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Crafting a Fantasy World Part Two

Prophecy of Darkness, book one of the Legends of the Tri-Gard series, releases on February 1st. 


In the last “Crafting a World” post, we determined our setting. Our realms began to take shape with names and a language that added a bit of color.

Some of those names did the next part for us: describing our land. Aldorwood, meaning wood of life, would obviously be forested over large portions of it’s territory. The Isle of Sona would be tropical – at least in part.

Isenore literally means “Iron mine” thus placing it in the mountains where we had our mines.

We needed farmland to feed our people, but also because we used crops to show the effects of a lack of magic. It made the most sense for these farms to be in Aldorwood, in the center of the kingdom.

These were our three kingdoms and as they took shape, we began to see a culture emerge. Now, some authors create culture before they create their characters. That wasn’t us. In order to see every how aspect of the time and place they lived would affect the story, we needed to put Trystan and Davi and Rissa in real situations.

One of the hardest and most important pieces of world building to get right is religion. Would they believe in God? If so, how many gods? Did they pray? How would it affect their view of the impending war and possible deaths?

These and so many other questions needed to be answered, but our solution was simple to find. Magic came from the earth. Before it was stolen, the people held a connection with the world. So, we made the earth their God in a sense. They didn’t worship it as much as just want to feel at peace with it. At least, those who remember the magic bond do. In order to show this love, we use Rissa, our bull-headed princess. She has a sharp tongue and a desire to fight, but she’s one of the few who still feels a small part of the connection. Her softest, most endearing moments are when she’s in the throes of her power. It is her religion. It is everything to her. It is what the realms will go to war for. Sound familiar?

There are many other considerations in developing culture. What will the ruling family’s relationship be with the people? How big of a role does the army play? What kinds of struggles do the average citizens face – hunger? Bandits?

What role does the weather play in the land? We’ve created erratic weather patterns, thrown out of balance without magic keeping control.

Are there rivers/oceans for the people to rely on?

What clothing do they wear?

A big one for us – would the people in a far village even recognize their rulers?

How is order kept?

When we made the jump into fantasy, we knew there were a lot of things we didn’t know. That was the biggest thing we learned right at first. Make sense? LOL. It took research and a lot of trial and error as well as many many discussion between the two of us.

But nothing in our writing careers has been as cool as seeing our world come together, a world made out of nothing, a world that only exists in our minds and the minds of our readers.


Prophecy of Darkness

The kingdom of Dreach-Sciene is dying.

Famine, uncontrollable weather, and war have devastated Prince Trystan’s people. It’s only a matter of time before their enemies destroy them.

Only magic can save the kingdom. But there has been no magic in Dreach-Sciene for twenty years and Trystan fears it is only a fairy-tale. Without magic, there is no hope.

If the prince wishes to harness the ancient power, he must first reunite the Tri-Gard, the legendary keepers of magic. His journey to find these magical beings will either lift him up or bring him to his knees as he sacrifices everything to save his people.
With his enemies drawing ever closer, it’s a race against time … and against dark forces that could destroy them all.

If you yearn for noble princes, forbidden romances, and heart-pumping quests, pick up your sword and reclaim your magic for the battle to come.


The paperback is now available HERE.

For more information, including a map, look HERE.

See previous posts about Prophecy of Darkness HERE.

 

Meet the Seer

Prophecy of Darkness, book one of the Legends of the Tri-Gard series, releases on February 1st. 

authors, writing, prophecy of darkness, fantasy, romance, michelle lynn, michelle bryan, meet the seer
The sight is not a sure thing as most people think it is. I see the paths that lay open to an individual. I see events without the faces of those involved.

I am Lorelai and I am a seer.

There are those who would seek me out and destroy me for that very reason. It has been twenty years since the people of Dreach-Sciene lost their magic. The sight is believed to be the final remnants. They want to steal it. They don’t trust it.

But they don’t understand. My magic was never tied to the earth. It was not given and therefore cannot be taken away. The sight is a part of me.

