Abi Cushman's Newsletter and Cover Reveal

Today, I'm sharing (with permission) an example of what Arree and I think is a fantastic newsletter. As a business owner, building your email list is an essential part of connecting with the people who will read and buy your books, and in order to build your list, you have to offer something of value. Abi Cushman's newsletter is a great example of offering value. I couldn't get all of the design elements exactly the same in my blog post as they were in Abi's newsletter, but this is pretty darn close.

Hi (Reader),

I am very excited to share a few things with you. First is this picture my daughter drew of me the other day. She explained, “You have that heavy ball attached to you because you’re a monster.”

The second thing I wanted to share is that this monster has a 🌟new book🌟 coming out next summer from Viking Children's Books!

It’s a picture book with die-cuts called Animals Go Vroom!, and it challenges the reader to guess what goes roar, hiss or honk. (You may think it’s a goose making the honking sound, but turn the page and the honks are actually coming from the taxi the goose is driving.)

Here’s the cover:

The cover has a die-cut that is perfectly lined up to peek through to the illustration on the title page!*


If you’re wondering how I went about making this book with holes in it, the answer is that I made a lot of little book dummies where I cut out a bunch of holes and then realized they were in the wrong spot a bunch of times.

Here is one early dummy I made of the book:

Here you can see I cut out a little rectangle to show the tiger face on the next spread.

Then turn the page, and it reveals there’s a tiger in a truck that’s going ROAR!, and the “roar” gets incorporated into the dust cloud in the art.

Now take a look at the final art and die-cuts for the tiger sequence in action:

You may have noticed I varied the shapes of the die-cuts so they weren’t just rectangles. And my art director, Jim Hoover, helpfully suggested that we avoid shapes with pointy edges. No fingers at risk of being stabbed by the pages here!*

If you’re interested in seeing even more of my process, head over to Betsy Bird’s blog and read my official cover reveal interview!


Animals Go Vroom! comes out July 13, 2021 and is already available to pre-order!

I will be doing personalized signed copies through Bank Square Books in Mystic, CT. Write the name(s) you'd like the book personalized to in the comments field during checkout.

Bank Square offers free shipping anywhere in the U.S., and each pre-order will come with some cute Animals Go Vroom! stickers!

You can also pre-order a copy from:
Amazon | Your Local Bookstore | BAM! | Barnes & Noble | Target | Walmart

Free Activities!

To tide you over for the next 7 months before Animals Go Vroom! comes out, I started to make an activity guide, and I wanted to share a few activity sheets with you now.

P.S. If there are any activities you’d like to see in the full activity guide, let me know!

Thank You!

Finally, as 2020 comes to a close, I just wanted to thank all of you for coming along on this journey with me! Your support means so much to me.

Here I am with my reading buddy in Bank Square Books’s new pop-up shop in New London, CT right next to the Garde Arts Theater.
* I hope.

Thanks for reading! See you next time!

Okay, this is Myrna again. Wasn't Abi's newsletter fun to read? Thanks, Abi, for letting us use it as an example!

Animals Go Vroom! Giveaway

I'm pre-ordering a signed copy of Animals Go Vroom! (with cute animal stickers) for one random commenter. To enter, tell me something you noticed about Abi's newsletter that you could use to make your own more valuable to your email subscribers. (If you don't have an email list yet, hypothetical answers are just fine.) For extra entries, share the post on social media and let me know in a reply to your original comment. You can also have an extra entry if you subscribe to Abi's newsletter. This giveaway will end on December 29 at midnight (PST).

Blog Contributors

Myrna Foster writes and edits content for Storyteller Academy and the WriteRiders Newsletter for SCBWI Nevada. She has spent a lot of time teaching and coaching children, including five years as a preschool teacher. She's also worked as a journalist, and Highlights High Five has published six of her poems. 

Arree Chung is an author/illustrator and the founder of Storyteller Academy. Arree’s Ninja! series has received starred reviews from Kirkus and School Library Journal. Kirkus also gave a starred review to Mixed, which recently won the FCGB award. 

Today Arree lives a creative life, making stories for children. Arree spends most of his time making picture books, writing middle grade novels, and sharing his love for art, design, and storytelling with kids and dreamers everywhere.

