Dototot • Engaging Education

New Moon, Newsletter: Starting an Email List from Scratch

  • et cetera
  • By Jared Nielsen

How do you cut through all the noise online and get to the really important stuff? How do you build and belong to a community of people you’ll probably never meet? When life and time are precious, how do you maximize your information gathering and marketing efforts? The humble newsletter. Seriously. This is the first post in our series on marketing experiments. We don’t have a strategy. We’re not even sure we have an audience. But what we do have is a newsletter. We’re attempting to answer the questions above and one more: how do you start an email list from scratch?

If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try Try A Newsletter

I used to use Feedly to get my news, until after a few months, I noticed that Feedly was curating my news for me. Yes, there are certain stories I click on more frequently than others, but that doesn’t mean I only want to see those kinds of stories. I want to see the news across the board and often-times reading the headline and synopsis is enough. I definitely don’t want to open a new tab just to skim a piece (especially when that’s a two-step process, hint hint Feedly, and I know I’ll be inundated with pop-ups). TL;DR: I stopped using Feedly and stopped knowing what was happening in the world. Ignorance is bliss, but it made me a terrible partner in conversation.

Earlier last year I stumbled on this Medium post, 50+ Fantastic Email Newsletters Everyone Should Know About. I signed up for all of them that sounded interesting. And after more than 6 months, I’m still subscribed to most of them. Some of my favorites:

I much prefer receiving news via newsletter rather than allowing an algorithm to decide what I should see or burning up my eyeballs scrolling through an endless stream of posts for tidbits. I think that’s what explains the recent resurgence in newsletters. As social media is increasingly infiltrated by marketing types, we’re returning to it’s intended purpose, to connect with people, and disregarding the noise. Whether or not the newsletter is ‘hand-crafted’ or curated, it’s refreshing to receive a list of links that a human with discerning taste finds important enough to share.

Now, we at Dototot are about to attempt the same.

New Moon, Newsletter

Why are we writing a newsletter?

  • We’re inspired by the newsletters we receive. We think our work is awesome and think that the why and how of our creative process will be inspiring to you, too.
  • It’s lonely out there. After years of floundering on social media, we’re taking a more direct and honest approach to building community.
  • And then there’s the issue of money. How do you pay your bills doing what you love? We’ll be exploring that in-depth and openly. Let’s help each other figure this out; we want to hear your voice. The rising tide lifts all boats.

What will be writing about?

  • Our ongoing experiments in DIY marketing
  • Creative media production with free, open source software
  • Finding balance and meaning in life and work (and getting paid to do so)


  • Monthly newsletters are so Gregorian. Ours is Pagan. We’ll deliver it every new moon, on the nose.


  • Each newsletter will have a theme that draws from our recent blog posts, but customized for subscribers with additional exclusive content
  • Bonus: Fun facts about the Moon!
  • In each newsletter we’ll ask a question of our readers and post their answers in the next issue


  • Creative, unconventional thinkers who value meaning more than money (but still gotta pay the bills).

Sound good? We’re not trying to sell you anything. We want to take you on a journey through the other side of the creative process: making a living. Learn with us.

Dototot is a creative media company and think tank specializing in educational material. The contents of this website are licensed under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 License.