*All music on the episode written and performed by Barry Drudge. *
*While the show notes are a jumping off point, this is not an exact transcript — we enjoy going off script, and we often do! Also, for some reason we did things a little more out of order and off the cuff than usual.*
Drema: Today’s topic really reminds me of a certain song by a certain former Beatle and the band Wings concerning a couple of superheroes.
Barry: Hmmm…I wonder why.
D: Can’t we sing just a few bars of it, please?
B: No can do, due to them there copyright laws.
Can you write your own version for us Barry? LOL.
(Magneto and Titanium Man on Youtube if you want to hear it.)
Warning: This podcast may contain potty mouth language and inspiring ideas. Listener discretion is advised.
Welcome to WATT, your home for all things writing instruction, analysis, inspiration, writing news and trends. Our show is an irreverent guide to writing literary fiction.
I’m Drema Drudge, author of the novel Victorine about Edouard Manet’s favorite model who was actually a talented artist in her own right, and the upcoming literary novel Briscoe Chambers’ Southern Fried Woolf.
I’m Barry Drudge, co-host and MFA graduate of Spalding University, former ghostwriter and a songwriter and musician who has worked with Grammy winners in Nashville. Story forthcoming in Round Table Literary Journal.
According to the Guardian, a furor at the “unaffordable, unsustainable and inaccessible” nature of the academic ebook market has caused almost 3,000 librarians, academics and students to sign an open letter asking for a public investigation. Especially during the pandemic, it has been difficult for students to afford and access needed textbooks.
Ebooks are said to currently cost 500% more than the print versions. Of course, publishers say there are reasons the books are this expensive and that the books are used by more than one student, such as if it’s a library-owned book, but that appears to not always be the case.
I know some professors are moving to implementing more online, free resources. That may be the direction to take. Or perhaps professors could battle back by creating their own handouts and materials. It’s a thought.
The estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has been accused in the past of bullying those who would use his characters, even though most of his stories are now in the public domain and those that are not become so in 2021. Their latest target was Netflix’s Enola Holmes because the Sherlock character shows too much emotion a trait they don’t believe happens until the later, still-copyright protected in the United States, stories. However, the case was dismissed with a stipulation to dismiss with prejudice. A source familiar with the case says that probably means the case was settled, although whether or not that is so we can’t be sure of.
So write on, Sherlock fans!
What We’re Reading
D: In a strange convergence, I read Bronte’s Mistress, a novel about the story behind the married mistress of the Bronte brother, Branwell, named Lydia Robinson – the original “Mrs. Robinson,” she’s being cheekily touted as, because she’s older than him. It’s a wonderfully written novel by Finola Austin. (I hope to review it on my website in the coming months) and our local library did a Zoom book discussion on the novel the Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell about the fictional last living relative of the Brontes. It deals more with the legacy of perhaps lesser-read sister, Anne Bronte and what sort of undiscovered artifacts might or might not have been left behind by her. I enjoyed reading it, but I did call it guilt-free junk food reading for lit folks. Make of that what you will.
Barry: The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu. (Extemporaneous comments.)
Drema’s personal writing update: Victorine is coming up on her first anniversary in March. Already. I am VERY HAPPY to announce that an ebook version of her is forthcoming.
Also: a wonderful review on Historical Novel Society’s website and in its print issue which I have yet to get into my hot little hands. Thank you to the author Gail M. Murray for her insightful review of my humble efforts.
Instruction: Reader Magnets
– We told you we’d talk about gates we were ourselves going through for the first time, so here we are, talking about reader magnets. Recently, Barry prettied up mine. If we ask real nicely, maybe he’ll tell you how to do it, too.
Let’s get into it.
D — FIRST OFF: I don’t remember where I first learned about these because you hear about them everywhere, but my marketing guru, Sue Campbell of Pages & Platforms, has a great list of these items for fiction writers.
Called by various names – opt-in incentive, lead magnet.
Reason for: you don’t want a one-book stand with your reader. You want to build a relationship, so you want people to join your newsletter list.
To do so, you offer them something of value, a bribe if you will: a reader magnet.
Since we’re talking about fiction, we’ll deal with in general what that might look like for fiction authors.
Some things I’ve noticed authors use that grab my attention: free novels, novellas, short stories, character studies, reading guides and the like. You just have to be creative. Offer bookmarks to print with the book cover on it or research materials. During my 12 Days of Victorine promotion I gave away a book that is in the public domain by artist Alfred Stevens, a character in my novel.
If you’re still stumped on what to create for a reader magnet, email us at email@example.com and we will give you some suggestions.
Maybe we should back up and talk about newsletters at some point, but since this is where we are right now, here we all are. And BTW, even if you don’t have a book out yet, no worries. Grow that list! Offer something of value to your readers and get them into conversation with you. (P.S. We WILL talk about newsletters in the future!)
What Makes It Great: (Literary Analysis)
Drema’s Selection: Joan Didion has a collection of her essays from the 60’s onward called “Let Me Tell You What I Mean” coming out. The New Yorker did a thorough piece on her at the end of January.
I was poking around and found Joan Didion’s Why I Write on lithub.com.
Barry’s WHAT MAKES IT GREAT: The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu
Instruction: Barry outlines how to create a reader magnet via Reedsy’s book editor for free!
Shout Outs and Inspiration: Leslea Newman’s newest book of poems, I Wish My Father.
Barry’s take: (Extemporaneous thoughts.)
D: My take: Poetry is the cocaine of the soul. What causes you to be still and listen to your heart? This book is beautiful!
That’s our show for today. We hope you learned something or were inspired. Write and let us know if you did at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you so much for joining for another fun edition of our podcast (we hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoy recording it.) Don’t forget to rate, review, and subscribe to our podcast on your favorite podcast platform.
And never forget to Keep WRITING ALL THE THINGS!