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Quick and Easy Newsletters by Elaine Floyd

Original review from October 1997

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating

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Quick and Easy Newsletters by Elaine Floyd

Quick and Easy Newsletters by Elaine Floyd

You can publish your own newsletter in an hour or a day — the quick and easy way. Elaine Floyd gives you everything you need to create a customized newsletter for your club, business, or church. You'll find templates, filler articles, clip art, and cartoons along with simple straightforward instructions and timesaving tips.
Many people believe that they need special software or fancy new (expensive) tools to publish newsletters. Personally, I'm a strong believer in looking first at what you already have on hand. This book takes the same approach. Its subtitle is: A step-by-step system using software you already have to create a newsletter in an afternoon.

Floyd provides templates in three popular formats: Microsoft Word, Microsoft Works, and WordPerfect. I imported the templates into both Windows WordPad and Lotus WordPro with little or no problems. Regardless of your specific software, the principles and techniques described in the book are what impress me the most.

Does this system really work? I put it to the test by creating two versions of a newsletter. I can say with confidence, yes it does work.

Floyd's system is especially suited to people who have little or no design experience and to those who have little time. If you happen to fall into both categories then this book is a double windfall. Additionally, even if design ability and time are not an issue, if writing or coming up with content for a newsletter is a problem then this book can help you.

There are four sections:

Newsletter I created using steps in this book

  • A Quick-Start section helps you pull together a letter-style newsletter in an hour. I tried it myself and it worked admirably.

  • Seven steps to creating a newsletter in an afternoon is the bulk of the book. It covers planning, names, content, editing, the mailing area, reply cards, and production.

  • New Media addresses fax, email, and Web newsletters.

  • The final section offers up some really useful lists of words, heading ideas, quotes, quizzes, and filler articles. You'll also find the filler materials, clip art, and cartoons on the disk with the templates.

Each step describes how to fill in the templates and offers suggestions on how to customize it to your own needs. The text in the templates are themselves writing aids. The template text asks questions that help you write short but compelling news blurbs and people stories. Answer each question in order with one or two sentences and — before you know it — you've written a whole news story.

Not using the templates? No problem. It's all in the book too, along with helpful lists and even places to jot your own notes. Plus there are illustrations throughout each section.

Using the Quick-Start newsletter template and suggestions I created this print newsletter in just about an hour. It's a simple layout. What helped me the most was the step-by-step instructions for building the content — from headline to action line.

I experimented with the simplest formats but the templates include both 2 and 3 column layouts and letter and legal size newsletters. Although published in 1997 and not easy to find these days, it's worth checking used book sites and stores for this title.

I recommend Quick and Easy Newsletters to:

  • anyone who has always wanted to do a newsletter but thought they didn't have the TIME or EXPERTISE to do one right

  • small or home office business owners who are do-it-yourself marketers

  • club or organization members with limited time or design/writing ability

  • employees given the responsibility for a company newsletter without benefit of training

  • experienced designers who want to offer inexpensive alternatives to clients or potential clients

  • experienced designers who may want to design their own layouts but need some guidance on writing articles or arranging content

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