October 2020 Newsletter

Next HSW Meeting

Saturday, October 10, 2020 at 10 a.m. 

Since large gatherings of more than 6 people do not appear to be feasible in the foreseeable future, we will continue to meet via Zoom. Details will be sent out before the meeting and will be posted to the web site and on Facebook.

The program includes the continuation of How to Upload a Book to Amazon and set up the rest of the options. We apologize for the abrupt interruption to this at the last meeting. Matt’s entire computer system crashed and he needed to reboot the router. Since he is the host, Zoom closed the meeting shortly after he left.

Want to know more about Kindle Create? We will also look at this Amazon provided program and how to use it to format a novel or any book with photos or illustrations. Since Rene has used it to format her cookbooks, she can show you the good points about it.

We may have a guest speaker, but we don’t have details at this time. 

First Pages

Matt will be doing first pages, so if you have a first page you would like feedback on, please send it to Matt by Friday October 9 at MattBayan@aol.com  For easy reading, please use 12 point Times New Roman and double space.  Do not include your name on the page, but indicate the genre.


15 Days Left!

We are coming down to the wire to get your contest entry or entries submitted. The deadline for receiving the entry forms and submissions is October 15th. You may email these to contest@highsierrawriters.org. Full details are on the website. Please remember to use a cover sheet with the name of the submission and your name on it along with your email address. Do NOT include your name on the story or chapter pages, just the title and word count.

Winners in each category will be announced and prizes awarded in December. 

We do have three judges lined up, all writers. More details will be revealed at the next meeting. 

If you have any questions or have problems submitting your entry, contact Rene at RPAverett@gmail.com

Revised By-Laws Passed

At the September meeting, the attending members voted to accept the revised By-laws, which removed unnecessary wording and simplified them. They are posted on the website for your reference. 

Useful Links Page

If you missed the presentation on ISBN numbers, the slide show and Rene’s notes are on the website in the Useful Links section. You will find other links to handouts and articles at the same place.


High Sierra Writers has quite a few published writers in the group. We have a page featuring the various books grouped by author under genre. These are under HSW Writers link. As our authors release new books, we’ll feature them here each month. This time, our featured writer is L.F. Falconer. She doesn’t have a book out, but has two short stories published in two magazines.

Check out her story, “Lucien Greyshire and the Ghost from Applebee’s” in Weirdbook Magazine #43 (Wildside Press) published on September 3rd. The link is to the magazine on Amazon. It is available in Kindle and paperback.

Her 2nd story was published September 16 in Shallow Waters Vol 6: A Flash Fiction Anthology (Crystal Lake Publishing). That one is called “Neighborhood Watch.” The issue is not yet available on Amazon, but they do carry the anthologies from this publisher.

Please support our High Sierra writers by reading and giving an honest review of their books on the platform where you downloaded or purchased it. Your reviews help bring the attention of the book to other readers and helps the author to gain more visibility on the sales platform. We’re all here to help each other, aren’t we?

Membership Renewals and New Memberships

If your membership has been expired since the beginning of the year, your membership renewal is still $25 for 2020, but if you renew in November or December, we will throw in those two months and renew you for all of 2021. 

If you are a new member joining in October, your membership will be valid through December, 2021. 

To renew via PayPal, go to this link.  To mail, send to HSW, PO Box 12241, Reno, NV, 89510. Please let Rene or Matt know if you send it to the mailbox. Thanks!


By Rene Averett

Now and then, HSW members will ask about websites, how to set them up, and what should be included on one. Keep in mind that even if you are writing as a hobby, your website represents you and your business. Yes, I said business. Whether it’s a hobby or what you hope to turn into a full-time income, the moment you put a book out for sale, it becomes a business. So, your website needs to look professional, not stuffy, but something that includes all the information that a reader, a reviewer, an agent, or a publisher wants to know about you.

A recent article from Book Bub discussed the five key elements that need to be on your website. Each of these is important and should be kept current. Your website is part of your brand as an author, so pay attention to it.

The five crucial elements you should have are:
1) A page with your books listed on it. If you have one or more series books, group them together. When someone reads a book and likes it, they will often go to the writer’s webpage to see what else they have written or if there are more books in the series. Make sure you have purchase links to your books.

2) Your author biography, written in the third person. Many authors have a short and a long version. This makes it easy for a reviewer or an agent to pull the author’s bio when they need it. Keep it up to date. 

3) Author Headshot. This should be a professionally-taken, high quality photograph that a reviewer or a book publisher can use to promote your book. I see many author photos that are casual photos, taken outside or in a comfortable setting. With high quality cameras, you can often get a good shot with a friend who has a steady hand taking the picture. Again, change it now and then. How many times have you seen a photo of an author from when they were thirty and they’re now seventy?

4)  A way for readers to get updates. Provide a mailing list or some kind of notification. At the very least, have a way for them to subscribe to your page. This is a plug-in you can used on your Word Press site. If you want to be able to send them a regular newsletter or let them know via email that you are releasing a new book, then you need to set up a mailing list.

To read the whole article and see examples, you can go here.

5) A way to send an email to you or your publisher. Fans want to communicate with their favorite authors, but other sometimes want to contact you for business reasons. If you want all that to go through your publisher, then you need a contact email or snail mail address for them to do that. If your prefer your fan communication to be through social media, such as Facebook or Instagram, then let them know how to reach you. 

If you a not yet a published author or are just starting your first book, it’s not too soon to begin building your website. You need to begin building a mailing list as soon as you can, so that you’ll have people interested in your book before you’re ready to release it. 

The easiest way to set a website up is using Word Press. The majority of author websites are on some version of this program. For a small fee, the Word Press site will host your website on their server. If you have another server you can use, then you can download the program to it. Many templates designed for this program help you to set up your page. If you aren’t comfortable with using computers, you can hire someone to design it and set up so it is easy for you to maintain.


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