Columns > Published on February 21st, 2023

Yes, I'll Sign Up For Your Author Newsletter

Header image via Madison Inouye

I’m trash for an author newsletter. It seems like lately, every author, published or pre-published, has created an author newsletter, and every time they mention their email offerings on my Twitter feed, I simply must sign up. I’m just a huge fan of getting fun emails in my inbox and of feeling a connection to the authors I’ve read and love — or even the authors I follow on social. Not every author in my inbox is one whose books I’ve read; some of them don’t even have books out yet! But they are all people I enjoy following whom I think have something worthwhile to say.

In my opinion, the best author newsletters contain a carefully-constructed balance of the personal and the professional. In this case “the professional” can be both actual professional updates — book announcements, event announcements, agent news, etc — and professional betterment for the reader. This is also known in some circles as “writing advice.”

The thing about writing advice is, I can’t get enough of it. Everyone has a slightly different flavor to offer, because every writer has a slightly different process, and what works for Author A is absolutely not going to work for Author B…but it’s still fun to know how things go down.

And then there’s the personal. Listen, I don’t believe that everyone should share every facet of their lives with people on the internet just to score a few newsletter subscribers and maybe a book sale or two. I think it’s much more, well, personal than that: everyone can share what they want and are comfortable with. That means if you don’t want to share anything? Live your best life! Don’t. I respect it.

But if you do want to share something, from how writing makes you feel to the minutiae of your home remodel, I’m there. Because I have this obsession with seeing and being seen; I want to be best friends with everybody, and I think that knowing them well can be a key to that.

Obviously there’s a negative side to this, like when I take it too far and think that people can only like me if they know every detail of my life (something to work on in therapy, to be honest), but for the most part I’m seeking a healthy balance.

So I sign up for newsletters. But what about the people (like me!!) who don’t have book deals or even agents? What can we write about?

This is where I pitch you my own newsletter, I guess! In my newsletter, “From Karis,” I have three sections: from the heart; from the shelf; from the page. I also include some random photos, usually of my cat!

In each section, I follow a very loose theme. From the heart has featured everything from my ruminations on my depression, thoughts on my excellent grad school residency, to thoughts on a “revival” currently overtaking my undergraduate college. It’s where I get personal in ways I don’t feel comfortable doing on a platform like Twitter, where tweets easily get outside of the intended audience and turn into a firestorm. My newsletter feels like a safe space. Granted, nothing on the internet is truly a safe space, but I like to kid myself that this is.

“From the shelf” is all about books. I feature one book per newsletter, and pretty much just rave about it. I don’t feature books I hated, because I made a pledge to myself a few years ago that I wouldn’t publicly hate on books that didn’t work for me. It’s just not what I want to do.

In “from the page,” I get crafty. Writing crafty, that is. I write about something I’ve learned at school; I’ve written about the books I’m working on; I’ve even written about the very concept of craft itself.

And someday, I’ll start writing about getting an agent, and a book deal, and I’ll develop my newsletter further. For now, this works for me, and is a fun outlet for thoughts I don’t feel comfortable sharing elsewhere.

So if you’ve ever thought about starting a newsletter — or subscribing to a friend’s — I’m here to say it can be totally fun and worth it!

About the author

Karis Rogerson is a mid-20s aspiring author who lives in Brooklyn and works at a cafe—so totally that person they warn you about when you declare your English major. In addition to embracing the cliched nature of her life, she spends her days reading, binge-watching cop shows (Olivia Benson is her favorite character) and fangirling about all things literary, New York and selfie-related. You can find her other writing on her website and maybe someday you’ll be able to buy her novels.

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