The writer of The Novelliest shares tips and tricks for writers with newsletters
Elle Griffin recently shared with Substack some of the secrets behind her popular newsletter, The Novelleist. In the interview, Griffin dished out some potent tips and advice for writers who have newsletters.
Griffin started The Novelleist in Feb. She’s trying to grow her newsletter audience before Sep., when she’ll release a serialized version of her debut novel, Obscurity. The Novelleist is free, but Griffin will charge subscribers for access to Obscurity.
Griffin’s decision to publish her novel as a serial newsletter will be a fascinating experience to watch. If enough people decide to pay $5 a month to read Obscurity, the author may help pioneer a new form of self-publishing.
In her interview with Substack, Griffin talked about growing her newsletter email list, deciding to serialize Obscurity, and more.
How Elle Griffin handles the demands of newsletter publishing
“The only way I was able to come up with a weekly newsletter — because that’s kind of exhausting for me to write a weekly newsletter every week in addition to writing fiction chapters — so I do a newsletter every other week. And on the other weeks, I interview other authors who successfully serialized their fiction novels. So that I can learn from them.”
How Elle Griffin grows her email list
“I stalked everyone I could find on Twitter who used the combination of the word ‘fiction’ and the word ‘Substack’ in a tweet. I messaged them and invited them to a Discord server so we could learn from each other. There are hundreds of fiction writers in the community now, all talking about what has worked and not worked for each of us.”
“What was most helpful for growth was writing two articles that took me a really long time to produce. One took me all of 2020 to research. The other one took me another six months to research…(One) article had something like 60,000 views in one day, and a lot of subscribers came from that one piece of writing that really resonated.”
How She’s Charging Readers for Access to Obscurity
“I’m following the funding model you see with an online course. In these courses, you have to take the first class before the second class. There is a clear order, and people running courses often open enrollment just once a year…That’s how I’m going to approach it with my novel. September is my ‘enrollment period.’ My plan is to publish the first four chapters in September to my entire newsletter list for free. At the bottom of each of those posts, I’ll tell readers that in order to keep reading in October, they’ll need to subscribe and pay an annual fee.”
“I plan to do this same process every year. This first book will be done in June. I’ll have July and August off, and in September, I’ll start my second book.”
“I think this annual approach is easier on writers who aren’t used to asking for money because you just need to do so once a year, and then you can focus on writing.”
Takeaways from Elle Griffin
Elle Griffin delivers some creative, handy tips and tricks for writers with newsletters in a few words. Here are four critical takeaways from her interview with Substack:
- Be realistic – Griffin identified content she could regularly produce. It’s crucial not to take on more than we can handle, or else we won’t maintain the consistency required to grow a newsletter audience.
- Get creative – To attract readers to The Novelleist, Griffin leveraged other technologies, such as Twitter, in innovative ways. Being flexible and open to doing different things can produce impressive results.
- Focus on your readers – Griffin knows new subscribers will want to start reading Obscurity with its first chapter. So, she established a process for helping new subscribers begin with her book’s first chapter, no matter when they subscribe. Likewise, when publishing a newsletter, always consider your audience to ensure you’re delivering the best possible experience.
- Plan, plan, plan – Griffin already has a plan for how she’ll launch her serialized novel in Sep. She knows how to introduce new readers to the book, no matter when they subscribe. Griffin even knows when she’ll release her second serialized novel next year. Planning helps us consistently produce a high-quality newsletter that delights readers.
You can watch part of Elle Griffin’s interview, including examples of serialized fiction newsletters, at Substack.
This article originally appeared on Medium.