The last time I used a paid service I was about ready to kick heads in by the time I pulled the plug — not just because I found the service so frustrating, but because I also discovered, quite by fortuitous accident, that some of my readers were getting shitty customer service from these people, too. That was the last straw.
I have been doing it myself ever since. Running a newsletter from your own email account isn’t a major issue if you are mildly competent at keeping a squeaky-clean IP address reputation. But it grows horribly time consuming as your subscriber list builds.
The pay-for services are all oriented towards the on-line entrepreneurs and businesses whose core business tools are their subscriber lists. You can tell that by the fact that when you sign up as a user, and have to pick a category to describe your business, there is no category for authors or writers. You have to pick between Entertainment, or Other…or perhaps Art & Artists.
Because of this orientation, the pay-for maillist services can be horribly expensive, especially for authors. MailChimp offers a free service if your subscriber list is under 2,000. (Alas, mine is far below that lofty line).
Because I’ve been getting denial-of-service notices far too often lately, I figured it was time to transition to a mail service and clean up my home email address’s IP reputation by ceasing the big lump mail-outs and letting someone else (MailChimp) do the heavy lifting. Because it’s free, I’m hoping I don’t get too much in the way of high pressure sales tactics to upgrade, upgrade, upgrade. It did come highly recommended (so I know who to blame if it becomes too much of a pain to live with).
The real point of this post, though (yes, there was a point!) is that I’ve changed the focus of the newsletter a bit. Well, it had already migrated there — I’m just making it official.
For a while now, the newsletter has diminished by reader and IT requirements from a 32 page 3 colour fully-laid out and graphic-filled newsletter to a short, text-only email with bare, headlines only announcements.
In the meantime, this blog has become the primary stream for news about my life, graphics, long stories about my books, and a huge archive for articles and stories. It’s also a resource for readers, writers, and more.
With the shift to MailChimp, I’ve also made the newsletter a purely New Books Announcement list — with a twist: News about new book title releases will hit this list first. Usually by days, sometimes by up to week.
This was actually already starting to happen; I write and schedule blog posts in advance (as purely a sanity preserver), and as I don’t always know to the day when my next book is going to go on sale, I can’t schedule those posts. Squeezing them into the post schedule becomes problematic, and it could be a few days before I can shuffle things around, adjust the book’s page on the site, etc., then properly announce it on the blog.
But I can blast out a newsletter announcement inside twenty minutes.
All other news, gossip, rumination, insight., etc, will show up here on the blog. Only.
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