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Jan 11

Mischa Eliot

Technical Blather: Newsletters (Why I haven’t created one)

Hard and Fast

One of the first things you’re supposed to do as an author of any genre, before you publish that first title, is to create a newsletter. Why? So that people who truly enjoyed reading your story, whatever it may be, can sign up and find out immediately when you have a new title coming out, if you’re going to be speaking or reading somewhere, if you’re looking to build an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) team, and other relevant details to what’s happening in your writer life.

Now, imagine my surprise about this, as a long-time writer, not long-time self-publishing author. I do subscribe to newsletters… I do. I subscribe to all kinds of newsletters. I subscribe to eco-friendly newsletters for work. I subscribe to several newsletters about writing, and of course, I subscribe to newsletters that are offering book deals and – yes you guessed it – even author newsletters.

So, why don’t I have a newsletter? It’s not because I don’t want one. It’s the fact that the amount that I spend on the website (hosting/domain names – I use free themes and edit the html/css myself) the cost of renting a PO Box, (local currently outweighs the virtual option) is just another thing I feel I would currently be wasting money on.

I would berate myself on a regular basis when I had a stock photo subscription that allotted me to download a specific number each day – they were lost at the time, to the second, I signed up. Instead of paying pennies for those stock photos, it would eventually amount to dollars. Now, don’t get me wrong, I did download hundreds of stock photos that I can (hopefully) utilize in some way – either as a cover or here on the website. Notice I said hopefully? It’s difficult to find photos that you want to use when someone will upload 30 – 50 photos of the same person in slightly varied poses. Those poses are then mirrored and then all of those photos are put into black and white. Sometimes, they’ll have more than one version of black and white levels because let’s face it, everyone has different expectations. They were flooding the market on purpose, not making it easier for people in my opinion. Anyone can make a color photo into a black and white photo. There are several free sites that offer it and I’m sure they have sliders to help you decide just how much black and how much white you want there to be. I know quite a few authors who use free graphic programs and are talented with them to make covers and more.

Ahem. Anyway. The amount I was paying to scroll through pages and pages of photos when I wasn’t sure what to look for because I didn’t have any specific requirements, became overwhelming.

Why do you have to have a PO Box to have a mailing list? Technically, you don’t. Unless you don’t want to share your personal name and address with every person that happens to start googling the address listed on the mailing list. That’s the catch – you have to have an address on the mailing list, or you’ll be spam. All kinds of fines and probably jail-time could happen if you don’t have one. It’s crazy, I know.

Do I want a mailing list?

Ahhh, the six million dollar question. While I wouldn’t mind having a mailing list, I think it would be one more thing for me to maintain. It would have to be much less erratic than the blog – where I post for four days straight and then nothing (I really need to do better), and then I post, and then nothing. That’s why I let you subscribe via email or Feedburner over in the sidebar. If you have a wordpress blog you can even have me in your reader (still can’t comment through the reader, though – Sorry!!).

On another note… I tend to delete 98% of the newsletters I receive that aren’t work-related. And there you have it. How much money to pay for that PO Box for something that you might click delete on because you’ve got 5 billion other emails hollering for your attention?

Thoughts? Feelings? Am I breaking your heart here? Please feel free to let me know in the comments.

 

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