My Favorite Newsletter

As an evangelist for email newsletters, I'm often asked for examples of the best. The problem is, the best are often niche newsletters that only a few hundred or a few thousand specific readers care about...but they REALLY care about them. That's exactly where you want to be as a publisher.

I can't tell you who's best for you, but I can tell you about my favorite.

My favorite newsletter isn't really a newsletter as most would define it in 2017. But I've read every issue for almost two decades, because it's the most useful email publication I receive that's specific to my interests.

Many of you know, I wrote a book in 1999 called The Van Halen Encyclopedia. I kept updating that book until around 2003, when the crush of new information coming from online detectives forced me to decide between spending all my time updating the book or having a real life. I chose to have a real life, and have since written more books, had two jobs in professional writing, and started a family. Good choice.

My interest in the information never waned, though. I think Eddie Van Halen is a musical talent who only comes along once in a generation (if you're lucky). I want to know what he and his band are up to, but I don't want to put in the work I used to.

That's why my favorite newsletter is the All Van Halen Announcement List.

It was started on Yahoo! back in 1999 when the idea of internet mailing lists had lost its popularity. Since then, Ron Higgins has faithfully published every major media mention about Van Halen on this list, which shoots me an email digest.

I know everything that's happening without having to subscribe to countless websites and social media accounts devoted to the band. I also have a searchable text archive of every major article and news piece written about the band since 1999. That's incredible. If I did decide to do another update to the book, this archive would be the primary source of information for it.

Only 192 people still subscribe to the All Van Halen Announcement List, yet Ron continues to maintain it in a thoughtful, easy to read, all-text format.

It's a shame. I wish all our media resources were as unobtrusive and utilitarian as Ron's emails. I'm sure, if I got all my news in this calm, collected way, I'd be healthier for it.