My Life as a Newsletter Caterpillar

When it comes to newsletters, I’m not a ninja. Even though I’ve read Tammi Labrecque’s Newsletter Ninja a few times, most recently yesterday.

My newsletter for this blog is a monthly event. Which I have not done since last June. I feel bad about that, but then the main rule I remember about newsletters is that you are supposed to give your newsletter subscribers something of value in each newsletter. No, not necessarily free books, though when my new blogging book, ‘Getting More Blog Traffic: Steps Towards a Happier Blogging Life’ goes temporary-free at some point, I plan to mention that in a future newsletter.

I’m more of a newsletter caterpillar than a newsletter ninja, but Tammi Labrecque’s book has taught me a few things that bring me steps closer to ninjahood. For example, the reason why your newsletter subscribers are so darn special is that they are people who have GIVEN YOU THEIR PERMISSION to be emailed. That’s a great gift, really. We need to cherish it and use it well.

Another thing Tammi’s taught me is the value of emojis in your newsletter’s subject line. It makes people more likely to open the newsletter rather than ignore it. Tammi says the ‘poop’ emoji outperforms all others. I kind of didn’t want to ‘poop’ on all my newsletter subscribers. And I couldn’t find the ‘poop’ emoji anyway. So I picked out a different emoji for my subject line.

One thing I learned all on my own is that using a service really helps so no one will mistake your newsletter for an ordinary e-mail. I use the free version of MailChimp which allows me to have up to 2000 subscribers and to mail out to them more than I am likely to ever do. It’s kind of a learning curve to put together a newsletter on MailChimp— every image I want to share is either too large or too small to suit them.  But I’ve come out with newsletters a few times now, and I’m getting better at it. I think.

Do you have a newsletter? Do you use MailChimp or another service? How well has your newsletter worked for you? What kind of things do you include in your newsletter?

Springtime & Lenten greetings to you all

and may God bless you,

Nissa and her cats & critters

My new book is available for pre-order. If you’d like to take a look at it on Amazon, the link is: 

I’d really be grateful if a few people would take a moment to share my book’s link on their social media. I’ve never done a proper book launch before and am quite sure I am not doing it right. 😉

Using MailChimp for your Author Newsletters

Most books on author blogs and book marketing urgently suggest that you have a newsletter. It’s a way to get in touch with the people who really like your writing— enough to sign up for your newsletter, anyway. And if your blog gets taken down and you are banned from your blogging service for no reason, you can use your newsletter to keep your true fans informed of your new blog.

Most newsletters use a service like MailChimp as their host. This way, you don’t have to manage the list, and people can subscribe and unsubscribe without the embarrassment of contacting you personally.

I once signed up for a newsletter that didn’t use a service. When I got the first newsletter, I thought it was a private email just for me. This was NOT a good thing. You want your newsletter to stand out from personal emails!

I am not great at doing newsletters. I have written and sent out ONE so far, and I had planned on doing it monthly. But I’m hoping to do better. I ordered a book about how to do author newsletters, and I finished writing the June newsletter and hope to send it out by this coming Monday.

So if you sign up for the newsletter before Monday, you will get the June newsletter. It’s not great, but it does have my recipe for keto/lowcarb hot chocolate in it— a super easy recipe, made in the mug.

Some people recommend offering a free ebook to get people to sign up for your newsletter. I suppose that would work if you can write an ebook on a topic of general interest, and write it well, and if you have the knowledge to write intelligently on that topic.

I don’t happen to have a free ebook to offer. And I’m not sure I like that approach. People who sign up for a newsletter to get a free ebook may not want the newsletter.

Sign up for the newsletter at:

Have you done an author newsletter? How did it work out for you? What is your newsletter like? Are you still doing it?


I Need Coffee: How to Create an Author Newsletter that isn’t Terrible:

Jane Friedman: Email Newsletters for Authors: Get Started Guide:

Why Authors do Newsletters

Why do authors do newsletters as well as a blog? One reason, it is highly recommended. Your blog is at the mercy of your blog’s host or provider. They could take it down deliberately or it could come down through their error. This is not as common as having a Twitter account deleted or suspended, but it COULD happen. Having a newsletter— with the emails of your willing subscribers— can, in an emergency, make it possible for you to move to a new blog without losing all your fans.

Don’t try to write a newsletter using your own email program. A provider like MailChimp ensures that your newsletter recipients can easily cancel if it turns out they don’t want your newsletter. It is less socially awkward to cancel through MailChimp than to send a personal email to you.

Plus, you can get more information on your subscribers through MailChimp. And it gives you the chance to create something professional-looking for free. Yes, MailChimp can be free until you get to 2000 subscribers.

I haven’t sent out my newsletter in ages, but I’m working on a June edition. What is in it? I try to provide a short informative article along with some updates on my blog and writing life. If any of my books are at a lower price or free temporarily, I will let people know.

