Sunday, June 17, 2018

My Crazy Idea for an Email Newsletter

In the previous post I introduced the idea of bringing back the newsletter with a twist. Instead of just a list of blog post links, I want to build a community. I also stated that this newsletter would be different than any other newsletter. A bold claim, true, but I would like to think it's accurate.

Would you rather have a 2,000 email subscriber list with little sense of community if any at all or a measly 25 or 50 member list that engages with the content on a regular basis? Since I worded it that way, the answer seems pretty obvious. Engagement means everything, and that is my ultimate goal.

How will I keep the list fresh? How will I ensure that only those who engage with the content remain on the list? In other words, I don't want to send emails to ones who never open it. I know you've done it because I've done it. I've signed up for a newsletter, but I never read them. And I definitely never engaged. Sometimes I delete them as soon as I get them.

As a culture we are tightening the grip on unsolicited email. That's a good thing, for it's a waste of time to send repeated emails to someone who will not open them. But someone's interest may wane--hence the need to put an unsubscribe link at the bottom of newsletters. I don't want to mess with automated newsletters--at least right now--so I'm going a different route.

I'm going to try the manual method. If you want to receive news from me, send me an email. I'll provide the email address at the bottom of the post. If you want to continue to receive emails from me, be active in the community. More about that later, but the important part right now is that if you don't want to receive emails from me after a certain point, you can either email me and tell me so, or simply do nothing. My manual method will eventually filter you out.

You see, building my email subscriber list will be dynamic. Everyone who replies to a newsletter (basically just an email) will be added to the next rotation. Everyone who votes in a poll will be added to the next list. If you are silent after a newsletter goes out, I won't immediately knock you off, for there could be tons of reasons why you don't respond. You might respond with the next email.

I'm going to use this manual method as a means to learn what to do and what not to do. And I'll need your help in doing so. I'll rely on comments, questions, critiscms, and the like. Tell me when I'm doing good, and question me when I'm not making sense. Tell me when I'm definitely not doing it right, but please be kind.

I'm going to be keeping an extensive spreadsheet.

I'll keep track of who is active with the newsletter and who isn't. I may email the non-responders occasionally, asking them a variety of things, including but not limited to: one, do you still want to receive the emails, and two, what can I do to improve the community?

This idea may fall flat on its face. I may shout from the roof tops for a while and get very few if any people to sign up. Time will tell. If you are reluctant to sign up, send me an email and tell me so.

"I'm not actually signing up," you could say, "but I wanted to tell you how stupid of an idea this is."

I'm fine with that. Maybe you could help me improve on the idea. Maybe you could help me work out the kinks.

But the opposite may also be true. This thing could grow to a point that I can't keep track of everything. There may not be enough hours in the day even if I weren't working outside the home. At that point I would have a couple of options. One, stop doing it manually and use one of the newsletter services online while still trying to maintain some sense of community. Or, two, stop making the list so dynamic. I may not be able to respond to every comment or action from a community member. Or I might have to change the way I do polls, surveys, and such.

At first, I want everything to be manual. I'll talk more about this when I get to Cover Wars, but in addition to a public vote via a poll on the blog, I want to engage subscribers via the newsletters. At the most basic level, that would be a subscriber replying to a newsletter, saying something to the effect of, "I like such and such cover for such and such reason."

And at first I will probably reply to each and every comment like that in an effort to build the community, to get to know people, but after a while, I will hopefully have to automate or streamline a thank you reply, picking and choosing what I reply to personally. For example, if I get a hundred replies to a newsletter, not everyone will get a personal, detailed reply from me. Seeing a reply posted on the blog might be thank you enough.

But that's enough rambling from me. I would like to get your thoughts.

Please email me at 

Remember: by emailing me you aren't automatically signing up for something. If anything, I want to keep the subscriber list small until I figure out what I'm doing. Let's have a conversation.

Once again, here's the email address:

Hope to hear from you soon. Peace.

True Goal of my Email Newsletter

One thing most experts agree upon is that to make it in online advertising, you need an email list. Entire books are devoted to this sort of thing. I've never actually read them, just seen them on Amazon. But I have read lots of blog posts.

