New publications to help newsletter editors.
What's in store for the rest of 1995 and on into 1996? Look for newly minted books and pamphlets aimed at helping you get your newsletter online, either as a company-wide effort or as an external publication available over the Internet. So far, trade newsletters are your best bet for finding topics devoted to all aspects of on-screen newsletters.
If you publish anything in print, you owe it to yourself -- and to your budget -- to read "Type and Layout" by Colin Wheildon. Until Wheildon's research, wisdom on enhancing readability was anecdotal. The author used a control group of more than 200 readers to test the readability of a variety of print factors such as different headlines, colors and tinted backgrounds, the use of italics, ragged versus justified edges, condensed type, type size and optimal page-layout designs. The results of nine years of research are solid quantitative data on exactly which elements improve and which undermine a text's readability.
How might Wheildon's research affect your newsletter's design? Say your newsletter reaches 10,000 readers. If you set the body of your text in a classic serif face like Garamond, 6,700 of your readers will thoroughly comprehend your message. But if you change to a sans serif face like Helvetica, the number of your readers who thoroughly understand your message will plummet to only 1,200. After spending so much time and money on your newsletter, you don't want it largely wasted because of reader-unfriendly typefaces and design.
"Type and Layout" was first published in Australia in 1984 in a condensed form. Editor Mal Warwick, in publishing this 4th edition (and first American one), expanded the original version into a full-sized book. He doubled the number of illustrations to a total of 64, added two new chapters ("Eight Ways to Ruin to Drive Away Your Readers), a glossary, an index and an appendix detailing Wheildon's research methods.
Trendy desktop publishing
Anyone familiar with IDG's "Dummies" books can attest to their information-rich pages, easy-to-follow explanations, and user-friendly layout. IDG recruited Roger C. Parker to write "Desktop Publishing and Design for Dummie," and the result is expert advice rendered accessible. This book is appropriate for a communication manager or newsleter editor looking for fresh ideas, for an experienced desktop publisher who wants to upgrade design skills, for a newcomer who wants to learn the basics, or as a training manual for staff. Of special interest to newsletter editors is a 47-page insert by Parker called Newsletters for Dummies. This "book within a book" leads you through all the steps of starting a newsletter, from naming your publication through its final production.
Like all "Dummies" books, you'll find helpful icons that alert you to design tips, the technical stuff, things to remember, and what to watch out for. Also helpful: a glossary of 200 design terms, and 10 chapters consisting of 10 tips each on different aspects of design called "Ten Tens: One Hundred Design Tips."
If you want to find out what's trendy in design or are thinking about updating your publication's layout, check out "31 Trends in Graphic Design" by Judy Stopke. This glossy 22-page fully illustrated black-and-white booklet takes you through the current rage in basic layouts, discusses trends in typography and in graphics (including manipulated photography and creative photo shapes), what's new in paper, and the latest in colors, metallic ink, and foil stamping.
Two new fourth editions offer top-drawer advice for editors
Ten years have elapsed since the publication of the third edition of "The Newsletter Editor's Desk Book." THe 1995 fourth edition brings this classic resource for editors into the computer age, replacing references to paste-ups and typewriters with their computer equivalents. Elaine Floyd, author of "Marketing with Newsletters," undertook the revision. "This book deserves to be updated," Floyd said in an interview. "It makes you feel like a journalist by the time you're done reading. That's the spirit I wanted to keep in the book."
Floyd also widened the book's original focus on editors of employee newsletters to include editors of nonprofit and promotional newsletters. She further recognized that desktop publishing revolutionized the editor's entire work process. New material in the book, therefore, addresses the editor's role as leader and manager. In addition to the topics listed in the book's subtitle. you'll find information on juggling your scheduling, planning and writing duties as well as helpful tips on managing people.
Value-added extras include sample form contracts, a list of typesetting specifications, copy-editing and proofreading marks, sample page layouts, a 27-page model stylebook, and 10 newly updated pages of resources for newsletter editors.
The 1995 edition of "Editing Your Newsletter" is completely updated. Mark Beach based his revisions on feedback from many readers of his book's three earlier incarnations. Revisions also reflect changes in postal regulations and printing technology.
