Newsletters have been all the rage for a couple of years. I’m not saying I’m some sort of pioneer (I am), but I’ve had my own newsletter for quite some time. In the last few months, I’ve been taking it a bit more seriously.

What’s in a name?

Last October, I moved the newsletter to Goodbits, which is great for compiling and annotating links. But I recently switched back to Mailchimp because, frankly, I couldn’t justify the $19 monthly fee.

I took the opportunity to do a little rebranding too. For a long time, I called my newsletter The Broome Cupboard, which was kind of silly, even though it helped remind people who was sending the emails. It was time to call the newsletter something that better reflects what it actually contains.

And that is:

  • original microstories and my own experiences of being an author
  • images of other authors’ writing spaces
  • links to articles about writing, reading and creativity.

My newsletter is for authors and readers and anyone interested in writing, publishing and putting their work out there. And now it is called Shelflife, which sums things up nicely and gives a gentle nod to the practical challenges of being a writer.

Ask the audience

The switch to Shelflife was more than just a name change. I took the chance to invite subscribers to answer a survey that would help me find out exactly what they wanted from the newsletter.

People had signed up over several years and I really wasn’t clear about what people were looking for from me. It turned out I was on the right track in terms of content and very little has changed in that regard.

However, I had been finding it tough to keep up with the weekly schedule, so I also asked my subscribers how often they wanted to receive the emails. Turned out that most people also found it difficult to open, read and explore what I was sending on a weekly basis.

That’s why I now send Shelflife out every two weeks instead. It’s been much better for me and I think the overall quality of the emails has improved. Certainly, I’ve seen no negative impact on the newsletter’s open and click rates.

Subscribe for free

I’ve sent out four issues of Shelflife so far and I’d love you to subscribe for free and give it a shot. If you’ve been following me online for a while, it’s definitely the best place for you to keep up with what I’m doing.

You can sign up and read previous issues on my special Shelflife page.