by: JA Andrews, Guest Author
The dark day is here.
It’s time to write your dreaded newsletter. You need to tell them about the new publication date for your upcoming book, and you’ve put it off too long already.
You open the computer, stare at the blank screen for a minute. You start a sentence about the weather but are too bored to finish it.
The irresistible notification bell calls out sweet freedom, and you click it to find that Pam is discussing last nights episode of Game of Dragons, and some cousin of hers named CharlesTheWhiz has the audacity to claim that the dragons shifted into human form for too much of the show.
Dragons shifting into humans?
They’re humans who shift into dragon form. Everyone knows this.
You roll up your sleeves and point out the obvious facts to Dense Cousin Charles.
He comes back instantly with arguments, but he doesn’t know who he’s dealing with.
You’ve spent the last two weeks waffling about whether Wizardess Wanda in your current WIP is a woman who can turn into a cat, or a cat who can turn into a woman. And the difference is everything. Everything.
You give TheWhiz a quick tutorial, which you’re fairly sure he’s too block-headed to understand, and it all comes to a halt when he doesn’t respond immediately, so you scroll aimlessly down your feed and take a quiz on which house your cat would sort into.
Five minutes later, armed with the knowledge your cat is so evil he’s destined to be a Death Eater, you face the fact that CharlesTheWhiz isn’t coming back.
And that stupid newsletter is still calling.
You turn back to your blank newsletter and glance at the clock. Only thirty minutes until lunch, and you have that leftover pasta. No point in starting now.
You reach up to close your laptop, when a small woman appears, perched on top of the screen. “What are you doing?” she asks sternly. She’s dressed in a pale yellow dress and wearing a pair of thin glasses that make her look like a librarian.
“Who are you?”
“I’m the newsletter fairy,” she responds, as though the answer was obvious. She doesn’t look like a fairy. You lean to the side and can see a hint of neatly folded wings.
“Where’s your newsletter?” she asks, pointing at the computer.
You open your mouth to give her some sort of excuse about being busy and the difficulty of working in these troubled times, but is it fairies you should never lie to? Or was that elves? The Sphinx?
You err on the side of honesty, just in case. “I have absolutely nothing of interest to say.”
She gives you a flat look.
“People will just delete it,” you say. “I would delete it. I hate boring emails.”
She crosses her arms. “What have you done for the last half hour?”
“You argued with Chris for twenty minutes about dragons. A topic you have spent an absurd amount of time thinking about.”
“Some people find that interesting!” There’s a sullen tone to the words you’d sort of like to take back. But not really. Who knew fairies were so judgey?
“You find shape-shifting dragons interesting,” she points out.
“Shape-shifting humans! They shift into drag—”
“See?” she says with a smug smile. “Do you know who else is interested in that?”
You look warily at her. “…You?”
A little crease of annoyance crinkles her brow. “No. Your readers.”
You blink at the little woman again. “So, you’re saying I could write about that in my newsletter?”
“It interests you, and it applies to your book. It’s perfect.”
You stare at her. “That would actually be fun to write.”
“Of course it would. And the beauty is that it’s your newsletter. No CharlesTheWhiz to interrupt you. Just a blank canvas to explain your opinion.”
“It’s the truth, actually,” you say, “not opinion. You see, the scales on a dragon—”
She holds up her hand. “Please don’t. So I don’t have to come back, I just wanted to point out, you have your next newsletter topic, too.”
“How dumb CharlesTheWhiz is?”
“I believe that would border on libel. What is the funnest thing you saw online today.”
“My cat Fluffy is a Death Eater,” you answer instantly. You pause. “They’d find that interesting too, wouldn’t they?”
Even though every dog will be Hufflepuff or Gryffindor, and every cat will be Ravenclaw or Slytherin, yes, they will find it fun. Just tie it to the cat in your book.”
“This is fantastic! Thank you Newsletter Fairy.”
“My pleasure,” she says tiredly. “I’m off to the next author. Here, for when you forget.” She points her finger at a blank sticky note and golden words swirl across it.
“Ooooh!” You pick up the paper as she begins to fade out of view.
Suddenly she pops back into sight and points a tiny fairy finger at me. “Don’t forget to talk about your own work. Even just a sentence or two. Really great writers sometimes forget this when their newsletters become too fun.”
“…Okay,” you say.
She gives you a curt nod, and disappears.
You pick up the sticky note, which she’s magically extended to fit her writing, and read her helpful list.
For anything that applies to your story, your genre, or related topics:
-What was the most interesting thing you read this week?
-What book are you currently reading in your genre, and what interesting things are in it?
-What tv show or movie in your genre have you seen recently? How is it like or unlike your book?
-Highs and Lows are always a solid choice. What was the high point of your last week, and what was the low point? How does it relate to your writing? Or what were the highs and lows of that tv show or movie that your readers all love too?
-Remember: You and your readers have a great deal in common, and it revolves around the sorts of books you like. If it interests you, it will interest them.
You can do this.
Ra ra ra.
-The Newsletter Fairy
It’s a good list. Actually, several ideas pop in your head at the list. Except the shape-shifting dragons are itching to be written about.
You roll up your sleeves and start the discussion where it should be started. The dragon scales…
Eight hundred words later you’ve proved your point and tied it in to your own Wizardess Wanda.
At the end you give the update you needed to give about the changed publication date.
You’ve done it. You’ve written an email that you would like to read.
You click send, and, to finish it perfectly, drop back by Pam’s post and leave a link, tagging CharlesTheWhiz so he can read it too. Maybe the poor boy will see the light.
It’s a tiny bit late for lunch, but that pasta is calling.
You smile fondly at the spot where the Newsletter Fairy sat, and close your laptop, thankful that your readers have such interesting tastes.