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  • 30 Jun 2021 9:33 PM | Leon Lazarus (Administrator)

    The 2021 NILA Writers Cider Toast writing conference will take place on August 7 and 8, 2021.

    The conference is a favorite of NILA alumni and is open to authors around the world, 

    There is a $60 fee to join the conference, and we suggest you go to the EventBrite page to learn more.

    To find links to the live Zoom events featuring Noah Lukeman, Geraldine Woods, Eric Witchey, Deb Lund, and more, visit:

    You can also find updates, community content, documents from speakers, insider scoops, and more at the their Facebook group linked below:

  • 30 Jun 2021 3:49 AM | Rick Lakin, Webmaster (Administrator)
    The San Diego Union-Tribune Festival of Books
    Virtual Event Series

    Join The San Diego Union-Tribune this Thursday, July 1 at 12:30 p.m. PDT with author Kawai Strong Washburn on Facebook. Moderated by Phyllis Pfeiffer of the La Jolla Light. 

    Kawai Strong Washburn

    Kawai Strong Washburn was born and raised on the Hamakua coast of Hawaii’s Big Island. His work has appeared in Best American Nonrequired Reading, McSweeney’s and Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading, among other outlets. He now lives with his wife and daughters in Minneapolis. “Sharks in the Time of Saviors” is his first novel.

    Purchase “Sharks in the Time of Saviors” on

    For more information, visit
    Kawai Strong Washburn's Sharks in the Time of Saviors

    Upcoming Virtual Events 


    July 8 at 11 a.m. PDT – Children’s storytime with Rob Machado

    July 15 at 12:30 p.m. PDT - Author Q&A with Kelly Senyei, “The Secret Ingredient Cookbook” and Sam Zien, “Sam the Cooking Guy: Recipes with Intentional Leftovers”

    July 22 at 11 a.m. PDT – Children’s storytime with Taylor Knox

    July 29 at 11 a.m. PDT - Children’s storytime with Kristina Audencial

    For more info, click here


    AUG. 21, 2021

    For more information, visit

    Sign up for our newsletter!

    Brought to you by

    The San Diego Union-Tribune
    Stats Digital

  • 28 Jun 2021 3:40 AM | Rick Lakin, Webmaster (Administrator)

    Ready to make a new friend? What about a little good, old-fashioned pen-pal friendship? SDMWA is inviting members to get to know each other through the art of snail mail. If you would like to participate, BEFORE JULY 1, please fill out this Google Form:

    We will be matchmaking before July 1 based on your interests and responses. By participating, you commit to sending one letter or postcard a month to your Pen Pal, though we're sure you'll be inspired by your new friendship to send more!

    Thank you all,



      Marni Freedman 

  • 24 Jun 2021 9:40 AM | Andrea Glass (Administrator)

    Author Tim Grahl knows what he’s talking about when it comes to book marketing. For more than a decade, he’s helped hundreds of authors market their books, many of which have become bestsellers. What Tim does that countless other authors of the dozens of book marketing books I’ve read don’t do is simplify the process. He shows new and seasoned authors a clear marketing path to success.

    In this recently revised second edition, Tim uses the example of two authors, a compilation of those he’s worked with. One is a first-timer, the other more seasoned and we follow along on their marketing journeys.

    The Connection System

    Having a system and using the right tools is Tim’s approach to book marketing, beginning with building a platform to build a fan base. His three-part system includes permission to stay in touch with people, content that lets people know you’re a good fit for them, and outreach which is how you let people know you exist.


    The best permission tool is email, which Tim proves by statistics that show how it outperforms social media. What’s really helpful is he gives templates for the first three emails to send after you sign up a subscriber. He also gives clear directions on how to get people to sign up for your mailing list, which is often a challenge for most new authors.


