Another Newsletter Question

When people drop out of the Writing Updates newsletter, (and take the time to tell me why), it’s almost always because I’m sending more newsletters than they can read.

As you can see from my 400+ emails post the other day, I DO understand the problem, and I don’t want to contribute to someone else feeling as flattened by relevant e-mails as I do.

So here’s a poll. Please let me know how often you could get and actually read and use the Writing Updates newsletter.

You should be able to see the results this time, so you’ll know how it’s going.

Thank you for taking the time to consider this and vote on it.

How often should I mail out the HLWU newsletter?
Once every other week
Once a week
Twice a week
  
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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

6 comments… add one
  • InkGypsy May 22, 2008 @ 17:35

    RE NEWSLETTER DISTRIBUTION OPTIONS – IDEA:If you’re concerned about both keeping it frequent enough to motivate people/keep subscribers AND not overwhelming others, would it be possible for people to sign up for different distributions?
    Eg: You could write the update in different parts A, B, C & D.
    Group 1 who signs up for frequent distribution (eg weekly) get parts A, B, C & D as they are written each week.
    Group 2 (the bi-weekly group) gets parts A & B on the second week then C & D on the fourth week.
    Group 3 gets parts A, B C & D monthly.
    It may take a little initial set-up but should be possible to be generated automatically after y0ou plug in the content.
    Just an idea if you’re not happy with one extreme or the other.
    PS I’d be one of the weekly-or-more crowd!

    RE YOUR EMAIL OVERLOAD: Would it help to have people send mail with either specific subject lines (eg. writing question, publishing question) as you specify to help you sort and prioritize faster?
    Perhaps an FAQ page with searchable topics/text would help people too. It could send them to an ‘frequent answers’ page or a ‘helpful articles’ page as options before they email you. Serious writers don’t mind doing a little research and you could keep the personal interaction feeling by asking them to comment/vote/send feedback. An assistant could help sort this part I’m sure.

    I agree with the outlook sort functions suggestion except that it takes a while to figure out how to use and still requires maintaining. I think a part-time assistant you could trust to prioritize the mail for you would be the best way to go – if you could afford it.

  • Mark Orr May 22, 2008 @ 12:13

    Like Pencil Neck, I only just got here, so my opinion is not yet very well-formed. I don’t think I’d find twice a week burdensome, though.

    Zoomerbeth, I’ve had occasion to write the odd nautical yarn, but never found any reason to indicate the precise location of the head. The stern doesn’t seem like a logical place, though, at that.

  • hollylisle May 20, 2008 @ 14:06

    Hi, Jaye–I get several hundred emails a day. The only ones I’m counting for this particular issue are ones that actually require an answer. I get more than a hundred of THOSE a week.

    Stuff I only have to read is not a problem. I skim, I delete, or I save. Mostly I delete these days.

  • Jaye M May 20, 2008 @ 13:42

    Holly—a suggestion re handling 100 plus emails regularly. I’m on 4 professional listserves at my job. On a busy day, I can receive 100–150 emails. So, I went into the accounts for each and set it to “Digest”. This arrives once a day, with all the subject headings listed at the top. I open, look through the list and only read the one or two emails that I actually need.

    Also, I have filters that sort according to the list serve, so if you can filter electronically, that should help organize. If not, you may need to transfer, according to subjects, into separate folders, then schedule times to view and respond to each folder’s contents. I hope this is of some use—Good Luck!

  • The Pencil Neck May 20, 2008 @ 11:19

    I don’t feel that I should vote. I’ve just joined and just started receiving your newsletter so I don’t think I have enough information about how I’m going to interact with the newsletter, yet.

    However, I expect to like getting 2 newsletters/week. I’m on several mail boards and on lists that I get daily and I’m fine with that. I can deal with that along with my normal work e-mail load.

    But ultimately, this is about you. The newsletter shouldn’t be a burden to you. It should be comfortable to your lifestyle.

  • zoomerbeth May 20, 2008 @ 9:11

    Good morning, Holly!
    Thank you for not wanting to squish us with your e-mails.

    Beyond that, I don’t check my e-mail if I’m feeling overwhelmed, and if I go more than two months without checking it I just make a new e-mail address and sign up for only things I have time to read. I check my e-mail about three times a week, and seeing more than three newsletters when I check it makes me feel like I’m skipping school. I love the content and it’s helped me a lot, but I succumb to the internet easily.

    Totally unrelated off-topic question: Why do writers tend to put bathrooms at the back of sailing ships? I asked once before, and this has been keeping me up at night. I’m not kidding.

    Thanks again! Zoomerbeth

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