Word Count 3: Getting meta – a newsletter about newsletters

by Suw on May 31, 2022

Hi there,

Welcome to the meta issue of my newsletter. I’m not talking about Facebook’s recent (terrible) rebranding, but a newsletter about newsletters, which is what this is.

I am really enjoying writing these newsletters. It reminds me of the olden days of blogging – it feels warm and personal and pleasantly anachronistic. Like blogging, you can of course ‘comment’ by hitting that big ol’ reply button. And please do. I’d be particularly interested to know which bits of my newsletter you’ve most enjoyed and whether weekly is a good rhythm for you.

What I’m watching: The Empowered Author’s Everything You Need To Know About Author Newsletters webinar

A couple of months ago, I watched Sam Missingham and Katie Sadler’s fabulous webinar on author newsletters (£) and immediately wanted to restart my own. I had to wait a bit to get going because of the whole moving countries thing I was in the middle of, but it was a proper moment of inspiration.

The hour-long webinar goes over all the basics, such as why it’s a good idea to build your own mailing list (rather than rely solely on social media), landing pages, newsletter platforms, automations and more. But what really stood out was their discussion about content. This was something I had really struggled with in my original newsletter, and it’s why it petered out after just 20 emails.

I particularly like the advice to create a content framework. I have a list of nine headings, and every time I stumble on a bit of content I think, “Where could that fit?” Soon enough I have a whole newsletter mapped out. And, having primed myself with these headings, I’m seeing and thinking of more and more things that I really want to tell you about, so writing the newsletter each week is a dream.

If you’re a bit strapped for cash and don’t want to become a full Empowered Author member, then they’ve also got a couple of blog posts on building your author email list and examples of great author newsletters to get you started. If you are on Facebook, you should definitely join their group – it’s not just a friendly place to talk about book marketing, you will also get the benefit of Sam and Katie’s many years of experience in the publishing industry.

Stop, look, and listen: London Writer’s Salon #009 – Polina Marinova Pompliano

The London Writer’s Salon podcast recently released an interview with Polina Marinova Pompliano, who quit her job as an editor at Fortune Magazine and now earns her living writing a weekly newsletter, The Profile. She talks about why she started The Profile, how she deals with criticism and feedback, the challenges she’s encountered and how she’s turned her newsletter into a business that brings in more than she earnt as an editor. It’s a fascinating listen!

Read This: Newsletter Ninja, How to Become an Author Mailing List Expert by Tammi L Labrecque

I’m just inhaling everything I can about newsletters at the moment. How to Become an Author Mailing List Expert by Tammi L Labrecque was recommended to me in the Empowered Author Facebook group – thank you Em Koch! – and whilst it’s a slimline ebook, it has helped me think more deeply about newsletters.

One of the things that I hadn’t really thought about, certainly as a newsletter recipient, is the importance of readers’ interactions with each email. Obviously, the simple act of opening the email is essential, although Apple’s recent Mail Privacy Protection features has effectively killed the open rate metric. TL;DR, when enabled, MPP pre-fetches emails before the user opens them, including the image pixels used to measure open rates, artificially inflating those open rates.

What I hadn’t realised was the importance of link clicks and replies. Both clicks and replies say to email services like Gmail, “This email is high quality!” and that improves deliverability, ie, the email actually getting put into your inbox and not your spam folder (or your promotions tab if you use Gmail).

It had honestly never occurred to me, as a newsletter reader, that clicking a link could be so beneficial, so I’m going to be clicking a lot more from now on!

Finally, Tammi recommends that newsletter owners ask their subscribers to whitelist their email address, which will help ensure this ends up in your inbox. Campaign Monitor have a comprehensive guide to whitelisting, so please do take a look and whitelist anyone whose newsletter you enjoy!

Suw’s News: Newsletter name change

Not much writing news this week, due to various other things taking my attention (see below), but I have been thinking about the name of this newsletter. I have to admit, ‘Suw’s Writing Newsletter’ is not the snappiest title I’ve ever come up with, so I’m considering changing it to ‘Word Count’. What do you think? Click the thumbs up if you like it! (Clicking will open a new window.)

Obligatory cat photo

Grabbity showing her belly

Last Wednesday, Grabbity (right) and Copurrnicus drove for six hours to Dulles Airport in Washington, DC.

Well, technically my husband Kevin drove, but there was so much commentary from Copurrnicus that I feel he was, in spirit, actually the one behind the wheel.

They flew to London Wednesday night, landing first thing Thursday morning, and I picked them up from the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre that afternoon. They’ve settled in incredibly quickly. It never ceases to amaze me how adaptable cats are, and how fast they figure out where the treats are.

Furthermore, I think I can very scientifically now confirm that cats do not suffer from jetlag. The first morning they were up with the larks at 5:30am, a time when, had they still been on US Eastern time, they would have been fast asleep.

It is a delight to have the family reunited. It’s been a long, long five weeks.

All the best,


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