I have been threatening to do a newsletter for sometime but haven’t felt like I know enough about the subject to whip one up. So, you can imagine my excitement when historical romance author Emily Royal told me she had a guest blog post for me on the subject of newsletters. Now, I am on Emily’s newsletter distribution list and I love them. They’re filled with photos, info on her new books and a lot of Emily Royal book vibes.
This blog post is packed full of Emily’s top 10 tips for newsletters and I am so grateful she’s here today.
Right I know you are keen to read on. Please give a warm welcome to Emily Royal:
Many authors have a newsletter, and you might be wondering whether it’s worth the effort—or even what it involves. A newsletter is basically an e:mail which is sent to a list of people who have signed up to hear from you, and could be anything between a couple of paragraphs, to something a bit longer with images and links. The benefit of having a newsletter is the direct contact with readers—you’re not advertising through Facebook or Amazon, or using a service which sends details of your book out to its own list (such a bookbub)—you’re contacting your own readers, so you have total control over what they read, and when they get it. To me, a certified control freak, that sounds ideal.
I am super excited because the author of heart-warming and funny romantic comedies Anna Bell has come to take over my blog today. She’s going to share with us her tips on writing comedy and I am hoping she will also tell us about her book which I can’t wait to read as it sounds fab.
Please give a warm welcome to Anna Bell:
Here are my top 5 tips for writing comedy:
1 – Belief One of the hardest things about writing comedy is believing in yourself. Jokes are subjective, and they’re also personal. Sometimes writing comedy and exposing what you think is funny can make you feel vulnerable. But chances are if you find it funny then someone else will too. I don’t think there is anything nicer, both in real life or in your writing, than making someone laugh.
2– First Drafts don’t have to be funny It’s very easy to get hung-up on making everything you write sound witty, but you have to remember that your readers are there just as much for the story as they are for the laughs. It’s almost easier to add humour on the next draft when you can spot if you’ve got clusters or deserts of funny scenes. On the second draft, when you know your characters better, you’re more likely to understand what pushes their buttons and how they’d react in any situation, making it easier for you to imagine the humorous situations they could find themselves in.
3– There is a fine line between funny and cringey This is one of the hardest things to get right when writing comedy. It’s also a line that changes from reader to reader too. One person’s threshold for rolling on the floor in hysterics is another’s basis for a one-star review. One of the ways to avoid it being too cringey is to try and build reader empathy with the character, so that if the reader cringes, they cringe with the character, not at him or her.
4 – Make scenarios relatable Watching stand-up comedians with live audiences is a great way to see what people find funny. Quite often it’s the most mundane things that people find the funniest, the jokes about extended family or ordinary situations that everyone finds themselves in. It’s often easier to relate to humour if you can imagine it could happen to you. It’s worth remembering this when writing. Scenes that are too over the top or unbelievable can seem like they’re trying too hard to get laughs.
5 – Outside the Room Watching sit-coms can also help you learn how to write comedy. Shows like Frasier give excellent lessons in comic timing and build-up. There is nearly always a final big comedic scene that the whole episode builds up to, but to get the laughs you need to understand what has driven each character to react in the particular way they do. When you are writing a big scene with an ensemble cast, it’s worth bearing that in mind. What has happened to each of your characters prior to this scene? What is their mood? What has led them to the point they’re at? If the audience are in on the joke and understand why the character is reacting in the way they are, it makes it funnier. But you don’t always have to signpost the events that happen outside the room either. If you’ve got a big ensemble scene having someone other than the main characters arrive in the aftermath of an argument, or guarding a secret, can add to the humour and tension too. Usually that storyline would play alongside the big main event that’s happening to the protagonist, and the poor protagonist is left trying to put out fires from all sides, ramping up the humour.
Follow Anna on Twitter: AnnaBell_writes Instagram: anna_bell_writes Anna’s latest novel is The Man I Didn’t Marry and it’s out now.
Ellie has the perfect life: a happy marriage, a gorgeous daughter and a baby on the way. But when her husband Max develops amnesia, he forgets everything about the last five years . . . including their relationship. Now the man she said ‘I do’ to has become a stranger, and she has no idea why. Yet Ellie is determined to reconnect and find her Max again – he has to be in there somewhere, right?
As they get to know one another afresh, Ellie finds herself seeing Max clearly for the first time. But then she discovers that before his memory loss, Max was keeping a huge secret from her. Will their new beginning prove to be a false start, just as it seemed they might fall in love all over again?
This is a tough one and can take some writers several years to come to terms with.
You have an unfinished draft novel, sat in a drawer or lounging on top of your writing desk or loitering in your writing file on your computer and the thought of finishing it gives you an uncomfortable gut sensation and you have to reach for another chocolate biscuit to make it go away.
