People just instantly delete…

How to write compelling emails that no one deletes

That was a comment on a thread in my Facebook group the other day when we were talking about emails and newsletters.

‘People just instantly delete them. They are a complete waste of time.’

We were talking about the evolving news story of TikTok and all the drama surrounding it and if the app will be banned.
I’m writing this to you as the CEO of TikTok goes up before congress today, and I’m so interested to see what happens.

If it is banned, what the ramifications will be for social media in general? If the ban will set a precedent for other apps? How China will retaliate and what will it do?

So many questions, and we were discussing this in the group and batting around ideas for how to protect our content and community should the worst happen.

That’s when the subject of newsletters came up.

For me, these letters that I write to you, are my best form of engagement.

Looking at my stats, they get a good open rate, attract new subscribers and I love getting comments and messages about them.

For other authors, it seems not so much.

They told me that no one even opens their mail, or responds, or subscribes.

So here’s a few tips from what I’ve learned in the past nine months of sending these weekly letters out. (I moved over to Substack in January this year and sent them privately before that if you’re wondering where all the archives are!)

Look at your diary

Yep, that’s my first port of call when writing to you.
I look back at what I did in the week. Where did I go? Who was I with? What rubbish stuff happened? What great stuff happened?

I make a quick note, and then look them over.

You might think no one is interested in this stuff, but I disagree.

Remember, people sign up to get your newsletters because they are interested in YOU.
They want to learn more about you, people are naturally curious, and chances are your ideal reader is a lot like you, so whatever you did, it will be of interest as long as you make it relevant.

But first…

Pick a topic

So let’s say the diary events that stuck out from your past week, look like this:

  • Wrote 4k words
  • Had a dentist appointment
  • Rained all week so didn’t go running

Maybe that’s all you’ve got to work with, but honestly, there’s like two months worth of weekly emails there.

How is it relevant?

This is the hard bit.
Take one of those topics and think how it is relevant to your ideal reader? How can you make it matter to them? Why will they care?

Think about what your intention is with the newsletter. Is it to tell them about a new book release? Ask them to leave a review? Get them to pre-order? Or just to keep yourself fresh in their mind and nurture them?

Let’s take those ideas and turn them into newsletter topics.

What you want to ask yourself when getting one of those topics is how can provide value to the reader?


I like to take the main topic and then branch it out into why it will be worth reading. So taking the above topics, we can work them something like this:

Wrote 4k words – writing advice and how you work.
How did you do this?
What’s your writing plan?
Are you a panster or a plotter?
What software did you use?

Had a dentist appointment – how you are courageous in showing your writing
How is visiting the dentist a bit like showing someone a first draft?
Tips for doing something you hate.
How the thought of something is so much worse than actually doing it.
How do you reward yourself after visiting?

Rained so didn’t go running – missed plans
How to prepare for the unexpected.
Ways to spend a rainy afternoon.
Tips for exercising when you sit at a desk all day.
Books you love that are about extreme weather.

Wrap it up

When you look at it like that, it’s easy to come up with relatable emails that will connect you with your community.

This email was from a discussion over in my Facebook group – are you a member yet? I have big plans for it!

Will you try it? This trick for getting oodles of newsletter ideas that people care about?

I could write about how to get more open rates, how to sell via your emails and why they are as important for you as they are for your readers, so if you’ve any questions pop them here and I’ll get straight back to you.

Have a great weekend,

Zoe x

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