Wonderful treat today! A guest blog by pirate author Misty Massey. Today she writes about the origins of the excellent website for writers: Magical Words.
Mad Kestrel by Misty Massey
Cool girl Pirate kicks butt!
In January of 2008, I was anticipating my first novel hitting shelves, and honestly panicking about how on earth to promote myself. I’d gone to several writer friends for advice, but much of what they did I couldn’t afford. I was a middle school librarian during the day, which didn’t pay a lot, and as a new author, my advance was more than I’d expected but nowhere close to making me rich. I just didn’t have the cash to buy personalized giveaway swag or sponsor contests. I went to tea with Faith Hunter, author of the Rogue Mage series and the Jane Yellowrock books, and shared my worries. As it happened, she and David B Coe, author of the Blood of the Southlands series, had recently been talking about the exact same thing. Over cups of hot tea we came up with the brilliant idea of a shared blog. It sounded simple and perfect! Each of us would post once a week, talking about writing and publishing and all the other things writing hopefuls always want to know about. Faith invited C E Murphy to join us, and she agreed. Fridays would be saved for special guest blogs or games. Hooray! We were so smart! We came up with pithy ideas for the blog’s name – if I’d had my way, it would have been called “Outside of a Dog”, but I think the group was wise to choose Magical Words instead. Simple, clear, to the point. My husband, a self-taught web designer, helped us set up the site and arranged the hosting, and away we went.
We had no idea where our little blog would take us.
At first, we had a few readers. Mostly people who already knew us, who occasionally dropped in and made comments. Some of our earliest posts were a little stilted, or weird. We were getting our feet under us, you might say. Eventually we had a pretty regular readership, people whose usernames became familiar because they came back week after week. We talked about all sorts of things, never forgetting to mention our books and those of our friends. We had special guests blog now and then, and we just had fun. There were growing pains, of course – the Year of Banning Naughty Commenters was definitely an emotional one. But the internet would not defeat us – oh no! We kept plugging away, even after C E Murphy had to step down from her regular spot. We brought in A J Hartley, author of the Will Hawthorne books, and Stuart Jaffe, of The Eclectic Review podcast to fill the void. And our membership grew more. At ConCarolinas 2010, we had enough Magical Words readers in attendance that we actually held a lunch gathering at a local restaurant. On Saturday night of the con, the MW bloggers met in Faith Hunter’s RV to talk business with our friend Ed Schubert, the editor of Intergalactic Medicine Show, who came on board as a regular poster in June. And something amazing happened. Our little inexpensive promotional tool gave birth that night to a writing how-to book (due sometime in December from BellaRosa Books) and a fiction anthology. These days there are also whispers of a Magical Words Con sometime down the road. There are 700+ people registered on the site (and a whole bunch more who lurk without telling us) so I won’t be surprised at all if a Con happens.
But all that pales in the face of the great time we have on the blog. This January we’ll begin our fourth year of blogging on Magical Words. Somehow we’re still finding things to talk about, and having a wonderful time doing it. I look back and I always smile. We could have ordered a bunch of swag that people would take home and then lose. Instead, we found a way to continually remind the public who we all are, and to give them something they can’t lose.
And it’s just plain fun.
My novel, Mad Kestrel, is available from Tor Books!