Elizabeth Held: How she grew a newsletter for bookworms

Learnt a new growth pattern today: Play games with your audience!

Matthias Bohlen
2 minutes reading time

This week, I discovered Elizabeth Held through an article on Substack.

She’s a bookworm herself and writes What to Read If, a weekly newsletter for avid readers. Every week, she provides subscribers with three book picks based on the news, pop culture, reader requests, and her own whims. Elizabeth highlights books you may not have already heard of.

I really like how she “bootstrapped” her newsletter from nothing to 2200 readers in a little more than a year. 🔥

What Elizabeth did to grow her newsletter

To get initial visibility and get her newsletter off the ground, she used two growth patterns, and more:

  • Outreach to influencers: Research who else writes about your topic, and drop them a note to introduce yourself.
  • Tweeting: Interact with other authors on Twitter, go back and forth about your favourite topics.
  • Play a game with your audience: Elizabeth prepared custom Bingo cards with reading prompts. Think about what you could play with your readers.
  • Interview people and publish the interview: Research people to see if they normally do this, invite them, and have them share your feature article afterwards.

Playing games was my favourite here. 😀 Never heard of an author before who does this!

You can add “bundling” to this impressive list

The list above is totally impressive. So many options!

I’ll give you one more option: What if Elizabeth bundled her newsletter with another one, written by an author she trusts? They could sell both newsletters as a bundle and make up to 44% more money with it. My upcoming platform, newsbundler.com, will enable people to create a “writer collaborative” on the fly, within minutes.

I must contact Elizabeth and ask for her feedback about it! 🔜

Want more from Elizabeth?

Go get ‘em here:

Want your own small media business, together with another author you trust?

Download our FREE eBook called "2 Writers Making Money". It shows you exactly how to raise your income as a paid newsletter author by teaming up with a buddy, selling a bundle of your newsletters, and splitting the revenue.

Set this up once, then forget about it and get back to writing.


Get your income growth playbook here: