“Eudora darling,” the letters would begin.
The paper yellowed, but the handwritten script very much still alive.
Katherine Anne Porter’s very intimate words intended for her friend and mentee, Eudora Welty, somehow in my gloved hands to be archived after the renowned Mississsippi author died.
During college I’d managed to land myself in a class whose primary project was to spend time IN EUDORA WELTY’S HOUSE READING HER LETTERS FROM FELLOW AUTHORS.
It was… literally quite literary.
And… almost voyeuristic, reading Porter’s words to Welty and escaping into their reality.
The latest news from Yaddo (the artist community in upstate New York where Porter lived) was mailed to Welty’s home in the Belhaven area of Jackson, where she’d returned to care for family after a stint in New York.
I became a bit addicted to the epistolary exchange, feeling as some fiction writers and film creators can make us feel: a bit too close to the story.
The way you’d feel if you’d found a box of your grandmother’s letters in the attic.
I’m reflecting on this at this very moment, fellow newsletterers, because I’ve begun to notice a lovely exchange that occurs after sending an issue of Opt In Weekly: a handful of repeat responders who send me their thoughts, to which I always reply.
What began as “Subscribe to my newsletter” has grown into real relationships.
And the exchange has inspired an idea I don’t quite know how to pursue: what if there were a newsletter that made you feel as if you were witness to the back-and-forth email discussion between 2 people?
“I think this.”
“But have you considered this?”
“Oh, that’s even better. Here’s my attempt at trying that…”
The way Porter mentored Welty, yet was her friend, too.
Is it far-fetched?
Would you enjoy feeling like you hacked an email account?
While I ponder that, here’s something for you to consider:
Make your reader feel as if you are writing to them alone. Newsletters as a genre allow senders to create that sense of intimacy. Immerse in it.
A Few Announcements
Congratulations to Opt In Weekly curator and commentary writer Samantha, who had a baby earlier this week. We’re so excited for you!
Thank you to Seth for helping with commentary this week. We did it!
Opt In Weekly is taking a spring break vacation next week while I enjoy some family time. See you in 2 weeks.
The Future Of Global And Local Publishing
This week's publishing insights take a look at global and local publications' success and how they're preparing for the future of the industry.
- Are newsletters really the future of publishing? Andrea Daniele Signorelli discusses the recent success of newsletters and examines the origins of lucrative publications by people like Casey Newton and Grant Morrison in this article.
- AOP published a study on how digital publishers are preparing for the future of the publishing industry. Faisal Kalim with WNIP has the takeaways here.
- In this Digiday article, Sara Guaglione shares the different approaches publishers like CNN, The Washington Post, and The New York Times are taking to reach a global audience. Some are seeing success with regional newsletters while others use flagship publications to share world news.
- The Atlantic may have solved a problem: word game players don’t necessarily explore articles on the media sites that provide them. They’ve launched The Good Word, a weekly newsletter from their crossword-puzzles editor. It explores a previous week’s crossword answer and promotes Atlantic stories.
- 6AM City just passed one million newsletter subscribers across its 24 hyper-local newsletters. Esther Kezia Thorpe has the recap of Media Voices' discussion with 6AM Co-Founder Ryan Heafy. Ryan shares 6AM City's strategies that have lead to this milestone and they're plans for the future in this article.
- E&P’s annual “10 News Publishers that do it right” is here. Robin Blinder covers 10 regional publications that are producing great content for their local communities and shares what they’re doing right here.
- Are publishers hitting a subscription limit? Thomas Baekdal doesn’t think so. He believes that they’re not even close to reaching it. Click through to read his reasoning and the research that supports his claim.
How To Edit The Subject Line & Preview Text Of Your Curated Newsletter
Seth from Curated Succsess here.
An email’s subject line and preview text help you set expectations and increase engagement. With Curated, you can edit the subject line and preview text for each newsletter issue you create. Here’s how:
- Create a new Draft issue or open an existing Draft
- Click Edit under the issue number
- Edit the Issue Title to change the email subject line and the Issue Summary to change the preview text
You can use the subject line to catch the attention of your readers (we like to copy/paste emojis from Emojipedia) and hint at the content of each issue. The preview text can then be used to further tease what’s inside.
The Issue Summary has an additional function: acting as the title of an issue on your publication’s Archives page (example).
Why this matters
Some email builders just pull preview text from the first words of your email, which may be things like “View in browser” or ”Hey, [NAME]” or “Image title.”