This week, CreativeLive held an online conference for makers that was all about preparing for holiday craft shows and the general holiday rush. One of the sessions was on email marketing, and it was taught by Abby Glassenberg, whom I’ve really enjoyed getting to know over the last few years, and who writes a truly ace email newsletter that supports her sewing-pattern business and her business-related blog.

Abby didn’t tell me ahead of time that she planned to mention my newsletter during her class, so the dozen or so new subscriptions that came in over a fifteen-minute period the other day was a happy mystery (after I determined they weren’t spam!). Eventually, I wondered aloud about it on Twitter, and was told about Abby’s shout-out. Which made it a very warm-fuzzy happy, indeed.

Also, Abby’s shout-out led to a major milestone in subscription numbers (note: I assume that most “successful” newsletters have far more subscribers than this; I may be wrong in assuming that; I love reaching exactly the right people through my newsletter and am not remotely concerned about numbers; at the same time, I’m totally celebrating that 1,000 people are interested in reading my words every week):

1000 TinyLetter subscribers!

I’m not sure what Abby said, but I do know my newsletter is different from many makers’ and authors’, in part simply because I don’t use MailChimp for it. The ironic thing, in fact, is that I stopped using MailChimp a while ago because I didn’t want to feel like I was MARKETING every time I prepared my newsletter. Instead of MailChimp, I use a system made by the same company, called TinyLetter. TinyLetter not only allows me to achieve my goal of connecting with my readers while also letting them know about work I’ve got coming out in the world, it’s actually designed for exactly that. Where MailChimp is designed to sell things (which is not at all a bad thing), TinyLetter is designed to help people connect. And that’s my goal for my newsletter: to connect with people. Yes, and also to let them know about my work so they can buy or otherwise support it. But I didn’t at all enjoy promoting my work through MailChimp, because I didn’t feel like I would also be able to connect with human beings through it.

I send my newsletter every Friday, almost without fail. It’s mostly about what’s been on my mind over the course of the week, and I include a prompt to help you have fun making stuff, and a list of links to cool stuff I’ve found that I think you’ll enjoy or otherwise find fascinating. You’ll probably enjoy the newsletter if: you’re into thinking about your creativity and your experience of making stuff; you’re into hearing what other people think about those things; you’re a fan of work I do like Mighty Ugly, Year of Making, or teaching crochet; you’re into checking out how different kinds of independent/freelance/creative businesspeople do their newsletters.

Sign up here! (Or, if you’re on my site and not reading this in a feed reader, there are links all over the place for it.)

If you’re struggling to figure out newslettery stuff for your own business, and something Abby said about my newsletter or something I said above sparked some questions you want to discuss, leave a comment! I bet your thing is something other people would like to talk more about, too, so we can have an email newsletter chat right here in public. I love talking about this sort of thing.

And seriously, Abby is brilliant. If you want to learn about email marketing from a master, take her class.