SendFox, Or Fun with Email Lists

A few years ago, when I started researching why my books weren’t selling, I encountered a common marketing message from every expert, guru, and wannabe (often three of the same thing, but I digress). “Get an email list!” they’d all say. They’d say it no matter what my business. Then I’d check the going rate for an email list, and I’d get tenser than a palm tree.

Sure, there are free tiers for some of them, you know, to get you started. Those free tiers usually have limited functions and low contact thresholds (most allow up to 1000 free contacts before the paid plans kick in, but some are even less). And when the paid tiers activate, the monthly costs begin to rise, and rise, and rise, bwahaha!

All the while you hope that your contacts are actually getting your email.

These were my concerns for years, and having hardly any budget available for experimenting with a mailing provider that might meet my needs before the losses are too great to continue (because ROI takes time), I just couldn’t take the risk.

Until now. Until I discovered SendFox.

SendFox is simple. It strips out many of the bells and whistles that makes email marketing confusing to newer users. This has its disadvantages, of course: Older mailing companies have turned email marketing into a science and a sport. But SendFox focuses on newsletters and content creation, or the art of getting and keeping readers. This means that its success depends on your success. So it keeps things simple. And it also boast a high delivery rate as a result.

It also considers your wallet and ROI way more than any other provider I’ve researched. Where all providers require monthly subscriptions to keep their services and your audiences, SendFox offers tiered lifetimes plans where one payment of X amount will earn you the lifetime right to email up to Y audience sizes (in the thousands, up to 25,000). If you’re like me and hate the idea of spending hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a year to maintain a list of people who might not even get your message (like Facebook!), then give SendFox a look.

The good news is that by signing up using any link in this article during SendFox’s Black Friday sale, you can add an extra 200 contacts to my subscriber limit, and if you sign up and tell all your friends, you can get that 200 contact per referral bonus, too. And then they can get it, and then their friends can get it, and we can take over the world, and…

Okay, yes, this is beginning to sound like a scheme of some sort…

But the best kind of scheme!

Anyway, I’ll talk more about my email list and how to join it in another article. I don’t yet have any of my subscriber bonuses in place, nor am I sending out any content yet, so I’ll come back with newsletter news once it becomes more relevant.

But until then…

Once again, you can check out SendFox here to see if it meets your needs, and if you happen to join before the Black Friday countdown clock expires, you’ll automatically reward me with a 200-contact limit boost on my own contacts. And for that, I thank you. But even if you sign on later, it’s worth it. The monthly plans don’t kick in until you cross a high threshold. They also have something called Empire for $10 a month if you need extra flexibility, but that can be for any tier. Just and FYI.

Hope you’ll check it out. And leave a comment about how much you like SendFox (or not) below.

Cover Image: Pixabay

The Writer’s Bookshelf: Recommended References and Writing Resources (Episode 12: Discussing “Story” by Robert McKee)

Title Image for The Writer’s Bookshelf Episode 12

Welcome back to The Writer’s Bookshelf, you budding screenwriter you. Oh, wait, you’re not a screenwriter? Hmm. Too bad, because you can learn a lot from this week’s book, Robert McKee’s Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting. But even if you’re not a screenwriter (and if you’ve been following along this series for the last twelve weeks, my guess is that you’re either really bored on a Friday night, or you’re actually a novelist or aspiring novelist who’s desperate for information on how to do this thing right), you can get plenty out of this book because it covers all of the story essentials, but, and here’s the secret sauce, it comes from the voice of the guy who coaches the Oscar winners on how to write good stories.

Want to learn more? Watch my video, where I discuss its pros and cons, its merits and failures, its weight and cost, its . . . well, just watch the video for why I recommend it.

Don’t forget to like, subscribe, and do all the things that YouTubers tell you to do.

Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting

Robert McKee

Website

Amazon Metadata:

·  Hardcover: 480 pages

·  ISBN-10: 9780060391683

·  ISBN-13: 978-0060391683

·  Publisher: ReganBooks; Illustrated Edition (November 25, 1997)

Check out other entries in the Writer’s Bookshelf series here.

Don’t forget to like, subscribe, comment, and do all of the things that convince me you like this kind of information and want more like it.

