How to Publish Your Newsletter is designed to steer editors, entrepreneurs, and volunteers through every phase of the newsletter publishing process—from planning to distribution. It offers practical advice on creating budgets, hiring staff, developing effective layout skills, setting realistic schedules, finding readers, and much more. Whether publishing a print newsletter or an electronic version, this valuable resource will help you launch a new publication (or improve an existing one) with confidence.
Carol Luers Eyman received her bachelor’s degree from Kirkland College, and both a master’s degree in education and a certificate in technical communication from the University of Massachusetts. She owns and operates her own newsletter consulting and production firm.
A Note on Gender
PART ONE Getting the Big Picture:
Planning Your Newsletter
1. Types of Newsletters
2. Laying the Groundwork
Establishing the Basics
Assessing the Competition
All About the Name
3. Setting Up Shop
Choosing a Distribution Method
Creating a Budget
4. Planning the Content
Defining Your Content
Organizing Your Content
5. Finding Readers
Other Marketing Methods
PART TWO Being Clark Kent: Writing
Editing and Illustrating
6. Writing and Editing
Getting the Facts
Understanding the Principles of Newsletter Writing
Writing Headlines and Skimming Aids
Editing Your Newsletter
7. Using Graphics and Photographs
PART THREE Taking It to the Streets:
Producing Your Print
8. Designing and Laying Out Print Newsletters
Principles of Newsletter Design
Page Design: Creating a Blueprint
Layout: Constructing an Issue
Choosing Page-Layout Software
9. Reproducing and Mailing Print Newsletters
PART FOUR Launching It Online: Producing
Your Electronic Newsletter
10. Producing Website Newsletters
Writing and Editing Web Newsletters
Designing Web Newsletters
Laying Out Web Newsletters
Testing Web Newsletters
Distributing Web Newsletters
11. Producing E-Mail Newsletters
Writing and Editing E-Mail Newsletters
Creating E-Mail Messages
Testing E-Mail Newsletters
Distributing E-Mail Newsletters
12. Producing PDF Newsletters
Writing and Editing PDF Newsletters
Designing and Laying Out PDF Newsletters
Converting Page-Layout Files to PDF
Testing PDF Newsletters
Distributing PDF Newsletters
Whether you are a novice publisher who is in the initial phase of launching a newsletter, or you are an experienced publisher who wants to rejuvenate an existing publication, the book you now hold will serve as your steadfast companion.
How to Publish Your Newsletter is a comprehensive guide, offering all of the helpful, practical information you need to plan, write, and produce a newsletter. It will help you determine if your idea for a newsletter is workable, and whether you have enough time, money, and assistance to transform your idea into a successful publication. You will learn how to write the types of articles and design the kinds of graphics that will keep readers interested and motivated to respond to your message, whether it is “Buy our product,” “Renew your subscription,” or “Support our organization.” You will also discover the best tools and techniques for laying out, printing, mailing, and distributing both print and electronic versions of your publication. The book’s extensive resource list alone will save you lots of time by helping you locate vendors, software, filler articles, legal information, clip art, and much more.
Written in an easy-to-understand, user-friendly format, How to Publish Your Newsletter is divided into four parts. Part One, entitled “Getting the Big Picture: Planning Your Newsletter,” begins the book with chapters that help you flesh out your idea for a publication and get organized. Chapter 1, “Types of Newsletters,” introduces you to the industry by discussing various newsletter categories. You will learn whether your idea fits into the category of subscription newsletters that readers buy, free marketing newsletters that entice readers to purchase a product or service, or association newsletters that have nothing to do with buying or selling.
Many publishers get bogged down in the details of newsletter production before they consider whether they are achieving their overall mission. Chapter 2, “Laying the Groundwork,” encourages you to examine why you are publishing a newsletter and who will be reading it. The answers you come up with will later serve as your roadmap for choosing the most effective writing style and the best production methods for your publication. Once you have a clear vision of your newsletter’s purpose and audience, you will be ready for Chapter 3, “Setting Up Shop.” Here, to devise a strategy for running your operation, you will consider a number of important questions. What distribution method (electronic or print) will work for you? How much money do you need to get started? Can you make money (or break even) on the venture? If you hire staff, how will you assign their responsibilities? How often will you publish? How will you set (and meet) deadlines? If you are reading this book, you probably already have a general idea of the type of information you want to provide in your newsletter. Chapter 4, “Planning the Content,” helps you organize that information into the types of articles that are appropriate for your purpose and audience. If you want to reproduce material from other publications, this chapter will tell you how to get permission to do so. It explains the role of advertisements in newsletters, and also gives tips on organizing your content and how to make it fit properly on a page. Some newsletter publishers have a ready supply of readers. For instance, church newsletters are distributed to members of the congregation; school newsletters, to parents of students. Many publishers, however, must actively seek out an audience. In Chapter 5, “Finding Readers,” you will learn how to use direct mail, free-sample distribution, advertising, and the Internet to find your newsletter’s audience.
Part Two—“Being Clark Kent: Writing, Editing, and Illustrating Your Newsletter,” contains two fact-filled chapters. Chapter 6, “Writing and Editing,” shows how to gather facts for articles through research and interviewing. It also introduces the principles of writing in newsletter style. In addition to providing pointers on writing headlines and skimming aids to get the attention of your readers, this chapter includes a guide to writing different types of newsletter articles, as well as how to edit and proofread your work to make it clear, accurate, and consistent. In Chapter 7, “Using Graphics and Photographs,” you will discover how to catch your reader’s eye and enrich your prose through the tasteful use of photos, drawings, charts, graphs, tables, clip art, and other graphics. This chapter also offers lots of helpful tips for taking interesting photographs and preparing them for clear, professional-looking reproductions. Once you reach this point, you will focus on readying your newsletter for distribution. If you have chosen to distribute your issues on paper, you will want to move on to Part Three, “Taking It to the Streets: Producing Your Print Newsletter.” Chapter 8, “Designing and Laying Out
Print Newsletters,” explains the principles of graphic design, helping you place articles, illustrations, and photos in a visually appealing manner on a printed page. It guides you through the process of developing a page template and laying out the contents of each issue. And it recommends the best software programs for achieving these steps.
Chapter 9, “Reproducing and Mailing Print Newsletters,” will help you become informed on the topic of printing services. Here, you will be introduced to the various ways to reproduce a printed newsletter, and learn to identify the most cost-effective methods for mailing them. If you have chosen to distribute your newsletter electronically, Part
Four, “Launching It Online: Producing Your Electronic Newsletter,” is your next stop. It contains three chapters, each of which focuses on a different online distribution option—web, e-mail, and PDF newsletters. You will learn how to adapt your writing to minimize the limitations of electronic formats, while capitalizing on their strengths. After learning how to design and lay out your electronic newsletter, you will discover how to test it to make sure it displays properly. In addition, you will become versed in the nuts and bolts of distributing your publication through mass e-mails.
Throughout the book, helpful checklists and sample worksheets (including blank versions that you can copy and use) will keep you focused and organized so you won’t overlook the many details that comprise a professional newsletter. You will also find an extensive glossary of useful terms, as well as a broad list of resources for newsletter publishing— books, periodicals, organizations, websites, vendors, and more. At this point, most authors would wish you luck in your newsletter publishing endeavor. But if luck were all it took, you wouldn’t need this book. Instead, I leave you with the following heartfelt advice:
Have the patience to follow directions, the curiosity to learn, the drive to persevere, and the humility to accept criticism and learn from the mistakes of publishers who have come before you.