I have done my job, fulfilled my mission. I have set things in motion for the prince of Dreach-Sciene to find the Tri-Gard. They have their reasons and I have mine.

Now I have one final task before I can return to my home. Before I can prepare for the battles to come.

Only this mission could destroy me. It is not death I speak of. When that comes I am ready. What I could never have prepared for was keeping my life, but losing my heart.

It is my own fault. He didn’t break it. I crushed it for him.

A heart is a liability. I’ve been told that my entire life.

Now I finally understand what they meant.

“The king took it as a prophecy of hope. He thought they would all be saved, that someone would lead them to regain their magic.
But the cost would be everything else and now she saw it for what it truly was.
A prophecy of darkness.
A prophecy of death.”


Prophecy of Darkness

The kingdom of Dreach-Sciene is dying.

Famine, uncontrollable weather, and war have devastated Prince Trystan’s people. It’s only a matter of time before their enemies destroy them.

Only magic can save the kingdom. But there has been no magic in Dreach-Sciene for twenty years and Trystan fears it is only a fairy-tale. Without magic, there is no hope.

If the prince wishes to harness the ancient power, he must first reunite the Tri-Gard, the legendary keepers of magic. His journey to find these magical beings will either lift him up or bring him to his knees as he sacrifices everything to save his people.
With his enemies drawing ever closer, it’s a race against time … and against dark forces that could destroy them all.

If you yearn for noble princes, forbidden romances, and heart-pumping quests, pick up your sword and reclaim your magic for the battle to come.


The paperback is now available HERE.

For more information, including a map, look HERE.

See previous posts about Prophecy of Darkness HERE.

 

Meet the Duke’s Daughter

authors, books, fantasy, romance, michelle lynn, michelle bryan, prophecy of darkness, writing
Ugh, I hate all this pomp. I hate that you even care who I am. I am not who matters. That damn prince is not who matters. Look to our people. See our dying fields. Listen to the silence coming from the earth instead of the constant power our parents tell us of.

Yes, yes, I’m Alixa. My father is Lord Eisner, Duke of Isenore, and I despise the prince. He has no clue what’s happening in his very own realm. Trystan Renauld is a fool. Don’t worry, I’m not speaking behind his back. This isn’t treason. I’ve said it to his face. A blasted fool.

And now he’s the realm’s only hope. We’re all doomed.

When I joined up with him, it was only because I had nowhere else to go. I stayed because for the first time in my life, I am important. I will prove everyone wrong. I will overcome the circumstances of my family, my kingdom.

I will prove it to them that I’m no traitor. I’m different than the ones who bow at the dark king’s feet.

And if I can take some of the shine off our little princeling in the process, that’s just a bonus.

I’ve been trained by one of the greatest swordsmen in Isenore – in secret, of course. I have enough rage inside of me to keep me going. If I get to be the one to slice open the traitorous bellies of a few in my family, I’ll revel in it.

I am no princess. I’m a warrior.

And warriors never give up.


Prophecy of Darkness

The kingdom of Dreach-Sciene is dying.

Famine, uncontrollable weather, and war have devastated Prince Trystan’s people. It’s only a matter of time before their enemies destroy them.

Only magic can save the kingdom. But there has been no magic in Dreach-Sciene for twenty years and Trystan fears it is only a fairy-tale. Without magic, there is no hope.

If the prince wishes to harness the ancient power, he must first reunite the Tri-Gard, the legendary keepers of magic. His journey to find these magical beings will either lift him up or bring him to his knees as he sacrifices everything to save his people.
With his enemies drawing ever closer, it’s a race against time … and against dark forces that could destroy them all.

If you yearn for noble princes, forbidden romances, and heart-pumping quests, pick up your sword and reclaim your magic for the battle to come.


The paperback is now available HERE.

For more information, including a map, look HERE.

See previous posts about Prophecy of Darkness HERE.

Crafting a World Part One

Prophecy of Darkness, book one of the Legends of the Tri-Gard series, releases on February 1st. 

Fantasy writing is its very own beast and can be very overwhelming. To keep sane, I did a few things. First, was I found a writing partner who was talented and as driven to make this story as great as we could.