    Tim discusses many ways we can create content, and his examples gave me so many new ideas. Repurposing content into a variety of formats is so smart since people learn in different ways: written, audio, or video. I love that he addresses the issue many authors fear: that giving away too much free content will diminish book sales. Tim says it’s the opposite: the free content attracts followers who are engaged with the content and want more, whatever the author has. That’s how authors build a fan base.


    This is the scary part for most new authors: asking for help and being willing to get a “no” or no response at all. Tim makes it easy to reach out to an author’s ideal reader (persona) as well as others who may be able to help authors promote their book. His comprehensive list of how to find your personas and influencers and templates of emails to send for contact make these tasks less frightening. I appreciate his tip about asking for referrals whether or not your request results in a positive or negative response.

    Tim also provides a huge list on his website through a link in the book with many valuable resources. After reading Your First 1000 Copies, I felt I had a blueprint to build a fan base of avid readers who would buy my book, write great reviews, and tell others about it. All I had to do was follow Tim’s suggestions and I had a roadmap to success. I’ve already started the process by building my website and setting up my opt-in and email sequence. I can’t wait for my fabulous results.

    Tim Grahl, Author of Your First 1000 Copies

    Tim Grahl is the founder of [Out:think], a firm that helps authors build their platforms, connect with readers and sell more books. He is the author of Your First 1000 Copies: The Step-by-Step Guide to Marketing Your Book and works with many of the top authors in the world including Hugh Howey, Daniel Pink, Dan and Chip Heath, Barbara Corcoran and many more. He has launched multiple New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books.

    Through his work with more than 100 authors across all genres, Tim has learned and practiced the secrets behind successful marketing campaigns and teaches these strategies and techniques through his website at

    Andrea Glass, SDWEG Editor

    Andrea Susan Glass, CEO of WritersWay, is a book coach, copy editor, and award-winning ghostwriter specializing in personal and professional development books. She teaches “Marketing for Copy editors” and “Building a Business Around Writing” for UCSD Extension and gives webinars and workshops on writing and publishing. Andrea is the bestselling author of Your Fabulous First Book: How to Write with Clarity, Confidence & Connection and the soon-to-be-published My Fabulous First Book: A Workbook Companion.

    Andrea is a long-time member of the San Diego Writers and Editors Guild and is a website contributor.

  • 24 Jun 2021 4:38 AM | Rick Lakin, Webmaster (Administrator)

    Before I retired, I spent a good deal of time taking part in online webinars to keep current with new media trends. One resource I discovered is leadership and culture coach Christine Comaford, who for 30 years has been helping leaders navigate growth and change using her expertise in human behavior and applied neuroscience.

    Applied neuroscience. What a wonderful term. Not just neuroscience, but applied neuroscience.

    In her presentations, Comaford simplifies the functions of the human brain by focusing on three different areas she refers to as the reptilian brain, the mammalian brain, and the pre-fontal and neo-cortex which she refers to as the executive brain.

    Simplifying even further, she assigns a question to each of the three areas. The reptilian brain deals with the question “am I safe?” The mammalian brain addresses “do I belong?” and the executive brain concerns itself with “do I matter?”

    These three questions are useful considering when viewing marketing messages and even the news. Marketing messages or news stories that focus on fear of your surroundings address the reptilian brain. Those that focus on differences between you and others address the mammalian brain. Understanding this can help raise your thinking above these lower functions by shifting attention to the executive function question of mattering.

  • 20 Jun 2021 6:09 AM | Rick Lakin, Webmaster (Administrator)


    There’s a huge change coming in September – once again being driven by Apple – which could have a pretty major effect on how we sell books. And to all readers, not just Apple Books customers. 

    It’s a genuinely big deal so I’m going through it in detail for you today. This is a long, substantive email and I urge you to read it carefully because there is going to be panic about these changes, and probably a steaming pile of hot-takes too with dumb headlines like “Email marketing is dead.”

    Before we get to that, one small but very necessary bit of housekeeping – which will become very relevant to the above in a moment.

    Whitelist Me Now Or Lose Me Forever

    Many of you didn’t get my last email. 

