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Janet Roberts

Publisher Interview: Angela Adair-Hoy, WritersWeekly.com
By Janet Roberts



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If your newsletter circulation is on "idle" at the moment, take a look at WritersWeekly.com, a weekly newsletter for freelance writers which cracked the 50,000-subscriber mark a while ago and is now well over 52,000. It's an excellent example of what can happen when you form a tight bond with readers that extends beyond a simple sharing of information.

The newsletter is one division of Publisher Angela Adair-Hoy's company. She and her husband, Richard Hoy, own Booklocker.com, which publishes and distributes ebooks, her own and others. Her titles include "How to Write, Publish & $ell E-Books" and "How to Publish and Promote Online," a print version of an ebook, written with M.J. Rose. She continues to produce "The Write Markets Report," an online version of her original print writers' magazine. A baby's on the way, too. And you thought you had your hands full.

We quoted from WritersWeekly.com in a recent Ezine-Tip, which you can read here.

We also tracked Angela down in Bangor, Maine, as she was finishing work on this week's ezine issue:

Ezine-Tips: Your newsletter circulation is now over 50,000. How did you do it?

Adair-Hoy: WritersWeekly.com started out as a hobby site to sell subscriptions to my print magazine, The Write Markets Report. Within three years, it had grown so large that my husband had to quit his job to help me run it from home. The list grows by about 100 new subscribers every day and is now the largest freelance writing ezine in the world.

Judging from readers' letters, the most important addition to the weekly has been my column, "News From the Home Office." I concocted the idea for the column because all my readers want to be able to work at home like I do. I thought I'd give them some humorous insight into what it's really like to work at home for a living surrounded by 3 kids, 3 cats, a hamster (now deceased) and more.

The column turned into a weekly diary of sorts and my readers (80 percent women) followed me, through that column, from a nasty divorce, through being broke (no child support coming in), to remarriage, and along the road got to read stories about the hamster dying, the cat who gave birth under my daughter's bed, my son's broken arm, then broken knee, then broken ankle...

Well, you get the idea. My readers get a glimpse at my personal life every week and this has really kept a personal connection with each and every one of them. I have to say that this, along with going the extra mile on offering quality content (my competitors all offer recycled markets) gave us a huge edge over the competition.

Now, every time I write a new book, my loyal readers buy it because they know it'll be good, and will also be full of my somewhat sick humor ;).

ET: Does having such a substantial circulation have its problems?

AAH: I welcome every new subscriber with open arms because every new subscriber is a potential future paying customer. The only headache is list maintenance. I really hate that part of it. We use egroups/yahoogroups right now, but are buying new software. Since Yahoo bought egroups, hundreds of our readers don't get their issues at all every week. It's been quite a hit to our pocketbook.

ET: Have you picked new software yet?

AAH: Richard's looking at four or five of them and pondering them with our web-development firm. We'll stay with egroups/yahoo until we decide. Changing is a real headache as well.

ET: The newsletter is free right now. Will it stay that way?

AAH: Absolutely! WritersWeekly.com is our free catalog, so to speak. Every Wednesday, when the issue goes out, our sales spike for the week. When we went from a monthly format to weekly two years ago, our sales quadrupled, and they've stayed that way.

Visit Angela's site here. To subscribe to WritersWeekly.com, click here.

Ezine-Tips for June 05, 2001

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