Newsletters and other promotional devices

I’m over at the History Hoydens today, talking about sewing boxes and embroidery–or at least I think I will be, since I have notes but nothing written yet.

I woke up today thinking that I really should send out my allegedly quarterly newsletter. It really depends what you mean by quarterly. Sometimes my quarters are only about two months long, and sometimes, as now, they span the seasons. Because I’m a great believer in only sending out a newsletter when I have something to say, and for long chunks of time I don’t.
I can’t produce giggly writerly stuff about what my family and/or cat is doing (mostly asleep) and my fabulous writerly life (because I don’t seem to have that sort of life), and exciting places I’ve visited (because generally I don’t go anywhere). And, oh, yeah, sign up here.

And at the moment I do have something to say, which is that I’m getting a new website from designer Haven Rich, who gave us this beauteous new Riskies blog–we’ve just started work and I’m very excited about it. When it goes live on May 1 I’ll have a contest. And there’s more, like a book coming out in August, and sneak peeks and so on.

Now the Riskies newsletter always has something to say–that’s how you get advance warning on guests, contests, and special topics for the month–and I squeeze it out every month from yahoo (which really don’t like you to send great chunks of mail). What, you’re not signed up for the Riskies newsletter? Good heavens. Sign up now, please. Send an email to riskies @ (without the spaces) and put newsletter in the subject line. (We’re still getting lots of mail from people who want bank account information and/or prayers or something else I’m not likely to release, and I don’t want to miss you.)

There are a couple of newsletters I find really informative and which I’d like to share with you:

The Jane Austen Center. This is a fabulous resource with both scholarly and fun articles about Austen, Bath, and her times and, if you browse around the site, you can spend large amounts of money (still, even now the dollar is stronger) in the gift shop which does indeed ship worldwide.

Book Marketing Experts–written by a team who are the leaders in book marketing online and who really understand the Internet and how web sites and newfangled things like Twitter work.

And nothing to do with the Regency or writing, but just incredibly entertaining, Cartalk’s Time Kill Weekly, which always includes a lame joke and, they, like me, have a rather fluid sense of time.

What do you think makes a good newsletter, and which ones do you enjoy?

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Cara King
13 years ago

I like easy-to-read, short, entertaining newsletters. 🙂 I don’t subscribe to all that many author newsletters, but maybe I should…

I know this is going to sound like “we’re so cool,” but I don’t mean it that way, so here goes: Janet, I love what you do with our newsletter. Even though I know what we’re doing, I read it just for fun. So thanks! 🙂


Diane Gaston
13 years ago

I generally don’t read newsletters, except ours, of course. Janet can make reading about paint drying entertaining.

I read chapter newsletters and RWA.

Even though I do not now subscribe to author newsletters, I would if I were afraid I’d miss a release of a book or something, but I pretty much know when the books I want to read are being released. If I were not so constantly in the world of Romance Writing, I’d find newsletters useful.

So hopefully someone finds my author newsletter useful. It comes out only when something new is being released. You can sign up for it at

Keira Soleore
13 years ago

I’m generally not a subscriber, but I have certain must-haves, like the Riskies, the Wenches, RWA eNotes, etc. My all-time favorite is Jane Porter’s. It’s informative, personal, educational, and tons of fun. She’s a marketing whiz!!

Megan Frampton
13 years ago

Yeah, I don’t read any newsletters except ours, natch, and my son’s school, in case I missed something that he TOTALLY FORGOT TO TELL ME ABOUT. Not that that happens . . .I do subscribe to word-a-day things, as well as a guy on Twitter who posts groups of things, such as a pride of lions or an exaltation of larks. My favorite one lately was a rash of dermatologists.

Louisa Cornell
13 years ago

A rash of dermatologists! I love that,Megan! Where do you sign up for that one. I subscribe to the Phrase a Week newsletter as it tells the origins of a different well-used phrase once a week. Many of them are Regency speak of the kinds of things that might be useful in Regency writing.

I love author newsletters as I keep them in a file to remind me of when books are coming out. At this stage of my life and with the erosion of Walzheimers on my brain (this is a disease that attacks people who work at Wal-Mart. You lose your memory and IQ points on a daily basis. In a few more years I will be a talking chimpanzee.)

I love research articles and travel articles. Long enough to be informative and short enough not to put me to sleep.

13 years ago

I get innumerable newsletters and magazines from the innumerable professional societies, topical groups, divisions, schools, organizations, and rashes that I am in, belong to, graduated from, am affiliated with, or joined in a moment of madness. I can’t claim that I read more than a small minority of them.

Louisa wrote:

You lose your memory and IQ points on a daily basis. In a few more years I will be a talking chimpanzee.

But hey, at least you’ll still be talking, right? ‘Cause I hear from the chimpanzees that I know that learning sign language is not easy.


Amanda McCabe
13 years ago

“Walzheimers on my brain (this is a disease that attacks people who work at Wal-Mart.”

LOL Louisa!!!

I enjoy the Jane Austen Centre newsletter a lot, and like to read ours because it reminds me of what’s coming up. But I don’t get very many others, though I ought to check out the formats of various author newsletters. I think Diane is right–I usually know what books are coming out anyway. 🙂