I don’t know anyone who would accuse me of being a daring individual, in spite of the several times I’ve dressed for Halloween with a sheet folded into a triangle as a diaper.
Okay, so that’s probably the most daring thing I’ve ever done.
But today I did something I actually had to convince myself to do.
A word of background. For years now my website has had a contact form for people to use to sign up for a newsletter I’ve never written because I never had more than eight or ten people sign up for it. With the upcoming release of The Devil and Pastor Gus (Nov. 25), I needed some way to get in touch with a number of people, even if most of them chose to ignore me.
Flashback six or seven months. My college, Frostburg State University, permitted or authorized the distribution of updated alumni information. I ordered the CD that listed contact information for the people in my graduating class. I gave it a perfunctory examination when it finally came, confident that I’d find a use for it eventually.
I realized last week that now was the time to take advantage of my purchase.
So I created a pair of mailing lists (I didn’t want to put everyone in the same list) and fired up the application on the CD. I was amazed at how many people either didn’t have email addresses or had refused to share them.
Nonetheless, it appeared that I would have about six hundred alumni in my lists. But how was I going to get them there? Not by typing the addresses. That was for sure!
Trial-and-error time. Maximizing the results while minimizing the effort.
I discovered that it took more effort to avoid cutting exactly the right characters in an address than it did to copy the space that followed it and delete it after pasting it in the mailing list. And I could move faster if I dragged the alumni application icon next to my Firefox icon so I could move back and forth without having to work so hard to “find” the other window.
So I worked my way through the alumni list, one letter of the alphabet at a time. I couldn’t tell you how many hours that took–or how many breaks I needed in between to keep from going crazy. Having a good system didn’t keep it from being tedious.
I finally finished. What next?
Like all of you, I detest spam. I needed people’s permission to send them my newsletters, so I needed to use these two mailing lists once just to find out if people were willing to be subscribers.
But I’d half-solved that problem already. So rather than deal with asking people to subscribe–I doubted I’d get much response that way–I asked people who didn’t want to be on the list to respond and put NO in the subject line. I worded my message very carefully and got my wife’s input on its wording.
So I had the message all set to go. But then I started having second thoughts. Most of those people wouldn’t know me, and not all of those who did would care.
Okay, Roger, marketing The Devil and Pastor Gus is mostly up to you. You’ve reached the point in life where you seldom care what other people think. You need to DO THIS. So I clicked on send.
So far I’ve received no more than thirty or forty NOs. Once I actually send an announcement or a newsletter out, I’m sure some people will choose to unsubscribe, but that’s okay.
Thank You, Lord, for giving me the courage to do this.
What’s the last good thing you had to force yourself to do? Mow the lawn? Vacuum? Please share with a comment.
I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.
“On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on “As I Come Singing”–check it out HERE. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.
Be on the lookout for my next novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, which releases on November 25.