Newsletter news

popcorn container o the theater-style red and white style tuned on its side; spilling popcorn across a white surface. Beside that, a spool of film and two red tickets with the text Admit One in black.

Tl;dr: If you’re a newsletter subscriber, there’s a newsletter in your inbox!

Now accepting cheers for sending out my Official Author Newsletter to my subscribers all professional-like MULTIPLE TIMES IN A ROW. It’s close to 5 months since I sent my last one. So I am thrilled to be on track with the summer one.

The newsletter was originally, long-ago planned as a monthly thing (once I began sending anything at all) because the common wisdom on professional newsletters was “send them out regularly, don’t let your readers forget you exist, get them new material monthly or weekly, even.”

Turns out that welp, monthly was a a big NOPE for me. I have been managing almost quarterly. I like calling it “seasonal.”

Frequency isn’t the only metric I’m bollixing up, accroding to Those Who Write About Such Things.

“Send your emails mid-week,” the experts all advised. “Between 9 and 11AM, or 1 and 3PM. That’s the key to successful outreach. Consider doing a weekly note. Monthly at the very least.”

Do I often send mine on weekends, in the evenings, or both?

Of course I do.

How often? Four-ish times a year so far. At the very most. And guess what? It seems to be working out fine. I am pleased with my newsletter’s performance.

Tentatively I would even label my newlstter A Success.

Please don’t imagine that means I’m taking the reader-outreach world by storm. The list hovers around 150 subscribers and loses a couple with each email I send. (that’s normal, I’m told.) New subscribers tend to join when I remember to mention the email newsletter at conventions (WHICH I FORGET ALL THE TIME OOPS) or when I post alerts about its existence on social media just before & after sending out one.

I am committed to collecting more subscribers, because the newsletter is a prime way to reach people who want to hear the messages I’m sending, but like every writing-related thing I do, it’s a slow grower. The subscriber list is an oak, not a willow, to use a gardening metaphor.

Why bother with a direct email newsletter when I already have a blog, a Paetreon, & social media? Good question, brain! Glad you asked. Now I can remind myself there’s a legit answer.

Because a newsletter to a doubly-affirmed audience is less void-shouty and more reader-focused than any other outreach channel, that’s why. Both good things. Professional things, even.

Let’s look at those other channels

Blog: this is my longest-running online presence (over 20 years if you count Livejournal, which I do) but it’s a hit or miss “random topics” diary. I might post multiple times a week, I might let it lie dormant for months. It’s a place for me to bleed off extra verbal & emotional energy & organize thoughts. Sometimes I don’t have the energy to spare. or the thoughts. The newsletter, in contrast, is specific to my creations, inspirations, and other sharables of interest. Like cat pictures.

Social media: insert a big ol’ pfft to algorithms here. There’s no predicting who will see what when, if things get seen at all. I like the community in the Fediverse, algorithm free as of this writing, but while I may find readers while socializing there, my purpose for being there is connection not communication.

Patreon: I love having a Patreon, a place where people can say , “Yes, I love your writing enough to pay for it regularly, a little bit, anyhow.” I’ve blogged about why that matters in the past. (in summary, I am a child of the late-capitalism world, and knowing 9 people are willing to cough up a dollar a month for my regular updates from work in progress, cat pics, recipes that relate to writing and so on? Money fills a specific self-doubt void like nothing else can. If that makes any sense. It might not.)

Would I like a nice, round 100 patrons? Of course, yes. Do I ever expect to reach that number? Nope, and I adore my dedicated patrons, each and every one.

My newsletter does what I need it to do

So anyway. The audience for an email newsletter is verified and self-selected. There’s a sense that the people getting it actively want to hear from me, and that’s precious affirmation. (I may be fooling myself about people’s motives for signing up, but please don’t disillusion me.)

If nothing else, the newsletter enforces a regular habit of introspection about my creative life. I treat it like a letter I would send to a friend who hasn’t heard from me in a while. I ask myself, “What am I doing? What can I share with people who are interested in me?” And then I write it.

Quarterly is the sweet spot so far. It’s frequent enough that I have to treat it as A Real Obligation, but not so frequent it becomes an anxiety-generating burden on me or a tedious “oh, not AGAIN” imposition on its recipients. It’s the right amount of time for recharging and collecting news worth sharing. That is very much a for me thing. I subscribe to several weekly newsletters and love them. But weekly or even monthly is too much of a drain on my energies.

Therefore I send mine out once a season after much procrastination, but ’tis done. Again.


One response to “Newsletter news”

  1. K. M. Herkes Avatar

    testing out the new comments section: does it work?

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