Pay it Forward Thursday: PAY DAY Christina Jones and Newsletters

So I had a collaboration booked for this week with We Drink Because we’re Poets but something came up with on their end so the collaboration was unable to happen but watch for it in the upcoming months!

Stuck in a short time crunch and wanting to help some one on my Pay Day Thursday I thought it a great opportunity to introduce you all to Christina Jones.

Christina approached me recently asking to interview me for her upcoming news letter and I agreed.

The interview will be available in July and you if you are interested in learning more about me and my journey to becoming the blogger that I am today please sign up for her newsletter to read the interview.  I asked Christina about the process of developing a newsletter as I do not have one for my blog and it is something that I am interested in doing.

Given the free block of time I felt it a great opportunity to give Christina some exposure and to interview her as well.

www.ChristinaJonesWriter.com

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Christina Jones:

I started writing when I was a little kid. I used to write stories that went along with my stick figure drawings. Of course, my parents told me that I was brilliant. I never thought of making a career out of it at that point.

As I got older, I would write to escape life. Writing became my outlet. At this point, I knew that writing was an option in life but it was something so special to me that I believed if I were to make a career of it, I would end up hating it. So, life took some turns and I went to college for Nursing. A few more turns later, I’m back around to writing and I know that this is my talent and passion.

I think that most writers feel like there is something missing in life. At least, I do. So, I write the missing parts. I write life. Writing fills a space inside of myself that nothing else can. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t write.

This isn’t my first blogging endeavor. Like most things, I experienced failure before even a small success. After my failed blogging attempts, I went back to the drawing board. I narrowed blogging down to two words: passion and mission. I knew that I needed to fill my blog with nothing but what I’m passionate about and my mission was and is to help others. So, here I am.

As for my long-term goals, I want to publish a novel. This is quite a cliche’ answer but isn’t that what most writers want? I’m in the editing trenches with one book and writing another. My goal is to publish them both but I will settle for just one. My other goal is simple. I just want to help other writers succeed . Writing is difficult. Getting published is difficult. If we all help each other along the way, it get’s a little easier.

Christina, you approached me asking to interview me for your upcoming News Letter (which I agreed to).  Why me? 

I’ve been following your blog for a while now and I honestly enjoy your writing. I feel like you have something of value to offer your readers. Also, your blog seems to be taking off pretty quickly. I figured that you would have some valuable advice for both your readers and mine.

I have yet to start a News Letter for my community, it is something that interests me.  Can you share how you went about setting up your newsletter?   

Of course. I used Mail Chimp. They offer a free newsletter service. At least, it’s free until you hit past the 2,000 subscribers. Then, it’s a minimal fee based on the number in your email list.

They offer tons of templates for your newsletter or you can create your own. They have templates for every sign up form you may need and sending the newsletter out is a breeze.

The only thing that you really have to do is convince people to sign up.

Have you had positive feedback since you started it?  Has it been difficult to get subscribers?  If so how have you overcome that obstacle? 

The first time that I sent out a newsletter I had very few subscribers but I got positive feedback. The issue was that my current blog was failing.

Now that I am finally on the right track with this blog, I foresee it being a larger success.  However, for some reason getting people to sign up for a newsletter is harder than one might think. I haven’t exactly figured out why, yet. Maybe they don’t like the extra step of having to click a link and put in their email address. Maybe the readers can give us some insight into this.

The best advice that I can give about getting people to actually subscribe would be to spread the word. Tell everyone about it. Announce it to your readers frequently and make the sign up link easily accessible.

Can you give people like me some pointers on how to start up a successful newsletter? 

I have found some great tips along the way. The first and most important thing about creating a newsletter that is subscribe-worthy is to have exclusive content. If you’re going to regurgitate everything that is on your blog, why would they want to sign up? The second best piece of advice that I can give is not to clutter it up. This really applies to most anything. People want good content but they don’t want too much content. If they are overwhelmed by the amount of text on the page, you may lose a subscriber.

Lastly, give links to previous blog posts. This helps both you and your readers. For example, if your newsletter has an article about publication trends and you’ve previously wrote a post with tips on submitting your work for publication; leave a link to it below the article.

You mentioned above a few failed attempts at blogging.  How would you define ‘failed’? 

That’s a really good question.  Failure can come in all shapes and sizes. The same applies to success. My previous blogs had a few problems but the main one was lack of focus. I was all over the place with my topics. Oops! My number of followers never seemed to grow. There was no reader interaction. It just seemed like whatever I was writing, wasn’t getting seen and that’s the entire point of a blog, right?

It’s not all about the numbers but if it seems like you’re talking to yourself, it may be time to evaluate what you are doing.

In short, they failed because I failed to reach others.

Why did you decide to restart a new blog rather than keep at the first one? 

Well, sometimes it’s best to just start fresh and new. You know when you get that feeling that something is just over and it’s time to give up? That’s what happened. I needed to wipe the slate clean and regroup my thoughts and that’s when I began thinking about my ‘mission’. I brought something different to this blog. I brought focus. That’s what I was missing all along.

