Sunday, October 14, 2012

To Newsletter or Not

I’m considering trying out an author newsletter to support my writing. I don’t read a lot of author newsletters but I find some intriguing stuff in them at times. I’d read more if I had more time, since I enjoy learning about authors whose work I like.  Knowing how busy I am, and knowing that others are similarly busy in this connected world, I would only want to do two issues a year, Spring/Summer, and Fall/Winter, and would not want them to be more than about 2 pages each. My thoughts right now are to call it the “Razored Zen Newsletter” to keep it tied to my blog and to Razored Zen Press. 

Content wise, I’m thinking of adding a very brief update on what is going on in my personal world, and then include mentions and teasers for a couple of recently published projects, with snippets of reviews of those publications.  I’d have a short “what I’m working on” piece, and maybe a poem or a sample of a story in progress. If space permitted, I could do capsule reviews on some of the stuff I’ve been reading.  Since this newsletter would be distributed primarily through email, I’d have embedded links to everything.

Here’s my questions for my visitors. 1. Does this sound like something that might attract readers to my work? Or drive them away?  2. Do you ever sign up for this kind of newsletter from authors?  3. If you do read such newsletters, what kind of things do you like to see in them?



Merisi said...

Coming from you, this sounds like a wonderful idea!
I'd love to be on your mailing list:

Charles Gramlich said...

Merisi, thank you. I will certainly make sure you are on the list. :)

Deka Black said...

Being honest, i have never read a Author newsletter. But as self-promotions sounds good. The name? maybe Razored Zen Making Of would be better as title.

a thing i would do is being clear about how many you will publish each year. To avoid people getting tired of waiting.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I think it would be cool! I'd sign up for your newsletter.

Chris said...

I don't know how many writers do this; almost seems an active blog has replaced it. However, the author Craig Johnson does it, and I love it. You can check out his website to see what it's all about, as they are posted there as well. He usually has some kind of anecdote from day-to-day life in his world, then updates on appearances/books/etc. I wish more writers did this.

ivan said...

Great idea.

Myself and others having been published recently in something called NAIN ROUGE out of Detroit (Awesome!), I'm sure we'd all be interested in the newsletter that you propose.

Cloudia said...

I suspect that I'm not a good person to ask...

Have a lovely week-
Aloha from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral

> < } } ( ° >

Charles Gramlich said...

Deka, I don't think I'd do more than two because people are very busy. Some variation of Razored Zen for sure will be the title.

ALex, I will certainly be happy about that. :)

Chris, thanks for the heads up. I'll check his out. I'm looking at various formats now.

Ivan, always trying to find something to keep my name out there.

Cloudia, Nothing is for everyone, for sure.

Adventuresfantastic said...

I'd be interested in reading a newsletter from you. Sign me up.

nephite blood spartan heart said...

I have subscribed to a few from authors I knew/liked and from what I have heard it is a good marketing move so that people (IF they choose to) can keep abreast of your work's availability and release.

But a part of me wonders if that is outdated thinking that was relevant in a pre-facebook age.

Still, don't take any of that as me discouraging you from any amount of guerrilla marketing-you do it and I will subscribe and encourage others to subscribe.

Derek M. Koch said...

I do subscribe to a handful of authors' e-newsletter, so I'm in!

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles, sounds good to me. I've already answered your first question, still, I think it would attract readers, especially if they are familiar with your work and your blog, and enjoy your writing. 2. I have signed up for literary newsletters from publishers but never from individual authors. Yours would be a first and I look forward to it. My email ID is 3. I'd like to see the "writer at work" in your newsletter — your experiences as a published writer, with useful tips and hints for wannabe writers like me. I swear by "The Paris Review" interviews. Good luck, Charles.

the walking man said...

I glance at the one or four that I do get but if the "headline" doesn't catch me, I skip the writing beneath it.

One questions...if your busier than a working author who teaches a completely different subject than writing now, where will you find time to add even more to your plate? Or do you normally eat off a platter?

Ty said...

I've signed up for very few newsletters, and I usually end up regretting it. They just end up spamming my mailbox with a bunch of information I either already know, or don't really care to know.

But that's just me. Some people seem to love them, and some authors have had success with them.

Readers might be drawn more to author newsletters than writers, like myself, because I already keep track of most writers I enjoy through their blogs and sites. Thus, my little need for newsletters.