    I can always tell when something drops into Promotions (or worse) because my open rate drops around 15%. I typically get an open rate of 55%+ on this list for each campaign send, and if it drops to something like 42% then I know there’s an issue. While I usually test for this in advance, sometimes one will slip through the net.

    This quick process should ensure you always get my emails: whitelist my email address by following these instructions. It only takes a minute.

    BTW, it’s a good idea for you to do this periodically with your own lists, as well as at least once during your onboarding process. 

    (I will give you examples of how to do this in a future email as we are going to be talking about email marketing a fair bit this summer for reasons that will soon become clear.)

    You will never get massive uptake on whitelisting – it’s not exactly sexy – but it is something you only need to get (some) readers to do once and then the benefits accumulate over time across your entire list. 

    Definitely one of those situations where every little helps.

    (To be clear: this is your personal choice, nothing will happen if you don't whitelist me, you just might miss some important emails... which you presumably want to receive if you are on this mailing list!)

    With that amuse-bouche scoffed, let’s move on to the rather troubling main course.

    Apple To Block Email Open Tracking

    Apple held its annual developer shindig last week and amidst all the usual glitzy new features was one which had marketers scrambling. 

    The next update from Apple – iOS 15 – will contain something called the Mail Protection Privacy, which will block email open tracking

    Virtually all email opens on Apple phones and tablets are routed through Apple Mail (often even if you are using Gmail), and around half email opens on Apple desktop devices go via Apple Mail as well, this is huge news – especially as other players are expected to follow. 

    Indeed, a Google spokesperson confirmed that they are looking at similar changes.

    This genuinely is a major development for anyone that has a mailing list – and not a positive one – so let’s break down what this all means, and what you should do about it. 

    There's no reason to panic, but there definitely is reason to take action - and the window to do that effectively is limited.

    How Open Tracking Works

    Email Marketing Services like MailerLite or ConvertKit provide us with data so that we know how our lists are performing - and open rates are the most important, followed by click rates.

    This data is essential for knowing how campaigns are doing, if readers are opening your messages and clicking the links, whether a new batch of subscribers are performing well, if a welcome sequence is keeping readers engaged, or alerting you to when a new release email drops into Spam or Promotions, and many more besides.

    The way open tracking works is this: your email marketing service inserts a tiny image the size of a pixel into each of your emails, and when that pixel “fires” – i.e. when it is loaded on the recipient’s device – an open is registered on your dashboard.

    From September, Apple will start blocking that process. Direct from Apple: 

    "In the Mail app, Mail Privacy Protection stops senders from using invisible pixels to collect information about the user. The new feature helps users prevent senders from knowing when they open an email, and masks their IP address so it can’t be linked to other online activity or used to determine their location."

    While Mail Privacy Protection won't be an automatic default, users will be prompted to adopt it (and if figures around the Facebook changes are any guide, we can expect around 80% of users to follow Apple's prompts).

    Just to underline how many users will be affected: most of them are using the Apple Mail app, even if they don’t realise it – when you hook up that generic looking envelope pre-loaded on your home screen to something like Gmail, your messages are still being routed via the Apple Mail app, and your email open tracking will be blocked for anyone who updates to iOS 15 and follows Apple's prompting.

    And there's one final twist: Apple will actually report an open on every email that passes through Apple Mail in iOS15, so if you aren't aware of these changes, you might see a spike in your open rates and think your list performance is improving, when the opposite could be true.

    In other words, it's going to make a mess of all your data, not just the big chunk of your subscribers using Apple devices. (I guarantee you this point will be missed in a lot of commentary on this, so keep it in mind.)

    Click tracking works differently, I should add, and it looks like that will be spared (for now). 

    But that doesn’t soften the blow very much. 

    How Does This Compare To Recent Apple/Facebook Changes?

    Some observers are comparing this to the recent changes in iOS14.5 which crippled Facebook’s ability to collect data on users of Apple devices. But let me explain why this move on email open tracking is a much bigger deal.