In case you forgot to check the video:

The Writer’s Bookshelf: Recommended References and Writing Resources (Episode 11: Discussing “Using the Snowflake Method” by Randy Ingermanson)

Title Image for The Writer’s Bookshelf Episode 11

Welcome back to The Writer’s Bookshelf. Continuing on the theme of writing well-structured stories through the aid of plotting and/or pantsing methods, this week we turn to a different kind of method that challenges both plotting and pantsing: the Snowflake Method. In his books, How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method and How to Write a Dynamite Scene Using the Snowflake Method, Randy Ingermanson teaches readers how to write novels using his signature move, the Snowflake Method.

Want to learn more about the Snowflake Method and why it may help you if you squirm at the idea of plotting or pantsing? Read Randy Ingermanson’s books. Want to learn more about his books? Watch my video, in which I discuss them and set the record straight on whether you, too, should read them (and why getting copies of these books is better for your writing career than you may realize; hint: It may provide you access to something you’ll really want, for free!).

Don’t forget to discuss what you’ve learned from these books and this series in the comments below, and on the YouTube channel. Not sure if you’ve been doing that, but you should.

How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method

Randy Ingermanson

Website

Amazon Metadata:

·  Paperback: 234 pages

·  ISBN-10: 1500574058

·  ISBN-13: 978-1500574055

·  Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1st Edition (July 18, 2014)

How to Write a Dynamite Scene Using the Snowflake Method

Randy Ingermanson

Website

Amazon Metadata:

·  Paperback: 154 pages

·  ISBN-10: 1937031187

·  ISBN-13: 978-1937031183

·  Publisher: Ingermanson Communications, Inc.; 1st Edition (May 11, 2018)

Check out other entries in the Writer’s Bookshelf series here.

Don’t forget to like, subscribe, comment, and do all of the things that convince me you like this kind of information and want more like it.

In case you forgot to check the video:

The Writer’s Bookshelf: Recommended References and Writing Resources (Episode 10: Discussing “Save the Cat! Writes a Novel” by Jessica Brody)

Title Image for The Writer’s Bookshelf Episode 10

Once upon a time, a famous screenwriting guru wrote a book about saving cats. Sometime later, a young author decided to adapt his principles to write a new companion reference book about saving cats for novels. In this week’s episode of the Writer’s Bookshelf, we will be covering the novelist’s foray into feline salvation, Jessica Brody’s take on the 15 beats of genre fiction in Save the Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book on Novel Writing You’ll Ever Need, based on Blake Snyder’s original Hollywood how-to guide, Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need.

Pro Tip: You’ll actually need at least six more books on writing novels because that’s how many episodes we have left this season, and you should watch all the videos I’ve recorded on the topic, including this video. But don’t let the people at Save the Cat! know I said that.

Save the Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book on Novel Writing You’ll Ever Need

Jessica Brody

Based on “Save the Cat!” by Blake Snyder

Website

Amazon Metadata:

·  Paperback: 320 pages

·  ISBN-10: 0399579745

·  ISBN-13: 978-0399579745

·  Publisher: Ten Speed Press; Illustrated Edition (October 9, 2018)

Check out other entries in the Writer’s Bookshelf series here.

Don’t forget to like, subscribe, comment, and do all of the things that convince me you like this kind of information and want more like it.

In case you forgot to check the video:

The Writer’s Bookshelf: Recommended References and Writing Resources (Episode 9: Discussing “The Writer’s Journey” by Christopher Vogler)

Title Image for The Writer’s Bookshelf Episode 9

Years ago, a well-known author told me about a book that helped him develop his personal writer’s journey. That book, The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler, is this week’s focus in the ongoing saga known as the Writer’s Bookshelf.

What is it exactly? Well, in short, it’s the book that Vogler first wrote as a seven-page memo to Disney and later expanded into a short, twenty-something-page “Practical Guide,” as a means to reiterate Joseph Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey” archetype as presented in The Hero with a Thousand Faces, so that Disney writers might write screenplays (and stories) that put the hero’s journey on display and the customer’s money in their hands. Because the model worked out so well, including for The Lion King, which the memo was written for, he expanded the memo and the Practical Guide again to this 500-page masterpiece that any writer can use to better his storytelling.

Find out more in this video.

Also, please note that this book is best read with an epic movie soundtrack playing in the background. I recommend this one, but choose whatever works best for you.