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31 thoughts on “Abi Cushman’s Newsletter and Cover Reveal”

  1. I do not have a newsletter yet, but I realize that this format is not much different from what I already do on my Facebook art page. I hadn’t started a newsletter or blog because I feared I wouldn’t have enough time to keep it updated frequently. Abi’s format is friendly, light, interesting (love the personal photos and process photos/videos), and her format looks manageable for writers like me with very busy lives who still want to beef up their following. Thanks for sharing!

  2. My 2 year old nephew is very much into vehicles and onomatopoeia. I definitely can picture him going through this book with his parents and learning how to read with it.

  3. I noticed several tabs in bright colors that break from straight print
    Free Downloads
    Forward to friends

    I don’t have a writer’s blog yet but this one is a good model

  4. Love the idea of a video/gif! And it has plenty of action steps for the subscriber (pre-order & forward to a friend!)

  5. Sneak peek into process is always fun for a subscriber to read. We want to know how it’s done 🙂 And also little giveaways like Abi’s activity sheets say “thank you” to your subscribers for being supportive of your journey. It makes subscribers feel valued and want to continue subscribing. 🙂

  6. I love that Abi gave us a sneak peek into her dummy-making process, including a short video of a page turn to show the final result. It’s a good teaser to show readers what the book will be like, so we’re tempted to buy, but she’s not pushy at all.

  7. I get Abi’s newsletter and so I enjoyed this when she sent it out. She’s pretty savvy and a great writer. 🙂 Including the before and afters of her initial artwork really got my attention. I think this alone draws greater interest and insight into what goes into creating such a fun book.

  8. This is great! I look forward to Abi’s new book. We have some grand babies arriving in late spring so this will go great as a gift. I love Abi’s friendly natural voice and the addition of activities is a great way to keep the book in mind.

    Could we get her to do a mini-class on making activity sheets?

    I subscribed to her mailing list.

    Oh, and what is the marketing value difference between a newsletter and a semi-regular blog post? Any tips on how to get people to actually subscribe to either when you offer valuable content?

    1. Oooh, it certainly doesn’t hurt to ask! Thanks for the idea, Sarah!

      Arree would know marketing value difference better than I would. They can both be valuable, but email subscribers are the more valuable of the two. To get people to subscribe, offer them something they want (a lead magnet) for free for their subscription. Arree goes over how to do this in the first six modules of his Makers Pro Business Series. If you need a link to it, email me, and I’ll send it to you. You should have access as a Makers Pro member.

  9. I subscribe to Abi’s newsletter. She does an excellent job. I loved how she shared her die-cut process for her new book. Congrats Abi!

  10. I love seeing the dummy/manuscript-in-progress. When I one day have a newsletter/website, I want to share drafts so other writers can see the process, too!

  11. I thought it was entertaining and informative – I really like how she took us through a process and taught us something specific. I also really liked how she is already including activities for kids BEFORE they get the book. That is a great way to get kids and parents excited about it. Great work, Abi!

  12. I don’t have a newsletter, but I am a brand-new blogger. I love the way intro catches the reader’s attention. Walking readers through the thought process that went into creating this book and offering a sneak peek is a great idea.

  13. Congratulations on another outstanding book cover Abi Cushman and on the awesome newsletter with a cool monster picture. Thanks for sharing and running this contest Myrna. I hope to win this die cut book, ANIMAL’S GO VROOM!

  14. What is especially striking and engaging about this newsletter, in contrast to many others, is the spare use of easily readable, large font text interspersed with images and a video clip. The text ties closely to the images, not unlike a photo caption. This format moves the reader along in a way that feels natural and is quite different than reading (or more likely skimming) a large block of text, even if followed but the same types of images. Fabulous job!

  15. There were many great things in her newsletter….a few of them are:
    Behind the scenes images and video
    Connecting with kids
    Linking bookstore, highlighting free shipping/autograph
    Downloadable activities
    EXpressing appreciation for her readers

  16. I like the free activities and mini guide, but I’m not an illustrator.
    I also like the “what I’m reading” section which would be easy to do, and supportive of other authors and illustrators.

  17. I like the humor she uses, especially the use of her child’s drawing. I also really like how she promotes others by including the books she’s currently reading.

  18. I liked where she showed PBs that she is currently enjoying. It’s just a little extra at the bottom of the newsletter.

  19. What a cute book! Littles will love this! And although I’m not an author/illustrator, I think authors too can gain a lot by making picture book dummies, esp from the pacing perspective. (And then I’ll personally just put holes & die cuts in cuz it looks fun, LOL!) Congrats on your next greatest book!

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