Second, we started to build our world. That’s what this series of posts will focus on. How did we create the backdrop for the grand quest that spans the Legends of the Tri-Gard series? Fantasy

We decided on two realms, with one of the realms having three kingdoms. That was easy. Next, we wanted names. Before we could dive into culture or rulers or topography, we had to choose a language. Both of us loved the idea of melding other languages to give color to Dreach. It allowed us to set the tone. Would we go ancient? Modern?

In the end, we decided to use Old English and Gaelic. In these two languages, words didn’t only have one meaning. They had many. They became ideas rather than just singular objects. That’s why we chose to blend the two. Deep meanings can be conveyed in a single beat. Even our location names can hold more power.

Now, don’t freak out. Most of our book is still in English. Just had to clear that up. lol. But we sprinkle in other words to add life to the pages.

Some of the best moments are when Trystan or Davi says “Truwa brathair” meaning “trust, brother”, but they aren’t just proclaiming their trust. Truwa also means promise and fidelity and many other similar things. When Davion says it, it’s a statement of faith in his prince. When Trystan, as Prince, says it, it’s a powerful proclamation about his friend. The prince, whose very title demands respect and loyalty, is giving that loyalty in turn – and to a boy most would deem unworthy.

Here are the rest of the terms we’ve woven through.

Aldor – (All-door) Old English for life. ‘Aldorwood’ means the wood of life.

Bràthair – (Brah-thair) Gaelic word for brother.

Dhoun – (Doon) Old English for dark. ‘Dreach-Dhoun’ means dark magic.

Dreach – (Dray-ach) A simplified spelling of the Gaelic term ‘draiocht’ meaning magic.

Isenore – (Eesen-oar) Old English for iron mine.

Scíene – (Scene) Old English for beautiful, brilliant, light. ‘Dreach-Sciene’ means light magic.

Sona – (So-na) Old English for hope. The Isle of Sona means the Isle of Hope.

Tá sé in am – Gaelic for ‘it is time’.

Tenalach – (Ten-eh-lahct) – An Irish term for a deep connection with the earth.

Toha – (Toe-Ha) An old English term meaning the leader of an army, but also a leader of people.

Tri-Gard – Gaelic for the three guards.

Trúwa – (True-wah) Old English word for trust, fidelity, promise.

Uisce – (Ish-ka) Gaelic for water.


Prophecy of Darkness

The kingdom of Dreach-Sciene is dying.

Famine, uncontrollable weather, and war have devastated Prince Trystan’s people. It’s only a matter of time before their enemies destroy them.

Only magic can save the kingdom. But there has been no magic in Dreach-Sciene for twenty years and Trystan fears it is only a fairy-tale. Without magic, there is no hope.

If the prince wishes to harness the ancient power, he must first reunite the Tri-Gard, the legendary keepers of magic. His journey to find these magical beings will either lift him up or bring him to his knees as he sacrifices everything to save his people.
With his enemies drawing ever closer, it’s a race against time … and against dark forces that could destroy them all.

If you yearn for noble princes, forbidden romances, and heart-pumping quests, pick up your sword and reclaim your magic for the battle to come.


The paperback is now available HERE.

For more information, including a map, look HERE.

See previous posts about Prophecy of Darkness HERE.

Meet the Princess

Prophecy of Darkness, book one of the Legends of the Tri-Gard series, releases on February 1st. 

authors, writing, books, fantasy, meet the princess, prophecy of darkness, michelle lynn, michelle bryan.

My name is Rissa and I’m a princess. I didn’t ask for this life. I didn’t want guards or expectations or an overbearing brother. All I’ve ever wanted was to fight for my people, to ease their suffering.

But I’m just a poor woman. Little old me apparently can’t do what my brother can. They didn’t let me train with the army – only low born women were allowed that. I’m expected to marry a man I despise and pop out darling little royals. Knowing my future husband, they’d come out with horns. Little demons. 