"Editing Your Newsletter" is nicely illustrated. A new section on how to create successful infographics is partnered with four before-and-after examples of how to take a traditional chart and turn it into a variety of infographic possibilities. The chapter on photographs includes 12 pages of photos showing the how-toe of taking good photographs, navigating the photofinishing process, improving and evaluating photographs, and creating the best photo layout in your newsletter. The section on design contains 18 pages of full-color examples of current newsletters and layouts. Other user-friendly features include an appendix on newsletter content backed up with more than 350 story ideas on 100-plus topics. Do you know, for example, how employees rank the information they want to receive from their employers? From a list of 12 topics, employees chose how to improve productivity and quality as number three, while they rated stories about other employees and personal news (births, birthdays) as dead last. Other helpful items include a section on how to involve readers in evaluating your newsletter, an editor's job organizer, and a 12-page glossary.
"The 11th Hour Edit: What to Do When Time Is Running Out" by Jeanne Henry helps you submit error-free copy to the printer on deadline. This 24 page booklet is loaded with tips on how to edit under pressure and exactly where to look for those mistakes that, as Henry says, some readers seem to find "like heat-seeking missiles."
Here's help in trimming newsletter costs
"101 Ways to Save Money on Newsletters," by Polly Pattison, helps you scrutinize your present methods of producing your newsletter, from management and editorial tasks through design, typography and desktop publishing, and all the way through prepress, printing and mailing. Each tip is about one paragraph long. This "quick-hits" format encourages frequent rereading as you keep refining your cost-cutting strategies. Also included: Hints on saving money by sending your newsletter electronically. For example, you can "avoid postage and printing by uploading your newsletter online, sending it through an in-house electronic mail system or using a fax distribution system," Pattison suggests.
If you think newsletters don't - or can't - sell advertising, think again. In these budget-conscious times, some newsletters find they must recoup some (or all!) of their costs by selling ads - or face cutbacks, even extinction.
Most newsletters already run forms of "soft" advertising in their announcements for fundraisers or charity work, product reviews or press releases, authors Jeanne Henry and Jabet Wheeler point out. The difference' No money is charged, and these announcements do not look like ads. Paid ads, the authors claim, also inform your readers of events. services and products of value to them.
"You Can Sell Ads in Your Newsletter" demystifies the whole process of adding paid advertising to your newsletter from estimating costs to finding suitable advertisers (including classifieds), from organizing your sales effort and creating a media kit to introducing your readers to the advertising. Also included: a sample advertising space contract, sample items for your media kit, display ad layout options for your newsletter, and a two-page reader survey.
RELATED ARTICLE: FOR KEEPING CURRENT, NEWSLETTERS ARE HARD TO BEAT
* Newsletters are your best source for up-to-the-month industry and professional information. For example, The Williams Report devoted an issue to online newsletters; The Editorial Eye published articles on copyrighting and editing online, Step-by-Step Electronic Design wrote on designing for the Web, and Newsletter News & Resources started a series on the Internet. The following list is just a sampling of publications -- plus a few other resources -- available to newsletter editors and desktop publishers.
General resources for newsletter editors
The Editorial Eye: Focusing on Publications Standards and Practices. 12 pages monthly, U.S. $99/year. Contact: Editorial Experts, 66 Canal Center Plaza, Suite 200, Alexandria, VA 22314-5507. (800) 683-8380.
Newsletter News & Resources: Ideas & Inspiration for Editors, Designers & Managers, 8 pages quarterly, U.S. $24.95/year. Contact: Newsletter Resources, 6614 Pernod Ave., St. Louis, MO 62139. (800) 264-6305.
Ragged Right: Typography, Design, and Journalism. A 16-page tabloid published biannually. For a free subscription, contact: Tony Sutton, Thomson Newspapers, 65 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON, Canada M5H 2M8. (416) 814-4250.
Cold Type: Good Writing from Around the World, A 24-page tabloid published biannually. For a free subscription, contact: Tony Sutton, Thomson newspapers, 65 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON Canada M5H 2M8. (416) 814-4250.
Newsletter Trends: Writing, Editing, Designing, Publishing, and Printing Newsletters. 8 pages monthly, Cdn. $97/year. Contact: Sterling Communications, Inc., 1920 Ellesmere Road, Suite 104, Scarbrough, ON, Canada M1h2W7. (416) 512-2218.
The Williams Report: Communication Strategies and Ideas for Business Communicators. 12 pages monthly, U.S. $137/year. Contact: Joe Williams Communications, Inc., P.O. Box 924, Bartlesville, OK 74005. (918) 336-2267. Affiliated offices in Mexico City, Mexico.
Professional association for newsletter editors
* Newsletter Publishing Association, 1401 Wilson Blvd. #207, Arlington, VA 22209; (703) 527-2333.
