those of my author pals.
The revamp also gave me the opportunity to make a new subscribe button … whaddaya think?
Have any of you summited to the peak of any learning curves you’re particularly proud of?