Thursday Thoughts: Newsletter truths revealed!

Leon Stevens
4 min readSep 21, 2023



You might dislike them, but you put up with one to get the free book and promptly unsubscribe. I lovingly call them “Freeders”. This is not an insult. I respect people’s choices, that’s why I have an unsubscribe link*. If you didn’t like my book, fair enough. there are many indie author books I have read that I didn’t care for. Some I couldn’t even finish, but that’s me.

(*That and the legal requirement.)

Authors want you to buy their books. That’s why they are willing to give away their hard work, kind of like those free samples you get at the grocery store. “Sure I’ll try a bologna stuffed mushroom.”

Anyway, newsletters are a lot of work, and on average, usually less than 50% of subscribers open author newsletters. So why do them?

“Thanks for consistently producing one of the few enjoyable writer newsletters.

This is a message I received from one of my newsletter subscribers at the end of one of my always entertaining* semi-annual Lines by Leon survey.

(*Based on the 2022 J.D. Powers award for “most entertaining survey attached to a bi-weekly newsletter by an obscure author with less than 1000 subscribers.**”
**Not an actual award.)

I know what you are thinking, “Hey, Leon. Quit jabbering on, shut your gob, and give us the link to the survey.

Take the survey: Lines by Leon Survey 2023 You won’t regret it*

(*Not a guarantee.)

So, If you are an avid reader of indie books (thank you, by the way), you know that most authors have newsletters. Weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, sporadically, heck, I’ve seen a daily one!

So, why do authors have newsletters?
-To sell more books

Why do authors give away books?
-To sell more books

See where I’m going with this? Of course, you do. You have signed up for one, usually in exchange for a free book or short excerpt from the author. It’s a win/win. You get free stuff and potentially, if you like it you will … yup, buy a book.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to sell more books, but to be honest, I do enjoy crafting that perfect email, providing some entertainment value, and showcasing other indie authors you might like. It’s that same reason I blog: to provide entertainment.

There’s an added bonus. I get to know my readers. Not all of them. Some sign up and unsubscribe after getting the freebie, others open the occasional newsletter, thereby thwarting the elaborate inactive subscriber algorithm I have set up, while many open and click on the various offerings in every one.

A select few even send me messages letting me know how much they like my emails or books, which creates a closer connection. These subscribers often become my early reviewers and some are picked to be my beta readers. Those are the ones who actually get input in my stories. Think how cool it would be if Stephen King asked you what ending you preferred in his next book.

Do newsletters sell books? Unless a subscriber tells me they bought my book, I have no idea how many have. Sure, I know who clicks on the book link, and maybe there is a sale that day, but there are other things I am doing to get the word out, so it’s not definitive.

So, buy my book or don’t buy my book. I’m just glad you welcome me into your email inbox (What? It goes to spam?!) and that I can bring a smile to your life.

Unless you download my free book and unsubscribe right away. Then you can go-


Here’s my newsletter link:
(There’s free stuff there, don’t you know!)

Leon Stevens is a multi-genre author, composer, guitarist, songwriter, and an artist, with a Bachelor of Music and Education. He published his first book of poetry, Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures in January 2020, followed by a book of original classical guitar compositions, Journeys, and a short story collection of science fiction/post-apocalyptic tales called The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories. His newest publications are the novella trilogy, The View from Here, which is a continuation of one of his short stories, and a new collection of poetry titled, A Wonder of Words.

My new book page:

Sign up for my bi-weekly newsletter and receive a free book!

Originally published at on September 21, 2023.



Leon Stevens

Leon Stevens is a writer, composer, guitarist, songwriter, and an artist, with a Bachelor of Music and Education.