Hello Writers of Bloglandia!

It’s time for another installment of the feature where I look at tools, tomes, and tips that might or might not help you along your author journey.

If you missed how this feature started or want to check out the other resources I’ve covered so far, just click that link thingie that says “Resources for Writers” above the title of this post and you should be whisked away to what you’re looking for.

Alrighty then, this time we’re looking at another book. This time it’s one on craft from a well-known author. I was really looking forward to this, but how did it turn out? Well, keep on reading about…

Newsletter Ninja (First Edition) by Tammi LeBrecque

RATING: Go for it!! But know it’s not a cure-all.

Newsletter Ninja by Tammi LaBrecque is touted by several reliable indie author gurus as being THE resource for starting and maintaining an author newsletter. Tammi writes in a wide range of genres including fantasy, romance, and mystery, but is also known for her editing prowess and teaching skills when it comes to mailing list mastery.

Who’s This Written For?

Newsletter Ninja is primarily written for indie authors, but the advice could just as easily apply to traditionally published writers who want a closer connection to their readers. Even the marketing mavens in other industries may find Tammi’s advice a good guide for their own email strategies. 

What’s Inside?

The book aims to walk writers through the reasons why it’s more important than ever to interact with their readers via email, the basics of finding a provider and setting up a welcome sequence, how to keep your readers engaged, and when to clean up inactive subscribers.

This all seems like a tall order for a relatively small book, but Tammi manages to pull it off. Mostly.

It’s Great, But It’s Not Perfect

Newsletter Ninja does contain a good amount of information on the care and feeding of a mailing list, and she offers compelling advice on why writers should not only have one, but also to use it to build a fanbase. However, if you’re looking for concrete, detailed information on the how-to side of things, you might be disappointed. 

To be fair, since many factors vary across genres, personality types, and availability of time, offering specific advice can be tricky. However, Tammi answers many of the most head-scratching questions (for example, how frequently you should email) with, “It depends,” and that can be frustrating to read when if you’re hoping to use this book as a guidepost. 

It Can Be Vague

Another example of rather vague information: Tammi spends a fair amount of space promoting the use of a welcome sequence — a series of automated emails your subscribers receive immediately upon signing up to your mailing list.

But any specific advice is hard to come by despite the touted importance of these emails. Instead, Tammi simply tells readers to have a welcome sequence and make it as long as it needs be.

I can imagine that coming across as painfully vague for someone who has never written a welcome sequence before and is hoping this book will at least provide a few examples to get them started.

Another, albeit minor, complaint is the book’s Resources page on the Newsletter Ninja website. The page is crammed with URLs that are hard to sift through and several links are longer active.

Should You Bother?

All that said, if you are looking for general and broad advice on all things newsletter, Newsletter Ninja does provide a good overview. The sections on how to re-engage a mailing list you’ve let fall by the wayside, on ideas for reader magnets, and on best practices to build your list are all spot on.

All of Tammi’s information is presented in a friendly, easy-to-read, and incredibly encouraging way, and it’s hard to imagine not completing this book without some new ideas to improve your own newsletters.

Overall, could Newsletter Ninja use some improvement? Sure, and a second edition is in the works.

But as the indie author gurus will tell you, this book is the best and most relatable advice on newsletters you’re going to find. And overall, I would agree it’s definitely worth a read.

Have you read Newsletter Ninja? If so, did you find it useful? If not, are you planning on grabbing a copy? Let me know in a comment!!

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4 thoughts on “Resources for Writers: Newsletter Ninja

  1. I’m not sure what to make of the advice to connect with readers by e-mail. To be honest, I get bombarded with e-mails every day and barely glance at most of them. I sort them into folders and then delete most of them unread. I wonder if maybe the advice to use newsletters is outdated.

    Like

    1. Well, it’s still the top piece of advice that is given out, so I’m not sure if it’s outdated. I think maybe it depends on your audience or maybe how an author “does” his or her newsletter. I get several responses from my subscribers saying how they enjoy the newsletters and a fairly decent open rate, so I don’t mind spending a little time once a month to send one out. I do cull my subscribers like crazy, though. Anyone who doesn’t open for four months gets booted.

      As for your email overload…why not unsubscribe from a few lists and only stay on the ones that interest you? I’ve been having a Big Unsubscribe Fest for my own inbox and it feels great!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, Tammie! Putting a list of links in the back of the book was an extraordinarily stupid thing to do. I thought better of it, but not until many copies had sold. I’ve since changed the backmatter to point to http://newsletterninja.net/links

    Some of those links may be dead, because 2020 (and, if I’m honest, 2019) was rough on me, but I’ll be updating it as soon as I get a clear spot on my schedule, and will try not to let it fall out of date again.

    Thanks for your lovely review!

    Tammi

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Tammi!

      Links really are the bane of an organized person’s existence, aren’t they? I have a hard enough time keeping up with mine, so I do wish you luck keeping yours in line (or would that be online…groan, sorry).

      I did write this review last fall during a big bloggy batch session, and I think I was cursed because each link I tried was dead. And, eek, I may have been using that link list you mentioned. I know, I probably just made you bang your head against a wall…sorry.

      Aw well, it’s still a great book with terrific advice regarding the overall care and feeding of a mailing list. Things change so much, but the basics you cover (and cover quite well) are always relevant. 😊

      Like

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