The Joy of Newsletters

Friday, September 30, 2011
It's that time of year again when I put together a newsletter to send out to people who've signed up to receive updates about my writing. I don't do it every month, or every quarter, or even every year. But I send a letter whenever I have a new release and a book-winning contest. My last release was in August, so I'm a bit behind.

I never know what to say in a newsletter. I try to make it short and simple, but it usually ends up stretching one or two pages long.

At first, I tried all these neat graphics with covers of all my books embedded in the body of the email, but then I figured out not all those go through all the email providers the same way and some people received blank pages from me, so I've narrowed it down to two or three pictures. I've seen where some authors put their letters in PDF format and attach it to the email. I guess I could do that. What do you prefer when receiving author newsletters, or do you like getting them at all?

I also wonder WHAT to write about. I've seen some authors go on about their personal life or add food recipes or interesting little facts and quotes. But I don't do that. I try to get out what just released, what's coming next, announce any awards or special recognition any of my stories have won, then announce some kind of contest for readers to win free stuff. And that's it.

So again, I'm all curious, what kind of stuff do you like to find in an author's newsletter? Just details about their books, or other things as well? My mind usually begins to wander if a newsletter goes on too long with too many different topics.

I wish I could find some site that does those professional newsletter things, where when you subscribe, you get the automated message and have to visit this site to verify your address and so on. But I have a bad feeling those cost money, which isn't something I'm abundant in at the moment. So I go cheap...unless anyone out there knows about a free newsletter provider place.

One neat fact I've learned recently is how to send off my newsletter so that the receiver doesn't see everyone else's email addresses in the sent-to line. To do this, you add yourself into your contacts. So I would add into my email address book but instead of naming me Linda Kage, I use the words "Undisclosed Recipients" in the name spot. Then...when I send off the newsletter. "Undisclosed Recipients" goes in the TO line, while everyone else goes into the BCC line.

Did you know...CC in email lingo means Carbon Copy, and BCC means Blind Carbon Copy. Okay, fine, I was the only one that didn't know that then! So anyway, when your newsletter subscriber receives their newsletter, they only see that you sent a letter to..."Undisclosed Recipients," because the BCC is obviously blind and doesn't show up everyone else's addresses. Isn't that just the coolest thing? Well, it was cool for me to learn.

And now that I've taught you something you probably already knew, I'm off to finish my newsletter. I think I'll send it out Monday, so if you want to subscribe (though really, if you follow my blog, then you'll probably already know most everything I'll blather on about), then I've set up a "subscribe to my newsletter" box on the side bar to the left there somewhere.

Have a good weekend! I look forward to reading some good newsletter advice and opinions in your comments!!


  1. I have a hard time with this too. I put a little personal information in mine so readers get to know me a bit. I don't like to fill it with lots of personal stuff.
    I also add what I'm working on, what contracts I'd signed and sometimes an excerpt/blurb of an older book.
    I'm always curious about authors and what makes them tick. :)


  2. Sounds like good advice to me. And excerpt sounds good. I like how you do the Yahoo Group newsletter too, Amber.

  3. Linda! For real? You just found out what BCC and CC stands for? LOL!! Too funny.

    I think I only subscribe to Susan Elizabeth Philip's newsletter. I like that it's short and sweet, tells maybe something fun from one of her books, any new books coming out, reviews, and sometimes a recipe too. :-)

  4. Well, I know what it means NOW. Geesh!

    I like the idea of having something fun from her stories in there! Thanks.

  5. I don't know the first thing about newsletters! I think if I had one I'd do what Anonymous up there said. :)

  6. I think you should also put something in the letter about writing itself, your process... Amber has a great newsletter. She also used to be the editor for our local romance group. Pick her brain for ideas she is great. Going to sign up for your newsletter now.

  7. Sounds interesting. I can't wait to read your novels. I'm an aspiring author hoping to one day be published. Love your blog. xo.