    The changes in iOS14.5, aimed at Facebook, got a lot more media coverage but – for most authors at least – they turned out to be a bit of a damp squib. 

    Unless you were a heavy user of the Facebook Pixel or the Audience Network, and unless you were a wide author or otherwise had a disproportionate amount of Apple users in your target audience, you might not have noticed much more than what I saw: a shrinking of some Pixel-based custom audiences, a reduction in the size of some interest audiences, and a moderate increase in CPC.

    In plain English, the changes only really impacted more advanced users of Facebook Ads and the impact was not as bad as feared… so far. And the reason why is directly relevant to how the impact on email open tracking might play out.

    I was chatting to a friend at Facebook about all this recently, and he pointed out that only around a sixth of Apple users had upgraded to iOS 14.5 a month after its release

    Of course, those numbers will rise over time, but this is very useful to know – because it means that the impact of Apple’s changes won’t bite all at once this September. Rather, it will be a slow gnawing of the rope.

    This gives us more time to adapt. And we’re going to need it!

    How Will Email Marketing Services React?

    I have no idea - honestly. This is all pretty new and while some of them surely predicted this was coming, I’m sure they are all scrambling now to get their hands on a beta of iOS 15 to see what they can do in practical terms.

    I’ve seen a few potential solutions mooted: there has been talk of Open Rates going away as a metric and being replaced with some kind of predicted or estimated number, using the remaining trackable users on your list and extrapolating from that to cover the gaping hole created by Apple, but it’s all up in the air right now.

    And that sounds like a sticking plaster to me, rather than a bona fide solution. However, I don’t think there is a magic way to fix this.

    Also, Email Marketing Services might be reticent to invest too heavily in solving this problem right now for understandable reasons: others will probably follow Apple’s lead. So I would expect those sticking plasters to abound in the short term. Because the long term trends all point one direction.

    The Age of “Privacy” Is Here

    Marketers may well look back at the last two decades as the Golden Age of Data because the trends right now are obvious. Apple nixed Facebook data tracking in April, and will take aim at email open tracking in September. Google are taking the axe to cookies in 2022. And regulators around the world are nipping at the heels of all the big tech companies to do much more again.

    All the tech companies will tell you this is about privacy, but as someone who used to work for a big tech company, I can tell you this is highly dubious.

    Apple is still collecting tons of data on its users; it’s just not sharing it with Facebook anymore. And Apple will still be monetizing that user data – just in different ways. 

    For me, Apple’s move (and Google’s next year) is more to do with building the walls of its garden higher and boosting its App Store and associated ad platform. 

    Apple wants less people on the internet and more inside apps – where it gets 30% on all transactions, and where companies will increasingly need to be discovered in the App Store... on Apple's own ad platform.

    It’s kind of ironic that all these moves to hold Big Tech accountable and reduce their power and increase our privacy will, most likely, solidify the position of Big Tech and make it harder for other companies to challenge their hegemony (and do little for privacy), but that’s a rant for another day.

    Whatever our personal feelings on these moves and these companies, authors are mere leaves in the wind of these forces which blow through our industry; all we can do is adapt to the changes as best we can.

    Is Email Marketing Dead?

    You’re going to read a lot of thinkpieces with silly headlines like that over the summer, but there is no point overreacting here. 

    The change sucks for anyone who uses that data to build their business and get better at email, but it doesn't reduce the power of email marketing one bit. It just makes it harder to optimize and raise your email game.

    There's also no point getting mad at Apple because if they didn't make this move, someone else would have. I actually expected this - it was kind of inevitable the way things were trending, it just happened faster than I expected.

    I'd rather attack this problem in a positive way. 