The Writer’s Journey – 25th Anniversary Edition: Mythic Structure for Writers

Christopher Vogler

Website

Amazon Metadata:

·  Paperback: 510 pages

·  ISBN-10: 1615933158

·  ISBN-13: 978-1615933150

·  Publisher: Michael Wiese Productions; 4th Edition (August 4, 2020)

Check out other entries in the Writer’s Bookshelf series here.

Don’t forget to like, subscribe, comment, and do all of the things that convince me you like this kind of information and want more like it.

In case you forgot to check the video:

Planning a Story: Plottr Review

If you’re writing a novel for National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short, then you probably should’ve started already. But if you’re still warming up to the idea, or if you just want to use November as a warm-up month and go for the main event in December (because why do you need a month to tell you what to do?), then you’ll probably want to start planning for it.

Unless you’re a discovery writer (or organic, or pantser, or whatever your label of choice—it’s all the same), which is perfectly fine, you may want a plotting tool to help you prepare.

That’s where Plottr comes in.

Screenshot of Plottr’s Book Series Page

Have you heard of Plottr yet? I’ve probably mentioned it on this blog already, but in case I haven’t, it works like this:

You “create a book” on a series page, give it a title, tagline, short synopsis, and series number (standalones get “1” as their number), and if you have cover art finished, you can attach it to a 3D mockup. Then you click on the book you want to work on and enter the construction zone (my term, not theirs).

Inside the construction zone, you can begin planning your book by creating a timeline, list of characters and places, and establishing keywords to mark important metadata.

Sounds simple and basic, right?

That’s kind of the point. It’s simple. But hardly basic.

Screenshot of Plottr’s Timeline

Once you enter the timeline, you can create plots and subplots, establish chapters and scenes within those chapters, character arcs, etc., but you can also color code everything, insert characters and places inside the scene cards (while also describing them), and tag to your heart’s content.

And best of all, you can import premade templates from some of your favorite story structure devices, including the Hero’s Journey, Save the Cat!, and most recently, the Snowflake Method. In fact, you can also import your existing Snowflake Pro file directly into Plottr (as of October 23rd). So, if you’d rather use an established method over your own, you have plenty to choose from (at least a dozen different structure and beat types).

For creating characters, you can import a template or create (and save) your own. For places, you can do the same. For items…well, that part isn’t available yet, but Plottr is adding new features all the time, so I’d expect to see that available soon enough. You can actually see their active roadmap here, as well as post your own suggestions.

Screenshot of Plottr’s Places Designer

But since this is a review, I think it’s fair to list some of its problems:

It’s still a work-in-progress, so it’s missing some options that are sorely needed, including custom sorting inside of character and place menus, as well as the ability to update your existing template with new entries without having to create a new template (and forgetting which version number you’re saving to now). It doesn’t have features for tracking items, nor does it prepopulate with expected tags like “inciting incident” or “main character” or any of the elements that most writers would like to have available. And, well, it’s an outlining tool, not a writing tool, so you’ll still need another program to do the actual writing.

But it does have an interactive timeline with adjustable boxes, and that’s probably all you really need, especially if you’re coming from other story development software that maybe don’t have as good or intuitive of a timeline feature. It doesn’t track actual time, though, but I think it’s coming, maybe (check the roadmap to be sure). It also has an outline view that you can export to your preferred writing app, as long as it’s Microsoft Word or Scrivener, so you don’t have to worry about switching back and forth as you write.

And don’t forget to check out Plottr’s templates if you give it a try. The premade templates are there to increase its value and usefulness, and I highly recommend you look into them if you’re not sure how to start.

Screenshot of Plottr’s Outline Viewer and Export Tool

Finally, there is a 30-day trial available, and if you do commit to the purchase (and you should because it’s my favorite story developing app so far), it’s just $25 for the program and a year of free updates ($37 if you want Windows and Mac access). You’ll have to renew that fee after the first year to keep getting updates, but you’re not required to buy it a second time to keep using it. If you’re happy with its functionality by the end of your subscription period, you can keep using that version indefinitely.

So, there’s no reason not to give it a try, unless you’re really, really broke. And if that’s your situation, I hope it gets better soon.

Also, if you want a video demonstration of Plottr, you can check out its tutorials on Plottr’s website (recommended) or my review on my YouTube channel (also recommended).

Don’t forget to like, subscribe, and comment below if this article has helped you, entertained you, or kept you from starting your honey-do list.

P.S. I may be uploading some of my own character and place attributes templates here soon.

Here’s the video again: