Newsletter 20220815 Stephen Gordon

My New Normal

I work in 8 week sprints.

  • 6 weeks project work
  • 1 week admin
  • 1 week off

The current sprint started on 11th July but two weeks before that my wife and I caught Covid. It affected us in different ways. Kirsten experienced intense illness for two weeks, while I had nasty flu-like symptoms for about the same time. 

Then the fatigue kicked in.

I went from too ill to sleep to sleeping 14 to 16 hours a day, but always feeling tired. My target was 2,500 words a day for a 70,000 word post-apocalyptic novel. I’ve averaged 750 words. The ‘Build an Author Website’ course should be published by now, but it’s not.

I say that right now my energy levels are about 40% less than they used to be. I’d assumed that once I’d tested negative, I’d get back to normal. Turns out Covid doesn’t always work like that. Kirsten has powered back to her pre-covid self, but I’ve got energy sapping fatigue.

It’s most likely part of the usual 12 week recovery process from Covid and way too early to bug the doctors about a long covid diagnosis, but in the meantime I’m making lifestyle changes to claw back my energy. 

Nothing earth shattering. A change of diet, lots of water, adjustments to my daily routine and total power down of work and devices at 6pm every night. It’s already making a difference and I’m enjoying the quiet pace of this new normal. I’m all about keeping the drama on the page.


This week is admin and prep for the next sprint. The next fiction project is to self-edit a complete first draft into a finished novel ready for beta readers.

I don’t have a set editing method so previous efforts have been messy with varied results, so I’m happy I’m going into this round of edits armed with the new Edito Deck. Edito is a new set of cards from Italian publishers Sefirot that breaks editing down into a process that highlights flaws in a manuscript for the author to resolve.

I’ve spent the past week reading the guide and watching a tutorial on how to use the deck. Edito establishes an editing mindset with pre-revision tasks before guiding the user through 3 revisions. Each revision investigates different aspects of the manuscript, challenging the author to make the story and its presentation better.

Before diving into 70,000 word manuscript, I’m using Edito on a short story which I need for the next part of this newsletter.

Writers Building Websites

Once I’ve edited the short story, I’m posting it for direct sale on my website. Although it’s a single short story, there’s a lot going on in the background as this establishes a complete sales funnel for all future ebooks and digital downloads from the site.

  1. A visitor buys the short story direct from the WordPress/WooCommerce website
  2. After purchase the customer sees a thank you page with secure download links for the PDF and ePub formats of the short story
  3. WooCommerce also emails the customer an invoice with secure download links and a note to keep a copy of the email for future downloads

I do all of this within WordPress and WooCommerce with no need for 3rd party services such as BookFunnel, Payhip or StoryOrigin. There is nothing wrong with these services, but I want to keep everything on the author website with no 3rd party costs.

There’s also an opportunity here to encourage the new customer to become a reader and a newsletter subscriber. It is possible to configure follow up emails from WooCommerce, but that requires coding or paid plugins for advanced email features. Far better to hand that task over to Mailerlite, Sendy or, in this case, Moosend to do what they do best.

  1. WooCommerce securely sends the customer’s email and first name to a specific mailing list on Moosend via Pabbly Connect (a much lower cost alternative to Zapier)
  2. Joining this mailing list triggers a 2 email welcome sequence. 
  3. The first email has guidance on how to access the short story with links to an FAQ page and a request to email me if they have any further issues. 
  4. The second (and final) email 24 hours later checks to make sure the reader got the short story and a pitch to join the main mailing list just by clicking a link in the message.
  5. At the end of that sequence, Moosend removes the customer from the purchase mailing list because I don’t want to carry unnecessary data

This part of the sales funnel uses 3rd party services. However, Pabbly has 100 free tasks and Moosend is free for the first 30 days (Mailerlite is free for the first 1,000 subscribers).

This entire ebook sales funnel is zero cost other than web hosting.

Next week will most likely be a video of the purchase process in action and links for, some if not all of, the ‘Build an Author Website’ course.



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