Top 5 this, top 10 that, or 3 killer strategies for this or that .... Just about all blog posts that follow this pattern mention building email contacts. And I've done some of that. Between authors who have supported me financially by buying a promo post or paid for Twitter advertising and an actual email subscriber list, I've got more than 2,000 email addresses at my disposal.

For a while I did have a weekly newsletter. Most weeks anyway. Who am I kidding? I was doing good to get it out ... a couple times a month.

Part of the problem was that the newsletter was an afterthought. I put most of my energy into the website, composing and promoting upwards of six posts a day. And the newsletter wasn't the traffic creator that Twitter (and Triberr) were.

Things are a little different this time around. Most importantly, I'm not putting out 6 posts a day on the website. I don't even want to do that many even if the Masquerade Crew becomes my sole source of income again.

The reason for 6 posts each day was twofold. One, authors were paying for promos, interviews, and the like—hence, sole source of income. Two, there were lots of auxiliary posts, supporting all the various programs I was trying to juggle, such as Cover Wars and the Scavenger Hunt. Website traffic was the number one goal. That's why authors were willing to pay.

Since blog traffic isn't as important as it used to be, by far most of the tweets I send out are to directly link to books on Amazon. I've taken out the middle man—me. People don't need to go to the blog to find a book. They can click on a link in a tweet and go straight to the source. I think this is better promotion for the authors, anyway.

That presents a problem, though. Since I'm trying to build up the business again, how will I support the blog? I want to bring back Cover Wars, for instance. In fact, I want to do lots of fun stuff. Traffic from Twitter probably won't be enough. That's why I need to start publishing a newsletter again.

However, I don't want to just send out an occasional newsletter and that be the end of it. It's not going to be just a source of traffic. The true goal of my newsletter will be the building of a community, something I've never quite had.

Oh, the website had great traffic at one point, people returning time and time again. Cover Wars was especially good at getting return visitors. In fact, at one point I had an average of 300 unique visitors a day.

But it was still a one dimensional community in my opinion. People didn't comment much, for instance. Even on the posts I thought were worthy of comments. A discussion here and there, but it was rare.

I want to have a community this time around. I want to have discussions with interesting people. Sometimes conversations happen on Twitter in real time or a kind of staggered real time, but connecting these conversations with what's going on with the Masquerade Crew isn't as easy as you might think.

Usually I start conversations on Twitter by replying to someone's tweet. And those definitely have their place, even prompting a post on the blog on occasion. But it doesn't usually work the other way around. Casually inserting a plug for the website and some activity I'm promoting, such as Cover Wars, is awkward at the best of times.

The newsletter will be a good source to keep people up-to-date with what's going on with the website, but I also want it to be a place where I have conversations with people, bouncing off ideas, generating new ones, and any other way we can think of making the Masquerade Crew an active, community-driven environment.

I have ideas for the newsletter beyond simply regurgitating what's on the blog, but for now here's what I want you to do. If you are interested in getting the newsletter once it starts (hopefully in a week or so) and specifically being an active member of the Masquerade Crew community, send me an email.

That's it. No sign up form. Email the address I'm about to give you, saying you'd like to get the newsletter. If you have questions, comments, or suggestions concerning what I've discussed today, please share.

Here's the email address I will use for the community newsletter.

Hope to hear from you soon. OH, and stay tuned for more, specifically how this newsletter will be different from any other newsletter you've ever signed up for ... guaranteed. I hope so anyway. We'll see.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Top 5 Best Selling Books on Amazon

With a Twist ... There's no Pictures.
In other words...
Don't Judge a Book by its Cover!
Judge it by its Synopsis!


What does everyone in the modern world need to know? Renowned psychologist Jordan B. Peterson's answer to this most difficult of questions uniquely combines the hard-won truths of ancient tradition with the stunning revelations of cutting-edge scientific research.

Humorous, surprising and informative, Dr. Peterson tells us why skateboarding boys and girls must be left alone, what terrible fate awaits those who criticize too easily, and why you should always pet a cat when you meet one on the street.

