Moving the Ready for Rain Newsletter

December 07, 2020

By: Lee LeFever

I write books and run a company called Common Craft. I recently moved from Seattle to a rural island. Here, I write about online business, book publishing, modern home construction, and occasionally, dumb jokes.

Ready for Rain is a newsletter I started nearly two years ago as a way to practice writing. Each week, I write an article that usually has over 1,000 words and tells a story. These are often personal and focused on events in my life, like publishing books and building a house. It’s a lot of work to publish 1,000 words each week, but it something that gives me great satisfaction. Subscribers seem to like it too!

Early in the process, I started using the Revue newsletter platform. It’s part of a new breed of email newsletter tools that is purpose-built, simple to use, and affordable. It worked OK, but there were things about the situation that bothered me. My words were being archived on someone else’s website. The visitors to the newsletter web page were seeing someone else’s design decisions. I didn’t have control.

For example, Revue’s main call-to-action says “Subscribe to Our Newsletter”. To me, this sets the expectation that the visitor is viewing a blog and that the newsletter is secondary. Also, who is “our”? What about MY newsletter? I suggested changing it and was brushed off.

I wrote about this kind of platform risk in Big Enough. At Common Craft, we’ve made it a priority not to build our empire on someone else’s land (or algorithms). Now it was time to bring this thinking to my personal website.

My goal became to make leelefever.com the home of the newsletter. But there was a challenge. I had written 85 posts on Revue, full of images and links. These posts could be copied into blog posts and the links could be changed, but it would be time-consuming. So, as I’ve done in the past, I found a contractor on UpWork to do the work, which is happening now.

Soon, this blog will be the only home of Ready for Rain posts. All links will point to leelefever.com and all images will be hosted on my server. Then, I will cancel my account on Revue. Liberation!

Going forward, newsletter posts will begin life as blog posts that are also sent as newsletter issues. I plan to use the email marketing platform ConvertKit that we’ve used for years at Common Craft to send the emails. I also plan to learn markdown as a way to draft new posts.

Now and in the future, the home of Ready for Rain is leelefever.com/newsletter. I’d love to have you as a subscriber!

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Ready for Rain is newsletter that's personal

Each week, I share media recommendations and a story from my life on a rural island off the coast of Washington State, where I'm building a custom home and learning island culture. Learn more.

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