Or, maybe you are like me and are taking part in NaNoWriMo2020 and book writing momentum has sadly left your writer body. After a day off you have fallen behind and the thought of putting in the effort to catch up makes you want to binge watch The Crown on Netflix while flipping oreo biscuits into the air and catching them in your mouth.
The thought of sitting down and ploughing on for another thirty thousand words will not be an appealing one.
It’s at this stage you start to consider the possibility of the following happening:
Magical elves scurrying in during the small hours and writing the rest of your book.
Waking up one morning to find its all been a bad dream and your completed manuscript is lying on your bedside table.
A famous best-selling author with time on their hands replying to your ‘my #unfinishednovel is making me sad’ tweet with ‘let’s meet for coffee over Zoom and I might be able to help you finish it!’
Planting ‘magical book seeds’ in your vegetable patch with the belief you will be able to dig up your finished novel in a few weeks time.
Being visited by your ‘writer fairy godmother’ in the night who waves a magical wand and transforms your unfinished manuscript into a completed one, edited and with no typos.
A white book stork flying over your house with its own version of a new baby in its beak – a finished manuscript.
Walking along a beach and finding a bottle washed up on the shore with the rest of your manuscript inside it.
Your unfinished book writing itself.
So, how do you come to terms with your book is not going to write itself?
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but your unfinished novel will stay unfinished if you carry on spending time in fantasy land.
There are no literary elves, magical book seeds, book storks or writer fairy godmothers. Best selling authors have better things to do with their time.
Your book is not going to write itself.
It’s time to wake up and drag your lazy writer self over to your chair and write the rest of your novel.
Get to work writer – only you can make the literary dream happen.
Have a fabulous day!
PS: I have written this post in the hope it gives me a kick up the writer ass.
Psst…if anyone does know of some efficient and reliable literary elves, send them my way 😊
This is a strange time to be living in right now. The world feels like it’s in chaos. So, this week I have decided to write about something which gives me strength and makes me positive; my blog.
I am a few weeks away from my 6th year blogging anniversary. Still can’t believe I have been blogging for that long. What started out as something to give me a break from my squabbling children, rugby mad husband and boisterous pets on wet Sunday afternoons has turned into a big part of my life.
Here are 10 lessons from my 6 years of blogging:
1. Blogging is like a fertile creative soil and other things grow from it. This is the thing which has surprised me. My blog has grown and nurtured so many creative projects; my Roxy Collins diary which went super crazy on Wattpad, my Roxy Collins podcast which I recorded whilst locked inside my teenage daughter’s cupboard every Friday after a few gin & tonics, my novel, my book blogging and a LOT of short stories.
2. My happiest times have been when I stopped caring about blog stats. When I wrote The Diary of Roxy Collins as a weekly serial I never gave two hoots about my blog stats. This was one of my best times as a blogger. There’s something in this because when I recorded my podcast deep inside my daughter’s shoe cupboard and put each episode live I didn’t care about stats or numbers. I had so much fun. It lit me upside. Like someone had turned on a light. It was only when I started looking at my blog stats and podcast data that the good times ended.
3. The bad blogging times have been signals in disguise that I need to change direction. Looking back now I can see this more clearly. However, when you are fed up with blogging and can’t face turning up to write a post each week it’s hard to see. All my bad blogging times have been the start of change.
4. Blogging breaks are marvellous things. You don’t have to quit blogging, you just need a break. I am so glad I found blogging breaks and took them. It’s so nice to come back after a few months feeling rejuvenated and created.
5. Blogging is a stress buster. Writing a blog post is for me one of the best ways to relieve stress.
6. Blogs are like trees. They take years of nurture and love to grow. They will chart your creative journey and they will one day bear creative fruits. These fruits might not bring you fame and fortune but they will be of great value to you in other ways. The great thing about life is that you won’t be able to see their value straightaway. One day you will stop and think – ‘wow – that blog post changed my life.’
7. Getting my blog links to work was one of my biggest struggles. Oh my goodness – other bloggers struggle with SEO rankings and branding. Me – well I struggled with copying, pasting and inserting a link into a little box for 2 YEARS! 🙈
8. My blog has been a great teacher. Its taught me about all sorts of things like checking for typos, grammar and resilience.
9. Fictional characters who were born inside my blog posts will never leave me. Roxy Collins – I will do something with you. I promise ❤️
10. I have met some fabulous and life changing people on my blog. They have been a huge part of my journey and without them I wouldn’t be here today.
Thank you to everyone who reads, comments and shares my posts week in and week out. You are all fabulous. 🌸📚
If you don’t have a blog and want something creative to do during these strange times, I would strongly recommend starting one. Blogs are great stress busters, they make excellent journals and you never know what might come of it 📚
I am ridiculously PROUD to be part of the team for the LAUNCH OF THIS WONDERFUL AUTHOR’s DEBUT ROMANCE NOVEL – Marriage Unarranged.
