About Your Service
Which newsletter service do you use?
How long have you been using this service?
About two years for my newsletter, but much longer for personal email.
Are you a convert from another service and, if so, why?
I tried a bunch of other services and they varied in quality and cost, plus some of them were complicated for readers to sign up. In the end, Gmail is what I know best.
How did you choose it (ie: what criteria were important to you?)
Simplicity, accuracy, not having to learn something new, and it’s free!
But it’s just an email service. How does it work for newsletters?
I use a very simple form from 123ContactForm.com where people can type their address and click Subscribe. That comes into my email with the “Subscribe” tag and is filtered to my subscribers folder. I open the notification, add the sender to my Newsletter contact group, and I’m done. That’s a little bit of manual processing, sure, but it’s worth it for the ease of sending – I just write an email as normal, and enter the Newsletter group into the Bcc field. That’s so we don’t send everyone’s address to everyone else, and is very important.
What do you like best about it? The worst?
Best: It’s right within my Gmail dashboard and I can also synchronise it with Blogger, allowing any team member to write the newsletter as a blog post in draft mode with images and links etc. The entire formatting then copies over perfectly to Gmail.
Worst: I suppose that the sign-up isn’t automatic. I have to add each reader manually. But that’s really no big deal. (If you’re a tech-head, you can set up 123ContactForm to add the addresses to a Google Docs spreadsheet instead, and then use that.)
What, if anything, is the cost?
About Your Newsletters
How often do you send a newsletter (or how many have you sent so far)?
Once a month, when we publish once a month – so that there’s a newsletter to go with every new release.
What is the purpose of your newsletter?
To inform readers of new releases from Splashdown Books, any new projects, contract announcements, awards won, videos published, and any interesting online activity our authors have gotten into. Sometimes we also use it to announce a sale period with special prices.
How easy (or difficult!) do you find creating your newsletters? Why?
Pretty easy. Just typing away in Gmail or Blogger, adding images, links and formatting in the usual way. We usually create in Blogger and then copy the complete newsletter to Gmail.
What do you always try to include in each letter?
The latest new release, a preview of next month’s book, links to our site, cover images, and news of whatever else is going on with the team.
About Your Subscription Base
How do your subscribers find your email sign up?
Front and centre of our main page at Splashdown Books; also in the sidebar of the Splashdown blog and my own blog.
Do you offer an incentive for new subscribers?
Not new subscribers specifically, but all subscribers are the first to find out about free promos and sales.
Are your subscribers the same people who are your Facebook fans, or who follow your blog or Twitter?
Some are, some aren’t. There’s a good mix.
Grace Bridges owns Splashdown Books, an indie press that publishes speculative fiction. She is also a science fiction author and has two published books: Faith Awakened (2007) and Legendary Space Pilgrims (2010). Grace is a New Zealander of Irish descent and a multilingual do-it-yourself force to be reckoned with.
A graduate of the University of Auckland and a translator by trade, she spent eight years globetrotting chiefly in Europe while working for the police and also completing her first novels. She has lived in Germany and Ireland, but now resides in her original homeland with a cat and approximately six boarders within sight of several volcanoes. Often found staring into trees in search of a tui, she is a mystic wordnerd, urbanite hermit, and a writer of futuristic dreams that mess with your mind.
See a newsletter sample here.
Interested in seeing reviews of other newsletter services? They’re all here in the newsletter category. Valerie Comer uses and enjoys YMLP. You can sign up for her newsletter here.