How do You Edit a Newsletter?
by Mike Banks Valentine
This week I was asked what is involved in editing a
newsletter and thought I'd pass it along to this list
since I advocate EVERY webmaster have a regular e-mail
newsletter to keep in touch with potential clients and
create a sense of community within their audience of
web site visitors.
Editing involves proofreading articles for spelling,
punctuation, grammar and readablility. There is also
formatting the newsletters so that all mail clients
from Eudora to Netscape Messenger to Outlook Express
can see a properly displayed page with word wrap set
at a maximum 65 characters per line. Use a fixed-
width font such as courier new to view your work as
it will be seen in mail clients that require them.
Then any stylistic concerns like indenting paragraphs,
double spacing between sentences and using specific
"spacer characters " such as asterisks or dashes used to
create a specific look for each ezine.
Gathering and editing material or writing original
material for each issue is also an important task.
Understanding list management software commands and/or
list host user interface. Knowing how your work will
perform (mailto and hypertext links) in AOL mail
clients. Setting up advertiser links to track responses
and determine "ROI " for their ad dollars.
Dealing with advertisers by phone fax and email for ad
supported lists is critical for businesses that
value their subscriber lists as traffic generators and
advertising vehicles. (Love those machinery metaphors!)
So, there you have a job description for an editor/ list
manager. This is a position every webmaster should strive
to fill with either a qualified editor or learn to handle
themselves. An editor and list manager can make or break
your list and dramatically affect your online business!
WRITE THAT FIRST DRAFT FIRST...THEN GET PUBLISHED!
by Shery Ma Belle Arrieta
Anne Lamott wasn't so subtle about what she thought of first
drafts in her book, Bird by Bird. In fact, she started off by
writing, "Now, practically even better news than that of short
assignments is the idea of shitty first drafts. All good writers
write them. This is how they end up with good second drafts and
terrific third drafts."
I agree with her. First drafts are the roughest, and well, ugliest
drafts. It's a common mistake of beginning writers, as well as
seasoned ones, to expect themselves to produce shiny, perfect very
polished and publishable first drafts. What these writers don't
know is that these ugly and every-editor's-nightmare first drafts
can provide them with the opportunity to explore every angle,
every slant, and every idea for an article or a work.
WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING! Well, at least try to write all of them
down. This is the stage where you don't let the memories of your
English professors get in the way of writing. When you start with
your first (or rough) draft, you have the prerogative to hurl
those boring English and grammar rules out the window. Don't
worry, you'll pick them up later.
STEW FOR A WHILE! After you get all your ideas down on paper,
leave them. And I mean it! Don't even try touching them until a
sufficient amount of time has lapsed. Give it a day or two. Let
it stew on your desk. Go to your dentist, get a manicure, or write
other stuff, but don't, for your muse's sake, get your hands on
your first draft just yet!
GET LETHAL WITH THAT RED MARKER! The next day is the time you can
brandish your most lethal weapon - your red (or any color you
prefer) marker. Take out your terrible (and you will realize that
it is terrible!) first draft and start crossing out ideas and
sentences you don't need.
ON TO A GOOD SECOND DRAFT! Remember the English and grammar rules
you threw out the window the day before? Now's the time to pick
them up. You need them now. Go over the remains of your first
draft. You probably can't help wincing as you go along and start
editing your work, joining fragments, making the verbs and the
subjects agree with each other, correcting your spelling and
finding that sentence or paragraph to lead your article or story.
Firm up your second draft. You will find that it's a lot leaner
and better than your terrible first draft.
GO AHEAD, GO FOR THE KILL! With an already better and much-
improved second draft, why stop when you can make it even better
and more polished? Like what Lamott wrote, go over your third
draft as if you're a dentist looking for cavities, flossing every
tooth and treating bad breath. Your third draft hopefully is your
final and best draft.
ASSIMILATE, ASSIMILATE! Lamott wrote, "The first draft is the
child's draft, where you let it all pour out and then let it romp
all over the place, knowing that no one is going to see it and
that you can shape it later." Let your ideas flow the first time
you sit down to write that article or story! It's only when you
write those terrible first drafts will you be able to produce
really, really great stories! Then you can get them published!
Copyright © 2001 Shery Ma Belle Arrieta
ABOUT Shery: Shery is the author of the exciting new series
of ebooks, SEEDS: Ideas for the Everyday (Non-Fiction)
Writer. If you think you need inspiration to write, think
again! The ebooks in the SEEDS Series will keep you writing
*every day* -- all year round! -- and you don't even have to
be inspired! Visit http://www.seedsforwriters.com today and
find out how you can get BIG discounts on the SEEDS ebooks!
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