Graphic design resources for newsletters edtors
The Board Report: For Graphic Artists. 4 pages monthly, U.S. $69/year Contact: P.O. Box 300789, Denver, CO 80203. (303) 839-9058.
Electronic Publishing: A New Products Publication Geared Towards Those in Pre-Press and Digital Publishing [originally Type World). 32 pages monthly, U.S. $30/year. Contact: Penn Well Publishing Company, 10 Tara Blvd., 5th Floor, Nashua, NH 03062-2801. (800) 331-4463.
Farcus Cartoons, Inc. Farcus is a comic panel about the work place and is featured in over 250 daily newspapers by Universal Press Syndicate. Editors can purchase individual Farcus cartoons for their newsletters directly from the creator. Ask about the Farcus cartoon package for newsletter editors due out this fall. You can preview Farcus in book stores at the Internet Web Site http://hypernet.on.ca/farcus. Contact: Box 3006, Station C, Ottawa, ON, Canada, K1Y 4J3. (613) 235-5944. E-mail address: email@example.com
Famous Magazine Cartoons: A collection of cartoons by nine cartoonists from ClickArt that debuted in February 1995. 100 cartoons on disk, U.S. $19.95 (Win & Mac); 500 cartoons on CD, $69.95 (Win & Mac). Contact: T/Maker, 1390 Villa Street, Mountain View, CA 94041 1-(800)-986-2537.
Image Club Graphics: A source of typefaces, clip art, and stock photography. For a free 56-page catalog that also includes a "graphic design tips and tricks magazine" printed in the margins, call (800) 387-09193, or visit their Web site at http://www.adobe.com/imageclub/. Contact: Image Club Graphics, 1902 Eleventh Street, SE, #5, Calgary, AB, Canada T2G 3G2.
Newsletter Design: News and Reviews for the Desktop Generation. 12 pages monthly, $125/year (U.S. $99/year for charter memberships). Contact: Newsletter Clearinghouse, P.O. Box 311, Rhinebeck, NY 12572. (914) 876-2081.
Step-By-Step Electronic Design: The How-To Newsletter for Electronic Designers. 16 pages monthly, $48/year. Contact: Dynamic Graphics, 6000 North Forest Park Drive, Peoria, IL 61614. (800) 255-8800. Subsidiary offices in Australia, Brazil, England and Mexico.
RELATED ARTICLE: References for newsletter editors
* "Type and Layout How Typography and Design Can Get Your Message Across -- or Get in the Way" by Colin Wheildon (Strathmoor Press, 1995), 248 pages. U.S. $24.95. (800) 217-7377
* "Ten Tens: One Hundred Design Tips. Desktop Publishing and Design for Dummies" by Roger C. Parker (publisher is IDG Worldwide Books, Inc., a subsidiary of International Data Group, offices throughtout the world), 320 pages. (800) 762-2974.
* "31 Trends in Graphic Design: Some That Work and Some That Don't" by July Stopke (Promotional Perspectives, 1994), 24 pages. U.S. $8 + 4.50 S/H (313) 994-0007.
* The Newsletter Editor's Desk Book: A Concise Review of Journalism Principles Updated to Include the Editor's Role in Desktop Publishing and Publications Management," fourth edition by Marvin Arth, Helen Ashmore, and Elaine Floyd (Newsletter Resources, 1995), 241 pages. U.S. $17.95. (800) 264-6305.
* "Editing Your Newsletter: How to Produce an Effective Publication Using Traditional Tools and Computers," fourth edition by Mark Beach (Writer's Digest Books, 1995), 147 pages. U.S. $22.99. (800) 289-0963.
* The 11th Hour Edit: What To Do when Time Is Running Out" by Jeanne Henry (Promotional Perspectives, 1994), 24 pages. $6.50 + $4.50 S/H (313) 994-0007.
* 101 Ways to Save Money on Newsletters, Also on Flyers, Brochures, Posters, Catalogs, Letterheads, Annual Reports & Practically Anything Your Print" by Pollu Pattison (Newsletter Resources, 1995), 20 pages. U.S. $7.95. (800) 264-6305.
* "You Can Sell Ads in Your Newsletter: How to Reclaim Part or All of Your Production Expenses and Still Keep Your Readers Happy" by Jeanne Henry and Jabet Wheeler (Promotional Perspectives, 1994), 47 pages. U.S. $8.50 + $4.50 S/H (313) 994-0007.
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