Many, many years ago, when I helped edit Flesh & Blood magazine, I came up with this idea of easter egg haikus. Basically, every issue would feature a haiku by a top horror writer. The writer's name would not appear on the cover or even the table of contents. There would be no announcement that the writer had a haiku in the issue. The haiku would just be hidden among the pages waiting for readers to find it.
I forget how many haikus we ended up doing. I know we published haikus by Douglas Clegg and Ramsey Campbell. I think we also published some by Tim Lebbon and Edward Lee. There may have been a few more, but the magazine folded not too long after.
Anyway, I always liked that idea, and recently I've been thinking what I could add to my newsletter to make it more than just me pimping a new book or story. After all, these days every writer has a newsletter, and for good reason. It's one of the best ways to communicate with readers. But with so many newsletters out there, it's difficult to set yours apart from everyone else's. Especially when the cold hard reality is that, on average, half the people who sign up for an author's newsletter almost never even open them.
And so, taking a cue from the me of many, many years ago, I decided to add easter eggs into my newsletter.
The past week I've been telling people that I'm going to soon send out a new newsletter, and that if they're Brian Keene fans they might want to sign up. Some asked why they would want to sign up for my newsletter if they were Brian Keene fans. Well, I couldn't really tell them, could I? That would ruin the surprise. Fact is, I probably shouldn't have even said anything at all. But as this is the first time it's happening, I thought it would be a good idea to give everyone a heads up.
The newsletter just went out and included an excerpt of a work-in-progress of Brian's called The Complex, which should be completed sometime later this year. Right now, the only place anybody can view the excerpt is in my newsletter.
I plan on doing similar stuff in the future. I only send out a handful of newsletters every year, so I can't guarantee every newsletter will include exclusive content by another author (at the most I try to highlight books by other writers I've enjoyed), but at least once or twice a year a newsletter will feature an original short story, poem, essay, or novel excerpt from a bestselling author.
So if you missed out on this past newsletter, ask someone who already subscribes to forward you their copy. And, hey, sign up now so you don't miss out in the future.