My realm is in trouble. My home. My people. If they think I’m going to just sit by and watch it wither and die, then they don’t know me at all. There is something I haven’t told them. I can hear the earth sing. I feel the struggle as it tries to thrive and I feel the heartache every time it fails. That connection that was lost to the people of Dreach-Sciene? I still feel a part of it. I have to save the land.

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None of them believe in me. Not my father, the king, nor my brother, the Toha. Davion doesn’t even fight for me to come and that crushes me, because he’s … well, I won’t get into that. I’ll just say he’s infuriating and my world grows dark when I think of leaving him for my impending marriage.

Such is the life of a princess. If they won’t give me what I want, I’ll just have to take it.

 

Never underestimate a pissed off woman with a bow. 


Prophecy of Darkness

The kingdom of Dreach-Sciene is dying.

Famine, uncontrollable weather, and war have devastated Prince Trystan’s people. It’s only a matter of time before their enemies destroy them.

Only magic can save the kingdom. But there has been no magic in Dreach-Sciene for twenty years and Trystan fears it is only a fairy-tale. Without magic, there is no hope.

If the prince wishes to harness the ancient power, he must first reunite the Tri-Gard, the legendary keepers of magic. His journey to find these magical beings will either lift him up or bring him to his knees as he sacrifices everything to save his people.
With his enemies drawing ever closer, it’s a race against time … and against dark forces that could destroy them all.

If you yearn for noble princes, forbidden romances, and heart-pumping quests, pick up your sword and reclaim your magic for the battle to come.


The paperback is now available HERE.

For more information, including a map, look HERE.

See previous posts about Prophecy of Darkness HERE.

Evolution of a Book Cover

Prophecy of Darkness, book one of the Legends of the Tri-Gard series, releases on February 1st. 

It’s here and we’re ready to share the beautiful design with all of you. Michelle Bryan and I have been working with an artist and a book cover designer for what feels like forever, but we couldn’t be happier with the final product.

Our process for this was different than any cover I’ve ever had. The biggest difference was that we decided we wanted custom artwork instead of stock photos. This limited us severely because most covers designers can’t turn a sketch into a vector graphic. Luckily, our wonderful graphic designer, Ann-Maree Macmillan could.

We gave her plenty of headaches, but the final product was worth it.

The first thing we did was get the artwork done. Linda Higgins is an author who also has an incredible talent for art as well. We described – sort of – what we wanted and she ran with it.

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3907writing, authors, books, michelle lynn, michelle bryan, prophecy of darkness, fantasy, book cover

If you look closely at the final one, it has been texturized to look ancient with magic bursting through. Each circle contains an image called an Orianthi Rune. They represent Magic, Darkness, Chaos, and Disorder. The sigil as a whole represents dark magic.

Next, we had to choose a background. Ann-Maree sent us a number of colors to choose from in the same style. We wanted simple, yet elegant. Purple is a royal color. It’s also on the darker side.

Font was simple because we absolutely loved the first one we were sent. The final touch was the gilded corners. Michelle Bryan was adamant that we have them and she was right. So, Ann-Maree designed the corners using the Sigil, magic the Celtic knot design.

writing, authors, books, michelle lynn, michelle bryan, prophecy of darkness, fantasy, book cover

Believe it or not, one of our most difficult decisions had to do with series title. We knew it was Legends of the Tri-Gard, but were we going to call this book one? Just one? Roman numeral one? We settled on Volume one after probably too much agonizing. Haha. Then there was the issue of both of us being Michelles. So, when you see M. Lynn – Hi, that’s still me <;

Finally, after holding our breaths for a few months, we have our cover. It’s different than many in the genre. Our decision not to include people on it is not the norm, but it’s right for us. It’s right for this story.

writing, authors, books, michelle lynn, michelle bryan, prophecy of darkness, fantasy, book cover


Prophecy of Darkness

The kingdom of Dreach-Sciene is dying.

Famine, uncontrollable weather, and war have devastated Prince Trystan’s people. It’s only a matter of time before their enemies destroy them.