What do you consider a successful blog?  What is success to you? 

A successful blog is one that reaches other people. You don’t have to have thousands of readers to be successful but when you get that first reader that comments and says, “Thank you, You’ve really helped me,” then you’ve had some success. I learned early on that life is more about quality than quantity. It just so happens that my previous blogs had neither of those things. Ha!

As for complete success, that’s a really hard question. I’m still working at figuring that out everyday. I think if you get to do what you love everyday, enjoy life and go to bed with a smile; you’re doing pretty good.

You mentioned that you are in the editing process of your book (congrats! Writing a book is a big accomplishment!), I am a few months away from that point.   How has the process been for you? 

Thank you. It’s been crappy. Ha! Editing is the least fun part of everything. At least, it is for me. It may have something to do with my personal writing process. I don’t edit ANYTHING while I am writing. I literally just put every thought down. My first drafts are always terrible. So, I’m spending a lot of time reading back my words and saying to myself, “wow, you’re an idiot”. Haha. The worst part of it all? Knowing that there will probably be a second, third and maybe even a fourth edit before I’m ready to query any publisher.

What is your book about? 

Matthew’s life is interrupted by his parent’s divorce, His alcoholic father soon disappears and his mother remarries someone with even bigger issues.

Sarah is a troubled young girl with a lot of secrets. Together, Matthew and Sarah find solace and hope but Matthew soon finds himself struggling with an addiction that destroys more than his relationship.

In hopes of breaking the cycle, he enlists in the military, leaving behind everything and everyone that he knows. Then, an unexpected person comes back into his life. Can he find healing and forgiveness when he needs it the most?

This is my working summary. It will probably change and get better. At least, I hope it does.

When can we expect it? 

Hopefully, sometime in this century. Ha! Seriously, I am hoping to be finished with my first edit by summer’s end. Depending on how many more edits are needed, I’m shooting to start querying by the first of the coming year.

Well I look forward to reading your book when it’s available!  Thank you for taking an interest in my blogging and approaching me for an interview. I’m glad that this opportunity came up to help promote your blog and to let people get to know you a little better.  Thank you for the useful information on how to set up a  newsletter! Yet, another thing on my ‘to-do’ list!
To read the interview between myself and Christina you can sign up for her monthly news letter on her blog and through this link: http://eepurl.com/oUvyP

Please check out Christina Jones at www.ChristinaJonesWriter.com

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15 comments

  1. Christina

    Thank you so much for the opportunity to work with you. I love collaborating with other writers. It’s always so interesting to see what fuels the words that come out of them. 🙂

  2. Pingback: An Interview With ME | Seventeen 20
  3. Michele D'Acosta

    Thank you so much for this feature on Christina. Really appreciated her freshness, honesty and passionate approach to her work and life. Took to heart her advice on setting up a newsletter (Like you, this is another bullet point on the To Do list). Now I have the pleasure of reading her interview with you and subscribing to Christina’s newsletter. Congratulations and continued success for Jennifer and Christina 🙂

      • Michele D'Acosta

        Hi Jennifer, I really loved the post. Christina is beautiful and I just visited her blog and I’m excited to read more of her work. Jennifer, you’re doing the most amazing service with your blog. Can’t thank you enough. Peace and blessings, Michele

  4. Sahm King

    On behalf of We Drink Because We’re Poets, my apologies for the causation of the time crunch. While this is wholly unprofessional of us, we, unfortunately, have no control over extenuating circumstances. Still, I feel particularly bad that we had to do this. That said, this is very pleasing, that in the time crunch, there is an opportunity to be used, and not wasted, to not only highlight another blogger – which I believe we must all care to do (because what is blogging without bloggers?) – but to learn. I, myself, after having read this, have learned quite a bit, and though we would have very much liked to have taken advantage of the opportunities that you present to we bloggers via your Pay Day Thursdays, you have also endeavored to display your prowess at highlighting pertinent methods, which may be of good and noble use to bloggers who wish to grow their communities. I’ve often wondered, myself, what it takes to be involved with a newsletter. This offers a concise enough overview and prompts me to learn more about the subject. For that, you have my thanks. Christina most definitely has something to offer readers, and I think I shall follow her henceforth, as well as sign up for the newsletter!

    Very awesome post!

    • Jennifer Writings of a Mrs

      I’m so glad to hear that you will be subscribing to Christinas News Letter 🙂
      She pulled all of this together last minute which I am thankful for.

      I look forward to our collaboration when it happens. I thought this might be a good way to let others know that it will be in the future as there is no listing as to what to expect with the upcoming Pay Days 🙂

      • Sahm King

        Thank you in kind, Christina! I can appreciate what you’re doing. I like the glimpses of your views on community. Success to you in your endeavors, and I’ll definitely be paying attention to your blog! 🙂

  5. Pingback: Answer Me | Seventeen 20

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