What does the nervous system of the lowly lobster have to tell us about standing up straight (with our shoulders back) and about success in life? Why did ancient Egyptians worship the capacity to pay careful attention as the highest of gods? What dreadful paths do people tread when they become resentful, arrogant and vengeful? Dr. Peterson journeys broadly, discussing discipline, freedom, adventure and responsibility, distilling the world's wisdom into 12 practical and profound rules for life. 12 Rules for Life shatters the modern commonplaces of science, faith and human nature, while transforming and ennobling the mind and spirit of its readers.

Check out 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.


Most of us have heard of gluten—a protein found in wheat that causes widespread inflammation in the body. Americans spend billions of dollars on gluten-free diets in an effort to protect their health. But what if we’ve been missing the root of the problem? In The Plant Paradox, renowned cardiologist Dr. Steven Gundry reveals that gluten is just one variety of a common, and highly toxic, plant-based protein called lectin. Lectins are found not only in grains like wheat but also in the “gluten-free” foods most of us commonly regard as healthy, including many fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and conventional dairy products. These proteins, which are found in the seeds, grains, skins, rinds, and leaves of plants, are designed by nature to protect them from predators (including humans). Once ingested, they incite a kind of chemical warfare in our bodies, causing inflammatory reactions that can lead to weight gain and serious health conditions.

At his waitlist-only clinics in California, Dr. Gundry has successfully treated tens of thousands of patients suffering from autoimmune disorders, diabetes, leaky gut syndrome, heart disease, and neurodegenerative diseases with a protocol that detoxes the cells, repairs the gut, and nourishes the body. Now, in The Plant Paradox, he shares this clinically proven program with readers around the world.

The simple (and daunting) fact is, lectins are everywhere. Thankfully, Dr. Gundry offers simple hacks we easily can employ to avoid them, including:
  • Peel your veggies. Most of the lectins are contained in the skin and seeds of plants; simply peeling and de-seeding vegetables (like tomatoes and peppers) reduces their lectin content.
  • Shop for fruit in season. Fruit contain fewer lectins when ripe, so eating apples, berries, and other lectin-containing fruits at the peak of ripeness helps minimize your lectin consumption.
  • Swap your brown rice for white. Whole grains and seeds with hard outer coatings are designed by nature to cause digestive distress—and are full of lectins.  
With a full list of lectin-containing foods and simple substitutes for each, a step-by-step detox and eating plan, and delicious lectin-free recipes, The Plant Paradox illuminates the hidden dangers lurking in your salad bowl—and shows you how to eat whole foods in a whole new way.

Check out The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in Healthy Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain.


Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter is going on a camping trip with his dad in this classic, funny, and heartwarming book. Whether he and his dad are canoeing, fishing, or building a campfire, parents and children alike will relate to this beloved story. A perfect gift for Father’s Day . . . or any day!

Check out Just Me and My Dad (Little Critter).


The President Is Missing confronts a threat so huge that it jeopardizes not just Pennsylvania Avenue and Wall Street, but all of America. Uncertainty and fear grip the nation. There are whispers of cyberterror and espionage and a traitor in the Cabinet. Even the President himself becomes a suspect, and then he disappears from public view . . .

Set over the course of three days, The President Is Missing sheds a stunning light upon the inner workings and vulnerabilities of our nation. Filled with information that only a former Commander-in-Chief could know, this is the most authentic, terrifying novel to come along in many years.

Check out The President Is Missing: A Novel.


A deliciously funny, delectably shocking banquet of wild-but-true tales of life in the culinary trade from Chef Anthony Bourdain, laying out his more than a quarter-century of drugs, sex, and haute cuisine—now with all-new, never-before-published material.

Check out Kitchen Confidential Updated Edition: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.

#Authors, use the Masquerade Crew to direct attention to your book's Amazon page.

Got a book on Amazon?

Would you like more people to see it?

How does hundreds of tweets sound?

And just for five dollars.

Or just fifteen dollars where 
each tweet has a custom picture.

Like the following...

To read more about our 
book tweeting service, click here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

#Authors, I will tweet about your book on Amazon #marketing #promotion

"You can't sell books on Twitter," say the naysayers. 
But I say, "Hog wash!"

Monday, December 25, 2017

I really need your help.