Only magic can save the kingdom. But there has been no magic in Dreach-Sciene for twenty years and Trystan fears it is only a fairy-tale. Without magic, there is no hope.

If the prince wishes to harness the ancient power, he must first reunite the Tri-Gard, the legendary keepers of magic. His journey to find these magical beings will either lift him up or bring him to his knees as he sacrifices everything to save his people.
With his enemies drawing ever closer, it’s a race against time … and against dark forces that could destroy them all.

If you yearn for noble princes, forbidden romances, and heart-pumping quests, pick up your sword and reclaim your magic for the battle to come.


The paperback is now available HERE.

For more information, including a map, look HERE.

See previous posts about Prophecy of Darkness HERE.

Meet the Orphan Ward of the King

Prophecy of Darkness, book one of the Legends of the Tri-Gard series, releases on February 1st. 

Hello, beautiful people, especially the ladies out there. I’m Davion. No last name, just call me Davi. 

authors, prophecy of darkness, writing, books, michelle lynn, michelle bryan, fantasy
You may recognize me as second-in-command to the Toha of Dreach-Sciene, the prince. Prince Trystan Renauld is my best friend, my brother.

When I was just five, his father, the king, took me into their household. I was an orphan, being taken care of by the people of the village until our hidden seer figured out that I was important. Me. Davi. Orphan. I have a destiny. I’m going to help Trystan bring magic back to the realm. I’m going to try my best not to fall in love with a princess I can never have. And I’m going to fight like hell, give everything I have, to win.

Oh, and I’m going to look damn good doing it.

“I don’t know if this mission will succeed or what will happen if it does, but …” A lump formed in his throat. He’d never cared about anyone enough to say the words. Ri looked at him without expectation in her eyes and he knew none of those other women mattered.
It was always her.
It would always be her.
Only he would be stupid enough to fall in love with the princess.
The princess and the orphan ward. It was ridiculous.


Prophecy of Darkness

The kingdom of Dreach-Sciene is dying.

Famine, uncontrollable weather, and war have devastated Prince Trystan’s people. It’s only a matter of time before their enemies destroy them.

Only magic can save the kingdom. But there has been no magic in Dreach-Sciene for twenty years and Trystan fears it is only a fairy-tale. Without magic, there is no hope.

If the prince wishes to harness the ancient power, he must first reunite the Tri-Gard, the legendary keepers of magic. His journey to find these magical beings will either lift him up or bring him to his knees as he sacrifices everything to save his people.
With his enemies drawing ever closer, it’s a race against time … and against dark forces that could destroy them all.

If you yearn for noble princes, forbidden romances, and heart-pumping quests, pick up your sword and reclaim your magic for the battle to come.


The paperback is now available HERE.

For more information, including a map, look HERE.

See previous posts about Prophecy of Darkness HERE.

Meet the Prince

Prophecy of Darkness, book one of the Legends of the Tri-Gard series, releases on February 1st. 

books, authors, writing, princes, prophecy of darkness, michelle lynn, michelle bryan, fantasy

You may call me sir, lord, prince. My newly obtained title of Toha still feels foreign. I am Trystan Renauld and one day I will be king. One day I will have all of Dreach-Sciene in the palm of my hand.

That day is not today. Today I am the shield. I am the sword. I am the protector of our people, the symbol of hope. The army has been placed under my control, but that is the least of the burdens on my shoulders. When war comes, our army stands no chance. And make no mistake, it is coming.

King Calis of Dreach-Dhoun is preparing to unite the realms as they once were – under a single king. The difference between our realms? His still has magic. Ours is barren.

books, authors, writing, princes, prophecy of darkness, michelle lynn, michelle bryan, fantasy
I don’t even know if I believe in magic. It was said to be stolen on the day I was born. I’ve never seen the fantastical things people talk about.

But we don’t have many options. If I want to prevent my realm from being turned to dust, prevent my people from becoming cattle driven to the slaughter, then I better hope it’s real.

 

A myth won’t save us.

This Tri-Gard and their magic is the only thing that just might.

Here we go.


