E-letters are a hot commodity these days, with many magazine publishers augmenting their content and reaching out for additional audience. Sometimes, however, they are presented as a mere variant on the magazine's table of contents or a compilation of other people's stuff.
That's why I admire the Geist newsletter, which takes an original approach, particularly its "Advice for the Lit-Lorn", which gives free professional (and trenchant) advice to writers of fiction and non-fiction by Mary Schendlinger, senior editor of Geist for 25 years, and other members of the editorial staff.
For instance, a query about whether there has been a decline of proofreading of books in the past 10 years got this bemused reply recently:
"Probably. We don’t have any proof, but we do know that book and periodical publishers have an increasingly tougher time making ends meet, and more resources have therefore shifted from editorial to marketing. Publishers and writers tend to be OK with this trade-off. An example: for the first couple of years of Geist, our business envelopes (remember envelopes?) bore a return address of “Vancvouver, B.C.,” but everyone knew what we meant, and we’d ordered 500 of them, and we chose to invest a bit more in a subscription drive than to order typo-free stationery. It would be grand to have the wherewithal to iron out every last flub in a publication, wouldn’t it? Then again, if we demanded perfection, no book or issue of Geist would ever be published, so . . ."