Susan Grossey

Don’t mute the messenger

I appreciate that this may have passed you by – mainly because it’s all still in my head rather than actually happening – but now that I am giving being a professional author a go, I am revamping my communications with readers.  I have a very minimal Facebook and Twitter presence for Sam Plank (nothing yet for Gregory Hardiman), and then I have this blog and my monthly research updates.  And there’s my website for me as an author, which covers my fiction and non-fiction writing.  My husband has kindly volunteered (that’s not a euphemism – he genuinely did) to update my website, which is looking a bit tired; like everything, websites have their fashions, and my rather static, page-driven one is now the website equivalent of the Ford Granada.  So I’ll leave that to him, and weigh in with praise/complaints/biscuits as required.  But my job now is to think about my more proactive engagement with readers.

This blog has always been ad hoc – in other words, I make a post when I feel I have something to say.  But again, this seems to be a bit passé: looking at the output of other, much more successful authors, the trend these days is for regular newsletters sent to subscribers.  Some of you will already receive my monthly research updates, and I am wondering whether to unite the two – in other words, to send out a monthly newsletter that contains some background research information as well as other updates on (for instance) how my current book is going and who has agreed to play Sam in the Sunday evening drama commissioned by the BBC (well, an author can dream…).  So the blog would cease, and only newsletter subscribers would hear actively from me.  (Signing up to the newsletter would of course be free.)

And so I wondered whether you had any views on the subject.  To make life simpler I have put together a few questions – but you are more than welcome to go off piste and ignore them completeley.  Here goes:

  1. Would you be interested in receiving a monthly newsletter from me, which would focus on my historical crime writing (i.e. both the completed Sam series and the new Gregory series, and whatever comes after that)?
  2. Looking at possible content, are you interested in:
    • The research that I do behind the writing – my current monthly update has only 46 people signed up, so perhaps it’s not as popular as I think
    • My progress on my current book
    • The writing process
    • The self-publishing process
    • Me as an individual and not just as an author – some writers share their holiday photos and pet photos, for instance
    • Anything else?
  3. It is likely that I will work out how to sell my own books – in e-formats only – via my new website.  Would you prefer to buy this way (for about the same price as on Amazon, but with a larger percentage of the sale price going to me)?  And would the promise of special subscriber discounts interest you?

I think that will do for now.  As you can see, what I am trying to do is gauge whether this is the right approach, and – if it is – what would tempt you to become a newsletter subscriber.  Thank you so much for any thoughts.



  1. Graham Thomas Avatar
    Graham Thomas

    Hi Susan

    My thoughts as follows, as per your numbering above.

    1. Combining the blog and newsletter sounds good to me, and I would be interested in receiving the monthly newsletter.

    2. As a fan of your writing, rather than having any writing ambitions of my own, I’d be most interested in hearing about progress on the latest book, background research snippets and some bits about you as an individual, and less so re the processes for the writing and self publishing. Nothing springs to mind for the “anything else” category.

    3. Buying direct from you, with you keeping more of the proceeds, would definitely be preferable for me, with or without the subscriber discount.

    Hope that helps.


  2. Susan Grossey author Avatar
    Susan Grossey author

    Many thanks indeed for taking the time to reply, Graham. I have noted all your suggestions, preferences and comments and will put them into the mix. All the received wisdom is to “know your reader and give them what they want”, so this is my attempt to do just that! It is extremely helpful of you to weigh in – thank you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s