Prophecy of Darkness

The kingdom of Dreach-Sciene is dying.

Famine, uncontrollable weather, and war have devastated Prince Trystan’s people. It’s only a matter of time before their enemies destroy them.

Only magic can save the kingdom. But there has been no magic in Dreach-Sciene for twenty years and Trystan fears it is only a fairy-tale. Without magic, there is no hope.

If the prince wishes to harness the ancient power, he must first reunite the Tri-Gard, the legendary keepers of magic. His journey to find these magical beings will either lift him up or bring him to his knees as he sacrifices everything to save his people.
With his enemies drawing ever closer, it’s a race against time … and against dark forces that could destroy them all.

If you yearn for noble princes, forbidden romances, and heart-pumping quests, pick up your sword and reclaim your magic for the battle to come.


The paperback is now available HERE.

For more information, including a map, look HERE.

See previous posts about Prophecy of Darkness HERE.

Writing Partners, yay or nay?

partner writing, writing, authors, books, prophecy of darkness, michelle Lynn, Michelle bryan, fantasyOkay, I need to put a disclaimer here. Both times I’ve written with a partner, I’ve gotten very lucky. Well, that and I’ve chosen wisely.

Let’s face it – authors are control freaks. DON’T TOUCH OUR CREATIVE GENIUS! A lot of authors could never work with a partner because that means giving part of the creative control to another person. Sure, you can outline until the cows come home and agree on every plot point ahead of time, but your partner’s chapters still won’t come out like you’d have written them.

Let me give you a bit of advice. Loosen those reins. Writing with a partner is an experience every author should have. Here’s why:

  • FUN: Partner writing is an incredible amount of fun. We all know how it feels to be so excited and obsessed with our current work in progress but have no one else around to constantly jabber on about it with. The people in our lives might be slightly interested, but not completely. My writing partners and I talk every single day.
  • Speed: Imagine putting out a 60k word novel and only having to write 30k words of it! With the way everyone suspects the super secret Amazon algorithms work, speed can greatly help a career.
  • Relationships: If your partnership is a good one, you don’t just gain a fancy new book, you gain a very good friend. Authorship is such a solitary venture that this aspect can’t be overlooked. I was already friends with both my writing partners beforehand, but that friendship grew even more through working together to create something we were both proud of.
  • Moolah: Being able to do big releases and get great covers and editors while only shelling out half the dough is amazing.
  • Reach: Both you and your partner have your own readerships that will look forward to your book.
  • Learning: You’ll learn from each other. My partnerships forced me to learn how to outline effectively and think about stages of the story before they came.

partner writing, writing, authors, books, prophecy of darkness, michelle Lynn, Michelle bryan, fantasy

Okay, so you’ve made the brilliant decision to find a writing partner for a series you have in mind. What should you look for?

  • Quality writing: You need to trust your partner’s talent fully.
  • Style: The key component of a book written by two authors is the inability of the reader to discern where the writer switched. Find an author who writes with a similar style to you.
  • Strengths: Find someone whose strengths and weaknesses are opposite yours. For my fantasy series, we did this to great effect. My partner’s best assets were action sequences and descriptions. Descriptions are the bane of my existence. My talents lie in dialogue, romantic elements, and emotional punch. Together, we formed quite the team.
  • Goals: Make sure it is someone whose goals for the series line up with yours. Do they want to spend a lot of money on release? Are they on a budget? What is their preferred timeline?
  • Temperament: For God’s sake, don’t choose someone who wants to control everything you write. Both writers in a partnership need room to breathe and be creative. It’s a good idea to get to know them first before deciding you want to work with them.

Prophecy of Darkness was a venture written with my writing partner, Michelle Bryan. It releases February 1st.

Prophecy of Darkness

The kingdom of Dreach-Sciene is dying.

Famine, uncontrollable weather, and war have devastated Prince Trystan’s people. It’s only a matter of time before their enemies destroy them.

Only magic can save the kingdom. But there has been no magic in Dreach-Sciene for twenty years and Trystan fears it is only a fairy-tale. Without magic, there is no hope.

