Most artists start an e-newsletter with good intentions of staying in touch with their list.
They imagine a monthly newsletter with regular columns, special features, and a calendar of upcoming events. It starts out good enough, but then something goes wrong for some artists.
It goes a little like this . . .
One newsletter goes out and contains every possible bit of information the artist can come up with. When it’s time for the next issue, the artist has nothing new to share. She gave all she had in the last issue.
She decides: It’s cool to skip an issue or two. So she waits for something to happen.
Finally! She has news! She starts piecing together a fresh issue. Then she realizes all of the other things that have been going on, which she previously thought were unworthy of the newsletter. Now she wants to cram them all (again) into a single edition.
It’s a vicious cycle of lack and plenty. If you’re affected by this, there might be a way out.
Stop Calling It a Newsletter
I have begun to recommend to many artists that they stop thinking about their emails as newsletters.
Just the word “newsletter” brings up all kinds of anxieties, including the demands of a deadline and actually having news – something to say. Never mind the pressure of competing with everything else in recipients’ inboxes.
Once you say, “I’m going to send a newsletter,” the burden begins because language matters. Once you name something, your mind fixates on what you believe that thing to be.
Try this: Fixate on the recipients – the people who know and love you. Why are you emailing them? Why should they read it?
Do the people on your list really need an email with three regular columns and an accounting of all your events for the next three months? Or would it be better to send a less substantial email more frequently?
I vote for the latter.
An alternative to sending an email newsletter is to send a simple, regular update.
Include at least one, but perhaps more, images of your art, along with detailed credit lines and the prices if they’re for sale.
Ellen Soffer does this beautifully. She shares several large images of her paintings with maybe 4 or 5 sentences. The subject line of her emails is the title of one or more of the pieces. Easy!
Ellen calls it a newsletter, which is fine. She found a format that works for her.
Call it a newsletter, call it an update, or call it whatever you like. It’s an email to keep your list warm. It won’t do its job until you write it and send it, so you might as well do it in a way that you enjoy.
If you find yourself anxious about keeping up the newsletter you promised your list, reframe it. Don’t let language get in the way.