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N is for Newsletter

Yesterday I discussed how marketing in indie publishing is strictly the province of the author. The major marketing tool is the mailing list, and the principal use of the mailing list is a newsletter. I have not been effective in building my mailing list, and part of that has been a poor newsletter.

Right now, my favorite newsletter is Austin Kleon’s “Ten Things.” I’m not sure that’s his official name, but it is just ten things he thinks are worth sharing this week. While most of the items on it are not by him, he’s not afraid of a little self-promotion. For example, last week, his number three item pointed to a post on his blog from 2018 about copying your heroes and one from last week about getting out from under your influences. Out of roughly twenty links, most of the ten things have two links; about a third are to his blog. The self-promoting links often are when he’s written about the issues the other links in that item discuss.

The big thing to note is even the self-promoting links are not calls to action. They are a “here’s what I’ve thought about that” to the rest of the item’s “here’s a thing or someone else’s thoughts.” You get a lot of gives in those ten items before he has an ask at the bottom for you to buy books and tee shirts, among other things.

There is a word for what that kind of newsletter tries to create. It is relationship.

I am experimenting with a variety of things to let interested readers into my life. Each newsletter has a picture of my cats. Yes, I’m a crazy cat lady. Given that Hemingway was also a crazy cat lady whose cats, or at least their descendants, still have the run of his house and are a tourist attraction in Key West, I could do a lot worst.

I have tried to include some fiction each month. It would help if I got off my butt and was more reliable about writing. If only I had the discipline I know I need.

The other major regular part of my newsletter is a life update/random thought section. This is where I think I’m failing. Maybe I’m not that interesting or don’t express myself well. Both are bad news for writers.

I have Newsletter Ninja by Tammi L. Labrecque. Part of my plans for this year is to implement her ideas in hopes of getting more subscribers and more engagement with my newsletter.

What do you like to see in email newsletter? Do you have a favorite? Are you producing one yourself?

And remember, you can subscribe to my newsletter below.

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One Comment

  1. This is a tricky one, because I think for a lot of people, the “self promotion” part is difficult. I like what you say about seeing newsletters as “building a relationship”.
    One thing I have noticed with myself (as being on the receiving end of a newsletter) is that if I find the source interesting, I might not open and read every single mail, but I do keep them as a resource for later. (Then again, this probably says something about the size of my mailbox – ha ha!)
    Great topic for N, because I think that whatever we do in life or as bloggers, we all have some relation to newsletters!

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