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Thanks for the advice!

CJ Chilvers
CJ Chilvers
2 min read

I don’t like analyzing personal newsletters. They’re whatever their creator wants them to be.

There’s no rules.

That goes for mine as well. But I am interested in looking back every year or two to check in on what you think.

I don’t nitpick. I don’t scrutinize. I just want the big picture: what were you into?

Here’s what you’ve taught me this year:

  1. No matter what you think of the length of blog posts, you prefer shorter emails. Noted.
  2. You didn’t seem to care about email format as much as in the past. I think Substack has started to break the assumptions of what a newsletter should be.
  3. Fun and “inspirational” topics got the most responses. Replies are my favorite metric.
  4. However, a more tactical topic, 35 Lessons from 35 Years of Newsletter Publishing, was your favorite post of the past year or two.
  5. You generally love lists. I mean LOVE them. I can’t blame you. I do too.

Things I believe I did right this year:

  1. I finally conquered consistency. I publish every day, but never consistently in public and under my own name, until this year.
  2. I starting getting membership revenue even though I don’t offer memberships. People found a way.
  3. My audiobook is 1/3 done. It’s part of my project to package each of my books in all possible formats for one price — independently.
  4. I appeared on more podcasts.
  5. More people subscribed to the Van Halen Encyclopedia, my guilty pleasure project.
  6. Offline content strategy work increased almost too much — leading to some of the bad results below.

Things I believe I did wrong:

  1. My offline work seriously ate into my online work, negatively affecting…everything.
  2. Promoting my last book in the Derek Sivers style didn’t work in the long run.
  3. I’m glad I moved to Ghost, but I didn’t do enough work to transition the site seamlessly. I’m seeing some negative consequences from not tending to my garden around here.

I won’t tell you what I’m changing. I’m just going to do it and we’ll check in again next year.