I'm at a loss. I'm not sure what to do.

As is apparent from browsing this site for just a few seconds, I haven't done anything with it since October. The Masquerade Crew hasn't been completely silent. I've been promoting books (and the occasional other link) on Twitter.

I've been busy working at my convenience store job, and we are homeschooling our kids this year. There hasn't been a lot of time to work on the website. That hasn't necessarily changed, but every once in a while I get the urge to try again.

One thing I know for sure is that I don't want this site to be about book ads. And it was turning into that, so when personal things started getting in the way, I took a step back to refocus.

I turned off all tweets that pointed to this site. I focused on Amazon tweets. And these tweets run as intended. I could get authors to sign up for the tweet service if and when I get this site going again. Might even make a few dollars along the way (which is kind of necessary if I'm going to put any real amount of time into the venture).

But I want the site to be more than just that. I could put a post up advertising the tweet service, and that would be the extent of what this site is for. The small handful of authors who would sign up for the service each month would come to the site when they saw an appropriate promotional tweet advertising our tweet service.

But part of me wants more than that.

I could bring back cover wars and the scavenger hunt (with or without a giveaway), but I got burned out doing those ... or I simply didn't have time. I wouldn't mind trying again.

Since I am an Amazon affiliate, I could list similar products on Amazon (like a top ten list). Might make a few dollars from it. It would generate some traffic. Perhaps even a different kind of traffic, not just those looking for books. And once people are here, they might click on other things we do.

So, my question is, what should I do with this space?

What should become of the Masquerade Crew?

Part of me has always been against niche. I have so many likes and/or hobbies. Part of me says incorporate anything and everything into this space. For example: music, homeschool, or even random stuff we find online (putting internet searches to good use). It would become less about books, though I would always help indie authors, and many authors have been instrumental in keeping my interest in this site.

What do you think?

If this site turned into a buffet of topics (nearly anything appropriate goes), would you as an author consider advertising (as opposed to if it were centered strictly on books and writing)? If you wouldn't advertise in either case, do you at least see the value in presenting books next to topics that have nothing to do with the writing industry?

What sort of things would you like to see me do with this space?

Tell me so in the comments. Let's start a discussion.

Friday, October 20, 2017

The revolutionary theological theory of Pandeism. #anthology

Cover links to
The revolutionary theological theory of Pandeism, critically examined by authors of a wide variety of philosophical and faith traditions.

Pandeism: An Anthology

Edited by Knujon Mapson

Genre/Keyword(s): Non-Fiction, Anthology, Contemporary, Philosophy

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Total Freedom by @ReadMyBooks1 #romance

This post features the following book...

Debbie King. At 14 years old she was like other so many other 14 year olds - lacking confidence and maintaining belief that she was a nobody who would never know any happiness in her life. But after she meets someone so much like her, together they discover inner strengths in themselves, and a deep friendship that would be tested over and over again by events and other people coming into their lives, along with an ongoing uncertainty over what their relationship should really be like.

So many things they share, the greatest of all being their love of their enthusiasm and career as musicians, and yet still the ongoing question hovers over them - should they be together … as a couple?

Embark on a journey from the intense emotions of teenage years, and on through adult life eventualities such as marriage, parenting, post natal depression, and a never ending uncertainty about a life choice that eventually contributes to infidelity.

If you would like to be featured in a similar post,

see this post for details.

2 steps to get a free book ad.

Two easy steps to get featured in a post.

Step One

Retweet this!

Step Two

Mention a link of your book on Twitter.

Tweet: @MasqCrew I retweeted. Here's my book: [INSERT URL HERE]

(Make sure the URL link goes directly to your book on

After you do that, I'll do a quick post encouraging other authors to join in, mentioning your book.

For each author who participates, there will be a post with an ad like the following.

If enough authors participate, I'll do a group post at the end.

Help spread the word about The Masquerade Crew.

Thank you in advance.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Time travel anthologies on Amazon #timetravel #anthology

How to use an apostrophe #infographic (Tell us on Facebook)

Life is like a book... (Tell us on Facebook)

Which potion would you take? (Tell us on Facebook)

Friday, September 29, 2017

Thursday, September 28, 2017

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