Oh my goodness what an honour!
I was one of the beta readers for this FAB book and this is such a gorgeous debut.
So proud of you, Ritu!
Congrats from all of us at BlondeWriteMore 😍
Here’s the blurb:
Chickpea Curry’ Lit — Chick Lit with an Indian twist!
It all started ended with that box…
Aashi’s life was all set.
Or so she thought.
Like in the Bollywood films, Ravi would woo her, charm her family and they’d get married and live happily ever after.
But then Aashi found the empty condom box…
Putting her ex-fiancé and her innocence behind her, Aashi embarks upon an enlightening journey, to another country, where vibrant memories are created, and unforgettable friendships forged.
Old images erased, new beginnings to explore.
And how can she forget the handsome stranger she meets? A stranger who’s hiding something…
Here’s my review:
If you are looking for an uplifting romance plot, a great cast of characters, a good sprinkling of humour and a glimpse of true India – this book is for you!
My heart went out to the main character Aashi. Her broken engagement is heartbreaking to read and I wanted to reach inside the book and hug her.
The trip to India with her best mate and her brothers is inspired as its during this trip Aashi starts to find herself. This book is crammed with vivid descriptions of true India and I thought it was a refreshing setting for a romance book.
Ritu has done a fantastic job on bringing the smells and sounds of the markets, the rickshaw journeys and the kaleidoscope of colours to life.
I will say this – the romance in this book will make your heart flutter!
Ritu Bhathal was born in Birmingham in the mid-1970s to migrant parents, hailing from Kenya but with Indian origin. This colourful background has been a constant source of inspiration to her.
From childhood, she always enjoyed reading. This love of books is credited to her mother. The joy of reading spurred her on to become creative in her writing, from fiction to poetry. Winning little writing competitions at school and locally encouraged her to continue writing.
As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and teacher, she has drawn on inspiration from many avenues to create the poems that she writes.
A qualified teacher, having studied at Kingston University, she now deals with classes of children as a sideline to her writing!
Ritu also writes a blog, http://www.butismileanyway.com, a mixture of life and creativity, thoughts and opinions, which was awarded first place in the Best Overall Blog Category at the 2017 Annual Bloggers Bash Awards, and Best Book Blog in 2019.
Ritu is happily married and living in Kent, with her Hubby Dearest, and two children, not forgetting the fur baby Sonu Singh.
I think author Lucy Keeling rocks for a number of reasons:
She’s called Lucy.
She writes witty romance.
Her insta stories where she talks to her followers everyday from her car are fab! Check out Lucy’s instagram because this lady always makes me smile on a morning before I shuffle into work.
Her debut novel which I am reviewing below is one of my best Romcom reads from 2019.
She’s part of the UK RomChat team and loves a good tweet.
This book, Make It Up To You, will transport you into the world of make-up artist, Sophie Timney and online make-up tutorials.
I have two teenage daughters who are GLUED to watching makeup tutorials on YouTube and they make me watch them (in an attempt to teach me how to apply makeup. At forty something my makeupskills are sadly lacking and anything other than a quick finger dab in something sparkly is a challenge), so I could relate to this book.
Here’s the blurb:
What do mascara wands and gardening shears have in common?
Absolutely nothing! At least that’s what wannabe beauty influencer Sophie Timney thinks when her friend Polly suggests involving her brother Marcus in Sophie’s make-up tutorials. She needs more views, Marcus needs promotion for his gardening business – in Polly’s mind joining forces will help them both. Sophie isn’t so sure.
Because Marcus Bowman has a habit of getting under her skin in a way that no exfoliating face scrub ever could. But, as the views and comments on her videos begin creeping up, it becomes increasingly obvious that Sophie’s subscribers like Marcus, and what’s even worse is that Sophie might be starting to feel the same way…
Here’s my review:
When the story opens Sophie is having a bad day as she thinks she’s uploaded the wrong makeup advice video and she’s fretting because her followers are not increasing.
I really warmed to Sophie. She’s passionate about her makeup advice tutorials and will do whatever it takes to make it a success.
Her relationship with Marcus is funny. They bicker and argue whilst this gorgeous romance grows between them. Sophie thinks he’s cheeky, wonders what fake tan he’s using and gets frustrated when he makes a tea for himself. He enjoys winding her up, thinks she can be a bit of a diva and can’t stop thinking about a kiss they once shared.
This book gave me lovely warm tingles especially around Marcus ❤️ He is gorgeous and it really was a delightful read.
Lucy Keeling has written a fab novel about what happens when career paths and romantic urges are bound together. She’s thrown in some fab female relationships for good measure and drizzled over a good helping of love.
If you want to find out more check out this book here.
It is perfect with a cup of coffee and a pastry!
Tomorrow I will be back with a fantastic book cover reveal.