I don’t know whether my newsletter or any e-newsletter is all that exciting or worth reading. But I’m doing my best trying to make it a little special.

When people sign up for your newsletter, they are giving their permission for you to send them an email. Permission-based contact is the best. You can mention your books available for sale (no hard sell, please) and they can’t complain— they chose to sign up.

Of course, to show your gratitude, make sure that your newsletter is 90% good stuff and only 10% self-promotion. No one really likes advertising even if they have given their permission. But your newsletter is your best chance to connect up with the people who might become your fans.

It goes without saying that I would very much like it if you would sign up for my newsletter:    It is planned to come out every month, and you can cancel easily at any time. Join just for this month if you like!

How I do my email newsletter

I’ve read all the advice books about promoting books and building your ‘brand’ as an author and they say we all ought to be starting an email list with aWeber or MailChimp to collect email addresses in order to send out newsletters to our ‘true fans.’

And so I signed up for MailChimp and added that incredibly annoying popup to this blog and got a few signups. And then went a long time without sending out a newsletter, until last December.

The good thing was that only one person unsubscribed, and five opened the newsletter, so it wasn’t a total failure. Most people who get email newsletters never open them.

And so, on to this month’s newsletter, which is called Antimatter Insiders or some such. I wrote it up this morning, and scheduled it to be emailed out to whoever is on the list early Monday morning.

According to the books I’ve read, you should not use your newsletter for a lot of ‘buy my book’ advertising. You are supposed to write things that your readers will find of value.

So in this month’s newsletter the main article was on a little secret I discovered about blogging. I also mentioned Jon del Arroz’s new book, and instead of trying to sell one of my poetry books, I showed a way that newsletter readers could read my more expensive book for free. And of course there was a cute kitten picture.

Interested in the newsletter? Go to before Sunday is over with and you can get the newsletter for yourself. Remember, there’s a kitten picture!


Yeah, this is me. Picture was taken in a photo booth in Heidelberg, Germany, near the Heidelberg Woolworth store. Author photos are not a sign of author vanity— I’m vain enough, but I hate how I look in photos— but a way to connect with your readers as a real person.

The most important tool of high-selling indie authors

Celebrate blog hopRecently I’ve been reading a few how-to-write books that have sections on how to market the book once you have written it. A topic close to my heart, because my first book, Where the Opium Cactus Grows, didn’t sell many copies, and my short ebook, surly petunia, got downloaded 60 times when it was free but hasn’t done well as a 99 cent ebook.

This is a post in the Celebrate the Small Things blog hop.

So, what do the high-selling authors regard as the best tool to sell books? Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? A pricy-but-static author page with your very own domain? None of the above.

The best tool to sell your books is to have an email list— a list of people who have ‘opted in’ and agreed to receive emails from you. These are the people most likely to buy your books, if you keep on producing them and you let your mailing list know about them.

The recommended tool to manage your email list is MailChimp. It’s free for your first 2000 subscribers. It gives your subscribers an easy way to unsubscribe if they want to. Which makes them more likely to sign up in the first place.

It’s recommended to recruit people to your newsletter through your blog (every author should have one) and through your social media accounts. It’s important to promise (and then deliver) useful and interesting exclusive content through your newsletter, once or twice a month.

The contacts you make with people through your blog/author page and your social media can be fleeting. Your email list makes it easy to stay in touch with your most enthusiastic contacts and make them more enthusiastic through inside information.

My own email newsletter is called ‘Nissa Annakindt’s Antimatter Life. What am I going to send you if you sign up? Well, you will be the first to know when my next poetry book and my zombie book come out. I will also share the book covers in advance and give you some insider details.

But I also want to give my subscribers info they want and can use. For example, I might mention books I’ve read and liked, writing markets I have dealt with, or even share a recipe or a kitten picture. If you sign up for my list (click on, let me know that in a comment and feel free to make suggestions on what you would like to read in the newsletter.

Celebrate the Small Things

It’s a little hard to celebrate today. I stayed up late watching news coverage of the murder of police officers at a ‘black lives matter’ rally in Dallas. This morning I woke up to news that the death toll had climbed to five, and that certain politicians were already using the tragedy to promote their political ideas.

But some things are going well. I’ve started my own email newsletter and I’ve learned a little more about how to use Twitter. (I’m @nissalovescats) I’ve just read some great books by authors I know on Facebook. And I’m not too far behind on my Camp NaNoWriMo project (which includes zombies. And Russians. And a dwarf/little person and scary Soviet era experimentation.)


What I’m reading:

Blood Song by Robert Mullin (free on Kindle, about a woman gladiator on a strange world.)
On Different Strings: A Musical Romance (99 cents on Kindle, romance)
Shatterworld (Shatterworld Trilogy Book 1) (2.99 on Kindle, story of a space colony, has autistic character.)