If the prince wishes to harness the ancient power, he must first reunite the Tri-Gard, the legendary keepers of magic. His journey to find these magical beings will either lift him up or bring him to his knees as he sacrifices everything to save his people.
With his enemies drawing ever closer, it’s a race against time … and against dark forces that could destroy them all.

If you yearn for noble princes, forbidden romances, and heart-pumping quests, pick up your sword and reclaim your magic for the battle to come.


The paperback is now available HERE.

For more information, including a map, look HERE.

See previous posts about Prophecy of Darkness HERE.

A Guide to Sendy Newsletters

The mysterious Sendy. It’s an intriguing option for authors with growing subscriber lists. Other services are either expensive or not good enough for what we need anymore.

What is Sendy?

An api that plugs into the cPanel of your website. It’s hosted on your site at a url you define – something like sendy.yourdomain.com. You must have a self-hosted site to use it.

I am an author. Not a Sendy saleswoman. I have moderate technical ability, but tend to spend more time yelling at my website than actually improving it.

Web stuff drives me insane actually.

Well, Sendy drove me more insane than anything else online ever has. It should have been so much easier for me. It’s a fantastic option and that’s why I’m writing this in depth post. I wish someone had told me half of what I’m about to tell you.

There’s very little out there about Sendy with the exception of the companies trying to take advantage of it’s issues with being set up. For a monthly fee, sites like Easysendy will basically act as a Mailchimp or Mailerlite. You still have to buy Sendy, but then you pay them to set it up and allow you to use their interface.

But if I’m buying Sendy to get out from under monthly fees, how does that make sense?

Let me tell you something – you don’t need them.

First, let’s get into why you may want to buy Sendy with a good old pros and cons list.

Pros of Sendy:

  • Price: It’s a $59 one time fee. After that, you pay Amazon SES to send the emails. $1 per 10,000 emails. Crazy, right? If you’re paying north of $100 a month for a large list on another service, you can reduce that to $4-10. And no, it’s not too good to be true.
  • Data: The other cheaper service out there is Wix. I was paying $12 for up to 25k. But the drawback with Wix is that it doesn’t tell you anything other than open and click rate. With Sendy, I get the cheaper price while also enjoying the data of the more expensive services. Open and click rate yes, but also click rate for each link and extras such as countries my email is being opened in.
  • Integrity of emails: This part is half conjecture so take it with a grain of salt. With Wix, I was averaging 30-50 bounces per send on a 17k list. They were all Hotmail or aol email addresses as you could probably guess. With Sendy, I had 5 bounces. My guess is because Sendy uses Amazon web services to send. As of right now, some of the larger companies are using the service rather than just the spammers – leading to a higher integrity that plays better with some of the more skeptical email programs.
  • Lack of formatting: This one has you scratching your head, doesn’t it? Research shows that the more a newsletter looks like any old email, the more responsive the reader will be. Formatting screams salesy. Sendy’s NL editor is rather basic and that keeps me from trying to make it look too “professional”.
  • All of the segmenting and automation functions that seemed to be lacking in Wix.
  • Scheduling NLs in advance. Another downside of Wix.
  • One of the largest benefits is in a bonus at the bottom of the screen – it mainly applies to PAs.

Cons of Sendy:

  • Headaches – It’s ridiculously hard to set up. Like, come on! I spent two full days trying to figure out how to get it installed before giving up and hiring someone.
  • No templates – This is sort of good because of what I said above about formatting, but it also means it takes slightly longer to create emails.
  • You have to be okay with the stripped-down look of the platform.
  • Your NL will take quite a while to send. Their maximum speed is 14 emails per second. Yesterday when I sent to two lists at the same time, it took 3 hours for 25k emails. BUT – that’s not really an issue because I can schedule it to go out ahead of time and not even have to have Sendy open for them to send.

Okay, so you’ve decided to buy Sendy. Great! But when you downloaded it, it’s just a folder with a bunch of files full of code that you have no clue what to do with. What? There’s not even an install file?