I've contemplated a newsletter myself, but then it always feels like one more thing to just have to do, to have to keep up with. So I always nix the idea. The last few months I've given up on most of my online promotions, as it didn't seem to help much, though I do still blog for the fun of it. I'm going more the DWS route of writing more as being promotion in and of itself, and so far my sales have been improving since doing that. I'm not suggesting my path works for everyone, but it seems to be working for me.

Angie said...

Data point -- I'm not into author newsletters, don't produce one, don't subscribe/read any.

If it's something you think you'd be into, then go for it. I've heard a lot of writers who have a lot of subscribers and are pleased with the results. If it's just a marketing thing, though, like a chore? Don't bother.


Charles Gramlich said...

Keith, thanks, man.

David J., splash the field, as they say. Try a bit of everything. I guess that's kind of what I'm doing.

Derek, thanks, and I appreciate you commenting.

Prashant, I appreciate that. Great feedback on content!

Mark, one thing is that I need to keep my marketing stuff kind of a fun activity for me if I want to keep it up. At least at first glance, this seems kind of fun. And if it worked I'd use it instead of some other methods I use now.

Ty, thanks for the feedback. I'm thinking that I'm going to have to take different approaches at different times of the year. During the summer and breaks I can write more and take that route, but during school when I often don't have the focused time to write, I can try other things like online and perhaps a newsletter. We'll see, I guess.

Angie, I'm the kind of guy who kind of likes putting little nuggets of things together so I might be suited for this. I appreciate the feedback.

Randy Johnson said...

Could be a good idea. I've signed up for a good many of these things from various authors, not to mention a few small publishers.

What you've proposed sounds good. I'm always interested in how an author's mind works, his progress on certain works, anything forthcoming.

I realize one can get all that by following your blog, but it's nice to have it all in one place and remind folks of stuff they may have forgotten. If they're like me, as I mentioned, i have a lot coming in and appreciate the heads-up.

Charles Gramlich said...

Randy, I appreciate the feedback, man.

Jessica Ferguson said...

I would have agreed with David a month or so ago, but I've noticed newsletters from writers are making a comeback. You should give it a try. I get a few; some I've quit reading. Make sure you include a calendar to show where you'll be speaking/signing, etc.

Sign me up. :)

Chris said...

Personally, I think this kind of thing is more important than ever. I get essentially no valuable information from Facebook, as the level of noise is so high. Yes, FB has tools to block obnoxious posters, etc., but half the time they don't seem to consistently work. It's rare that I seek information out on that medium, anything I get from it is almost purely by chance. Same with Twitter, but at least their group tools and things seem to work a little better.

But an email from an author I really like? I read them all the time, provided it isn't just generic PR bullshit.

BernardL said...

I don't know if it works or not, but it seems a no downside type strategy, especially with only doing a couple a year. I have not read anywhere that it works as a marketing ploy, but it can be an extra ingredient in the name recognition goal. It sure can't hurt. :)

Charles Gramlich said...

Jess, thanks, I appreciate the reminder on the calender.

Chris, thanks, and yeah, I'm getting pretty fed up with Facebook in that very little of interest really happens that I care to know about

Bernard, as we've both been doing, trying a bit of everything. :)

jodi said...

Charles-Do it!! I am usually as interested in the author and his personal process as his actual work. Why not? I say it's a good idea and you should go for it!

G. B. Miller said...

Sounds like an interesting idea. Haven't read any newsletters by anyone (except maybe one from distant friend of my mother's) but it might sound like a good way to see what makes a good writer tick.

Richard Prosch said...

I think it sounds kinda cool! Gives you the opportunity for a couple things I'd enjoy seeing: 1) The Annotated Gramlich --a look back at past writing and what you were thinking, doing, feeling with each. Any hidden meanings, hidden jokes, etc., and 2) New, short (Flash?) fiction not available anywhere else that you could one day collect. Do it, my friend.

Charles Gramlich said...

Jodi, thankee.

G.B., I still need to do some more research on what the typical newsletter is like, though I don't want to do just that.

Richard, thanks, man. Those are good ideas too.

SzélsőFa said...

i'm not subscribed up to any similar newsletters, so i have no experience.

it may sound a good idea, because two letters per year is not much at all (not for you to compile; and not for the reader to follow.
some readers however, prefer looking for materials on their own. these people are interested in say, your work, and progress, but wish to seek the information whenever they feel like.
these people might feel offended when bombarded with information.
but again, there's always the option to 'unsubscribe'.

bottom line: go for it :)

Charles Gramlich said...

Szelsofa, it will be balancing that subscriber list that will be most critical, I think.

laughingwolf said...

could work; throw on my way...

laughingwolf said...

throw ONE... grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr