Thursday, August 13, 2020

When Lexy Met Dandy and Catriona Met Lazy, by Catriona

Business: Talk about newsletters. Do you or do not have one? If you do, how often do you send it out? On what venue? How did you get your newsletter list? If not, why not and how do you contact your readers instead? Are there any authors whose newsletters you think are particularly good?

I didn't have one for the first fifteen years of writing. Then I went to as Sisters in Crime SInC into Great Writing workshop, run by Dana Kaye, publicist extraordinaire. She asked, at the top of the class, if there was anyone in the room who didn't have a newsletter and I stuck my hand up without a thought, expecting to be in one group in the room roughly the same size as the other group. 

But no one else put their hand up. And a few people muttered words of surprise. Now, I'd bet good money that I wasn't actually the only person in that room with no newsletter (just the only one admitting it) but still it was a small sub-set and one I determined to leave immediately.

So I got a Mailchimp account, tried and failed to understand it, paid a publicist $500 to get me started and wrote my first newsletter, plus a short story to be given away as a thank you to signers-up. 

I think I got my subscribers up to a few hundred before the second letter. And, in that time, I kept back good news, new jackets and WIP progress-reports from the 3.2 thousand (some doubles, I expect!) Facebook friends and 2 thousand Twitter followers whom I could have shared the news with hot off the press.

Hmmmmm. It was when I realised two separate things on the same day that the clouds cleared to reveal the sky again. First, I went through my inbox deleting all the author newsletters unread, same as every morning. And next, I faced the fact that out of the three things I had to do that day - tax return, page proofs and newsletter - the tax return felt like a party and the proofs felt like a day at a spa.

So I deleted my newsletter and skipped off into the sunlit uplands, trailing receipts and PDF pages, free as a bird.

I sort of regret it. Witness the fact that I still had the banner image in my "currently in use" folder on my desk-top this very day. Maybe if I could devise a different kind of newsletter that didn't necessitate me holding onto publication news for weeks on end . . .

But for now, since it's come back into my mind, here's a link to that short story. It's a Dandy Gilver Lexy Campbell standalone mash-up. In other words, only for real fans.

        Usually, climbing the steps to her houseboat made Lexy feel happy. Safe and happy.


Catriona McPherson said...

Hmmmmm. Might need to go back to the old Blogger platform. I don't seem to have mastered this new one.

Keenan Powell said...

I have been doing a newsletter because of a Glenn Miller seminar I attended at Crimebake but totally fallen apart since March and I'm like, whatever.

As for you, someone who is writing two-three books a year including one standalone and blogging and going to the conventions probably doesn't need one. But what do I know?

Susan C Shea said...

I also gave up. Not for the same reasons - I'm nowhere near as productive as you are. How many newsletters from our crime fiction community do you actually open and read?

Catriona McPherson said...

I fixed the picture problem. And thnak you, Keenan and Susan, for giving me an out!

Marion said...

I started a newsletter this year with Constant Contacts. There is someone on the phone from the company instantly to help, a service I used quite a bit at first, although the program isn't difficult. I like it because it makes me write to my readers directly once a month, organize my view of my writing progress, share new contracts and sales with readers and let them know when the next book is scheduled. The program tells me what percentage of those who receive the newsletter open it and how many click through to my blog.
Happy to put anyone on that newsletter list who wants to check it out. or