Deep breath. What I’m going to tell you is going to save your life. Don’t try to set it up on your own!! Sendy sends you a nifty little instruction manual that looks super easy, but that’s deceptive. You can do every step perfectly and still not have it running.

After spending two days trying, I found a man on PeoplePerHour.com who charged me $30 and had it ready to go 12 hours after I hired him. Surely my two days had been worth more than that. I wish I hadn’t wasted them.

Steps to sending your first campaign:

  1. Make sure you have a self-hosted site and purchase Sendy
  2. Create an Amazon web services account.
  3. Hire someone to install it on your domain.
  4. Make sure the person you hired requested an email increase from Amazon. They give you 500 when you initially sign up but will increase that to 50k when asked.
  5. Login and begin to explore.
  6. Import your lists.
  7. Go into your settings. There is a list of Zapier apps that you can set up to run with Sendy. Things like post to Facebook or Tweet when a campaign is sent. Or my favorite – remove someone from one list when they’re added to another. That’s great for segmentation.
  8. Use the text editor to create a template. This will make it go quicker when you send campaigns because you can just substitute images and text.
  9. Make sure autoresponders are ready to go.
  10. For this, I’m assuming you’re using WordPress. There’s a Sendy plugin for your site to add subscribers directly to a list – one with automated emails set up hopefully.
  11. You should be good to go!

Sendy tips:

  • Seriously, hire someone. If you don’t, you’ll get bogged down in your cPanel creating databases and altering code. You can’t expect your host support to be any help because they probably haven’t heard of Sendy. The lady I talked to at HostGator hadn’t. And then, when you think you’ve done everything right, it still won’t load. I still don’t know what I was doing wrong, but figuing it out isn’t worth the time.
  • There’s a cool feature that PAs could make use of. Sendy branding. I’ll use myself as an example. I have one of my clients set up on my Sendy account but under her own brand. So I can use my program for her NLs while keeping her lists and campaigns separate almost as if they were in a different account. But, wait, it gets cooler. I can also create a login and password for her so that she can access her brand. In essence, she can send emails from my Sendy with her own password that doesn’t access my own information. AND Sendy provides the mechanism for me to charge her for that pleasure. I can charge her per campaign or per email sent using a Paypal plugin. If I wanted to, I could create my own Mailchimp and begin charging people. Amazon does give me 50k emails a day if I want it.
  • Some of the features are hard to find in the stripped-down interface. It took me forever to find where I could get the web link to my email. There’s a little picture of an eye on the reports page that will give you the link if you click it.
  • Added tip: I almost forgot to include this and it will be the most frustrating issue you’ll have because it’s incredibly hard to find out what is going on. Don’t create Sendy emails in a browser that has Grammarly installed. Just don’t do it. Grammarly is a bully. It doesn’t play well with others – throwing tons and tons of redundant code into your emails. Seriously, it’s amazing how much code they throw in. Extra code increases the email size ezponentially – which G-mail won’t like. If you test your emails and they appear in your inbox as a blank email with just a link to click to see the fully thing, this is what is going on. You never want your readers to have to click through to see the email because they won’t.
    So, if you have grammarly installed on your browser, use a different one for Sendy. I find Grammarly quite helpful so I kept it on Safari and began using Chrome for my emails. Trust me, learn from my headaches. 

Final Verdict:

Sendy gives you all the functionality of an expensive service for a fraction of the price as long as you are satisfied with the more stripped down appearance.

A peek inside sendy:

These are images from my own account except for the graphs. That is from the Sendy website.

Creating multiple brands for pennames/ different authors.

All the segmentation and autoresponders of the expensive services.

The campaign editor.

The data.

Below this will be a list of links and number of clicks as well as lists of spam reporters, unsubscribes, bounces, and every country the email was opened in.

I hope this comprehensive look into Sendy will help you. If you’d like to see how the email looks, you can sign up to my newsletter in the sidebar to the left.

Go here to see the free book you’ll get for signing up.

You can find Sendy here.

If you need a reccommendation for someone to help you set it up or have any other questions, feel free to contact me here.