Removed almost 10,000 folks from my Writing Tips newsletter

It was not the easiest thing I’ve ever done. There’s something comforting about thinking you’re talking to 21,000+ people at a time.

But at the point where folks haven’t opened a single email you’ve sent in six months, you’re NOT talking to them.

So if you look at the green Writing Tips sign-up form in the sidebar, you’ll see that instead of 21,779 people on the list, I now have 12,217. (Well, I just looked at at the moment it shows 13,000 and change…but the database shows the lower number, so I’m guessing it will take a little time for the form to catch up to my massive deletion).

I’ll go through my other newsletters soon, and I’ll do the same clean-out process. But I wanted to note that if you’re on the Writing Tips newsletter, you can double-check to make sure you’re STILL on it by opening any email from me and clicking the “Change Subscriber Options” link at the bottom.

If you’re there and subscribed, good. If you’re there and Unsubscribed, you can click the Subscribed button to start getting emails again.

If you get an error page, you didn’t show up as having read anything for more than six months. You can sign-up again here if you’d like:

https://hollylisle.com/writer-updates-newsletter/

I’m getting back to adding new tips and answers to letters from readers to the list.

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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
  • David L. Hebert Jun 11, 2013 @ 2:58

    FWIW, Holly, I use gmail, and my default setting is NOT to load images – so if your tracking technology relies on pixel graphics or something like that, and if other gmail users do the same as I do, it might appear that we never open your messages – although I read your emails faithfully (and also probably cause duplication somewhat because I have subscribed to some stuff from other gmail addresses as well, which are associated with my additional devices (phone, tablet, laptop, etc).

    I haven’t logged in to check yet, but I’m a little worried, because I just searched gmail and found that I haven’t received anything from you since June 5. Had I not stumbled across this post while searching for a referral link for your Flash Fiction course to refer to a friend, I might not have noticed 🙁 I know that I would definitely not be happy to find later that I missed out on a whole bunch of your very entertaining and informative newsletters :/

    I don’t know about other email providers, but with gmail at least, perhaps it would be prudent to send out a periodic confirmation email, or at least a warning of an impending cull, rather than simply culling the list?

    Just a thought. Really appreciate all you do, and I’d hate to see you lose dedicated and interested subscribers who simply appear not to be reading based on a misinterpretation of traffic logs even though they might be reading your newsletters with religious regularity.

    -David

  • Helen O. Chase Jun 3, 2013 @ 5:43

    Thank you so much, Patrick. From one writer to another, I truely admire you and your creativity. While I don’t have to do world-building for the most part (well, there’s a bit, but not a whole new bloody planet), I’m still struggling to be creative in my writing. Comparing myself has always been one of my greatest downfalls. I’ll pick up a fantastic novel, tear through it, and then sit and stare at my novel on the computer like it’s the worst piece of crap on the face of the planet. Even if that isn’t true. But still; I get down on myself. It’s nice to know that all writers go through phases of comparing themselves and their ideas; it makes me seem less unoriginal. Who knows? Maybe I’m really original and I just don’t know it because I’m looking at it through the glasses of the author. We’re our own greatest critics, it seems. At any rate, it was reassuring to know I’m not the only one out there.

  • Mary Pax May 29, 2013 @ 13:22

    I found you through SM Pace’s blog. I’m envious of all the books you have out. 🙂 I hope to catch up with you at some point. I’ll be happy when I hit 100 on my newsletter. I can see needing to clean the list off now and then. It’s like we also know not all of our followers on FB and Twitter read what we send out there.

  • Nicola May 23, 2013 @ 4:07

    Unfortunately you have also, probably, removed a lot of people who were reading your newsletters.

    If they only read a text version rather than HTML then the aweber tracking will count them as unread.

    If they use a email program and don’t download images – then the aweber tracking will count them as unread.

    Just letting you know.

    • Holly May 23, 2013 @ 13:25

      This is one of the things that sucks about having to focus on your deliverability rates—if your rates drop, you start looking like a spammer, but if you clean out your list, as instructed by the folks who are hosting your emails, you lose some folks who just didn’t want HTML.

      As far as I can tell, there is no happy medium. I had folks who’d been on there since 2008—-but when I can’t prove they’ve opened an email since they joined, I start running into problems. And with all the FTC changes for people who send out a lot of email—and I do—nobody CARES whether you’re a nice person or whether your readers generally like your emails.

      “Can you prove the folks who are getting your emails actually want them? You can’t even prove they open them? Not a happy day for you, Sparky. :/”

      • Chris May 26, 2013 @ 16:29

        Yep, I got the axe, ’cause I almost never read the HTML version of anything. Of course, I oughtta know better, as our newsletter from work runs into the same issues. OTOH, I don’t mind going clickety-clickety, and signing up again. I’ll try to remember to make your email an exception to my, “I hate HTMaiL” rule, this time. 🙂

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