    So let me summarize what all this means for authors specifically, especially those of us for whom email marketing is an important plank in our operations. Or what I think this means. Remember, this is all new; no one has had much time to digest it yet:

    1. Email open tracking is going away whether we like it or not.
    2. This will make it much harder to measure performance of campaigns and subscribers.
    3. Email Marketing Services will probably come up with solutions., but they won’t be great and probably will be temporary as the blocking of open tracking becomes industry standard.
    4. It will have a huge impact on aggressive list-building strategies in particular.
    5. List-culling will become way trickier.
    6. All this will happen gradually… so you have time. But it is coming.
    7. If you were planning some list-building, now is a very good time.
    8. And if you were putting list-culling on the long finger… perhaps rethink that as the window to do that effectively might only be a few months.

    If you want one takeaway it is this: the time to get good at email is nowbecause it’s going to get harder next year. 

    But this distinction is critical: email marketing will still be the most powerful tool at your disposal. It's just going to get harder to monitor your performance in key areas - so now is the time to address any shortcomings you may have. Because you are going to be flying somewhat blind soon.

    In other words, if you were deciding between a variety of things to pursue on the marketing side, bump email-related activities up the list. I’m certainly going to be doubling down on email for fiction and non-fiction for the rest of the year - while I can still get useful data on whatever I'm trying.

    What this means for this newsletter is simple: we are going to focus a lot on email marketing this summer.

    Starting next week, I’ll give you some resources to help with everything I've discussed here – this email is long enough! 

    Just make sure that you followed the whitelisting instructions above because the next emails from me will likely have quite a few images and links, and that can make an email drop into Promotions or Spam.

    Because soon I won’t be able to tell…


    P.S. Writing music this week is Joni Mitchell with All I Want.

  • 20 Jun 2021 4:11 AM | Rick Lakin, Webmaster (Administrator)

    The following article is adapted from a wonderful newsletter shared recently by Steve O’Keefe, author of Set the Page on Fire: Secrets of Successful Writers. It outlines ten ways you can promote your books on Amazon—as well as ten ways you SHOULD promote your books on Amazon.

    1. Register, Claim, and Fix Your Amazon Author Page

    Amazon Author Central ( enables you to register as a book author and claim your books. You can add a blog feed (from your main author blog), videos, photos, a bio, and more. Steve wrote a detailed article for IBPA on how to claim and complete your author page here:

    An Amazon author page can act as your home page on the internet (if you like to use it for that purpose). From there you can promote yourself as an author, talk show guest, consultant, expert, speaker, and more.

    Steve O’Keefe’s Amazon author page:

    John Kremer’s author page:

    2. Fix Your Amazon Book Pages

    You can control the content on the pages for your books. Amazon provides six bins you can fill with content, including Editorial Reviews, Inside Flap Copy, Back Cover Copy, and About the Author. You can put anything you want into those bins, within reason, such as excerpts, reviews, special offers, rights information, tour schedule, etc.

    But don’t be annoying or too aggressive. And don’t link to any site outside of Amazon (Amazon does not like to send people outside of itself when people are reading about books to buy).

    3. Add a Media Kit to Your Website

    A good media kit, the key to promoting your book to a variety of audiences, is foundational content for a book website. Your kit should contain a single-page printable summary with Contact Info, Book Summary, Author Summary, Book Cover, Author Photo, and META data such as dimensions, pages, ISBN, etc.

    Steve recommends an index to Best Lines, Power Paragraphs, and Best Excerpts, along with Keynames, Keyplaces, and Keywords. You should also include and update Author Endorsements and Book Endorsements. And, of course, you can add all that onto your Amazon Book and Author pages.

    Check out this wonderfully complete media kit for Words Whispered in Water

    4. Review Books on Amazon

    Review books in your field, books you like, books you’ve just read, books Amazon associates with your book (both in the Amazon ads as well as on your book pages), and books by authors Amazon associates with you. When you do a review, always link your name to your Amazon Author Page and your book title to your Amazon Book Page.

    You don’t have to write long reviews, but you should show that you read the book (or at least scanned it). A one-sentence review can often get more attention and be more effective. Most important, make sure your review enhances your credibility as well as the credibility for your book.

