9 TinyLetters for Writers and Readers

Ever since the death of Google Reader, my internet reading life has been just a little bit sadder. It used to be so easy to subscribe to my favorite blogs and have them waiting for me whenever I wanted them. While a few different replacement RSS readers rose up to take Google Reader’s place, it seemed like the world of blogging and personal writing had changed forever.

Enter TinyLetter. TinyLetter is an extremely simple e-mail newsletter platform that many writers have jumped to instead of having a personal blog. TinyLetter offers writers some control that they don’t have when they’re blogging since they can monitor subscribers and newsletters, which cuts down on harassment. (Isn’t it so sad that that’s a reason to use a platform? Wouldn’t it be great if other platforms offered that kind of protection?)

Personally, I’ve loved being able to refresh my email every day to find brand new things from some of my favorite writers, and I’ve even made a separate email so my beloved newsletters doing get buried under spam in my main inbox. (If you have someone like “jesselovesnewsletters@bookmail.com” subscribed to your newsletter, that is me. Hi.)

To spread the love a little, I’ve put together a round-up of some of the best literary newsletters in my inbox, along with a little excerpt so you can get a taste of what the newsletters are about. Now, go forth and subscribe!

Franzen Comes Alive by Liberty Hardy
Beloved Book Riot editor Liberty sends out an annotated list of all the new book releases in the whole world (or so it appears), along with a tweet, gif, and song of the week, and more.
Until next time, keep your books out and your blood in.

What I Read by Christy Childers
Christy (another Rioter–we all like to write about books, okay?)writes regular updates about what she’s been reading, and right now she’s in the middle of reading all of C.S. Lewis’s work chronologically.
You can slice into CS Lewis’s writing anywhere & you will find the same theme: a sense of exile. He’s all about longing, JOY, the idea that “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”

London Calling by Ami Greko
Ami, recent NYC transplant to the UK, sends out fascinating links about publishing news with an emphasis on the digital space, and her emails a refreshingly free from “oh noes, e-books are killing us all” hand-wringing.
As adult coloring books are being credited with much of this year’s print book revival, how weird is it that the publisher is going digital with a free app? I could see a few different reasons, but will settle on the reason I prefer: even with adult coloring books, you can’t ignore all of the potential buyers who want things in a purely digital space.

Slant Letter by Stephanie Smith
This one is technically hosted on MailChimp, but it still goes in your email, and let’s not be close-minded here. Stephanie is an acquisitions editor who wants to help writers develop their angle–their slant–and get published.
If content is king, the angle is queen—and she is one classy lady! An angle is simply this: it’s a fresh frame for timeless truth. It’s creative, unexpected, a pinch provocative, and able to power up vital conversations people are compelled to join. It’s the signature of great writing. And it makes all the difference in standing out beyond overdone, underdeveloped, dime-a-dozen concepts.

Pitching Shark by Sulagna Misra
Sulagna writes a column giving advice to freelance writers who need help learning how to pitch their stories. The advice column is called “Jaws Do It” because sharks, and then she has a list of publications looking for pieces called “You Might as Whale Try.” It’s great.
Well, personally, I pitch first and write later. But then I like having an editor to work with when I write, and I don’t really have as much time as I wish I did to write something without knowing I’m getting paid for it (other than my novel, hahahaha). But that’s just it: it’s a personal essay so you do what works for you, personally.

Bread and Ink by Jesse Doogan
Shameless self-promotion alert: I write a monthly email about books and food. I talk about what I read and what I ate, because those seem to be the two things I care most about.
I guess that is the mark of a very good book: to get under your skin and change how you go about your day, but reading books that made me suffer like that gave me some compassion for people who read to escape. I hope this doesn’t sound condescending: I read to escape too. But reading books that were a visceral reminder of some of the worst days of my life made me want to read some books where a simple villain is easily dispatched, where the biggest conflict is some roses that won’t bloom, where happy endings are easily come by.

Holdfasts by Erin Kissane
Erin writes beautifully about the books she read when she was young, and the books she’s reading now.
So I worked instead on reinforcing the tunnels to specific memories that would keep alive my child-self and let me stay whole as I got older. And in that list of portal-memories, along with vivid moments in specific kinds of sunlight on just the right sort of early-autumn day, there were a whole lot of books.
Which is to say: holdfasts.

Shaken & Stirred by Gwenda Bond
Gwenda writes a lovely, newsy, personal letter each week to let her readers know what she’s up to and what progress she’s made on her latest novel, and she also includes some great links.
You may notice that all of us writers go a little crazy around release day and wonder why. The lives of books can be sooooo long after all, for all that we pretend they’re fleeting. It’s not like everyone who reads a book reads it right away. As a reader, I know I’m still discovering so many books published decades or years ago, in addition to ones published days ago or next month. As a writer, I know that people are still discovering books I wrote years ago. Logic means it takes time for people to read books and recommend them.

The Maris Review by Maris Kreizman
Maris, of Slaughterhouse 90210 fame and head of publishing outreach at Kickstarter, has a new letter out about what she is reading, watching, backing, and generally loving each week.
Here’s what else you might expect from The Maris Review: Ferrante Fever, musings on the names of ModCloth dresses and nail polish colors, huge eye rolls for people who insist that books are better than TV, vigilant monitoring of Joyce Carol Oates Twitter, complicated charts about how my life is exactly like YOUNGER, karaoke suggestions, inappropriate LinkedIn messages, the life and times of Bizzy the Pug.

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