    Besides reviewing books on Amazon, you can also post your book reviews to GoodReads, Facebook, Twitter, your website, and more. Again, with links to your Amazon Author Page and Amazon Book Page.

    Note: If you start doing effective book reviews that help sell books, you can ask for review copies from the publicity department of book publishers.

    Here is Steve’s book review page on Amazon:

    For the other six points in this article, go to

    After you finish reading the other six points, subscribe for the free version of my book marketing newsletter or upgrade for a small price to the paid version with extra issues, free books, free audios, and free videos—all to help you sell more books. - John Kremer

    Visit The Book Marketing Network at:

  • 17 Jun 2021 4:35 AM | Rick Lakin, Webmaster (Administrator)

    by Sandra Yeaman

    The United Nations designated June 20 each year as World Refugee Day in order to highlight the needs, rights, and desires of refugees who have fled their homes in order to escape persecution and conflict. The goal is to keep the focus on the plight of refugees until ways to improve their lives are found so that they not only survive but thrive.

    The first observation of World Refugee Day was in 2001, to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees.

    Refugees face a number of challenges even after they have managed to escape the countries they left because of persecution, conflict, natural disaster, or other circumstances that interfere with public order. Outside of the environments they knew, finding a doctor or schools for their children or safe areas for their children to play are new challenges. Resettlement to a permanent location may take years, putting refugees in a state of limbo with regard to their education, health, and safety.

    This year’s UN Refugee Agency’s theme for World Refugee Day is Together We Heal, Learn, and Shine which emphasizes the power of inclusion. Whether refugees are in temporary camps or have been resettled into permanent residences, making sure they receive high quality health care, education for both children and adults, and opportunities to participate in sports and other creative activities is essential to creating a path for them to contribute to society.

    World Refugee Day offers us all an opportunity to build our empathy for others through sharing the stories of refugees, especially the stories of their successes, such as those linked below.

    For more information about how you can get involved in observing World Refugee Day in a meaningful way, check out the UNHCR’s website. You can also join in a Facebook Live Panel Discussion, Welcoming Refugees on Friday, June 18, at 9 a.m. PDT.

  • 13 Jun 2021 4:36 PM | Leon Lazarus (Administrator)

    Submissions open for the Memoir Showcase on June 20. Please follow the submission guidelines.  Pieces that are too long will not be considered.

    IMPORTANT: Give your piece a unique title. DO NOT title it the theme. The judging process is blind and we use the unique title to identify your piece.

    Submissions are open: June 20

    Submissions are closed:  August 15

    Theme for 2020:  But I’m Still Here 

    Note:  Feel free to interpret this theme in any way that sparks your interest.

    Length:  Pieces should be 5 pages or less.  Double spaced, 12-point font.

    Submission Fee:

    $30 for 1

    $50 for 2

    $65 for 3

    $85 for 4

    To Submit: Go to , click on the Memoir Showcase page and you will be prompted to upload your information and your piece. 

    How the Memoir Showcase works:

    Submissions will be read and judged by a panel of judges.  The winning pieces will be selected (top 10 submissions) and notified by the middle of September.

    Winning Writers will be assigned a writing coach.  Writers will work with their writing coach to refine their theme, and then cut or polish their piece for approximately one month. Note:  If you do not want to refine, cut or polish your piece with a writing coach, then this is not a good contest for you to enter.  

    The director will hold auditions and select actors and actresses. Writers will then meet for a roundtable read of their pieces with their selected professional actor/actress and their director.  Writers will have the opportunity to hear their piece read and offer input during a collaborative discussion.

    The director will take the notes from the collaborative roundtable and work with the actor/actress.  

    The pieces will be performed in October at North Coast Repertory.

  • 8 Jun 2021 3:25 PM | Rick Lakin, Webmaster (Administrator)

    Do You Want to Be On the Zoom Portion Of the June 15 Book Club?

    Just click on the submission button below, send us a YES, and we will get you all signed up!



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