Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Blog post: mailing list woes-UPDATED

Beth Carpenter commented

I want to hear about the mailing list woes. I signed up for the query shark newsletter and haven't seen it yet, so I'm guessing there's a connection.



Sort of.

Last week I'd finally gathered my wits enough to reboot the QueryShark newsletter.

I hadn't sent one since 2019 (yikes!)


I used MailChimp for the newsletter so the first thing I did was log on and get the thing written.


Only then did I see the  notice that I had  exceeded the subscriber number for the free service..  Anything over 2000 names and they wanted $50 a month.


$50 a month!


Uhhh...I pay $25 a month for Publishers Marketplace.

I pay $11 a month to subscribe to the Christian Science Monitor, less than that to subscribe to the Washington Post!


I was not about to pay $50 a month to send a newsletter that wasn't intended to provide any monetary return.


So, what to do?

Mind you this is all Friday night about 11pm. The IDEAL time to start looking for alternatives.


But I did, and all of them were intended for use by people who were making money off the newsletter. OR were charging people to subscribe to the newsletter.


Neither of those were useful, so I kept looking.


And finally stumbled across Tiny Letter which I'd looked into years ago.


TL's free limit is 5000 names, not 2000.

And oh my godiva it's so much easier to use!


SOLD to the bleary-eyed shark with 2700 chums.


I figured I'd just import all the subscriber names.

Easy peasy.


Not so fast said the Tiny Letter FAQ.


You CAN do that but if you get a significant number of bounce backs, you're off to Carkoon for an unlimited amount of time.

Given I hadn't mailed anything in almost 3 years, my guess was the bounce rate was going to be close to 30%.


New plan:  I'll just email everyone with the new sign up link.


So I send an email from QueryShark at Gmail.

To all 2700 subscribers.


And Google coughed and spluttered and then said "nuh uh you aren't"


And locked my account for 24 hours.


Only I didn't realize it till I saw the bounce back notice that said "you've sent to too many people, your email didn't get sent."


So I tried a second email with fewer people not realizing the account was locked.

That whole mailing didn't go through.


So I tried again with fewer people (100.)

Bouncy Bounce Bounce, I should have been drying my sheets I had so much Bounce.


I finally check the Google email FAQ and realized what had happened.


By this time it's early Saturday morning. I decide I'll try again on Sunday.


And sure enough, the first batch goes through, but the second batch: BOUNCEROO.


So Monday I send a batch.

And it goes through.

Oh yea I think, I've hit on the magic number.


So I send a second email.

Guess what? BOUNCE


I thought about just forgetting about emailing everyone, but damn it, that would mean I'd lose 75% of

my subscribers. ( I had just over 500 on TL by now)


Then I regained my wits.

Scheduled an email  for Tuesday with the same number of recipients as the first one that went through on Monday.

 UPDATE: IT WENT THROUGH! I'm dazzlingly happy!

Scheduled a second email for Wednesday, and a third for Thursday.


And became EXTREMELY one note on Twitter letting people know about the switchover.


If all goes well, and I have no doubt it won't, the newsletter will  go out Friday.


Don't hold your breath.




Colin Smith said...

I'm sure that recipient limit is intended to stop spammers. Someone probably thought "Who on earth would send an email to 2700 people unless for malevolent purposes??" and set a cap accordingly.

Alternatively, it might just be stupidity. Either way, I'm glad you're getting it sorted out.

Looking forward to the newsletter!

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Wow! The experience sounds beyond frustrating but my, what a magnificent story-teller you are. And think of all the pain you've saved so many of us as we get to learn from your misfortune. Can't wait for the new newsletter.

John Davis Frain said...

After reading all that, the only thing I can think is: A SWIMMING CAT???!!!

Beth Carpenter said...

I'm ready to tear my hair out just reading about this! Good for you for persevering. I'll treasure the newsletter even more, knowing what you went through to get it sent.

JEN Garrett said...

So I was trying to alleviate the woes by one - "I'll just resubscribe" I thought. Nuh uh uh you won't the website told me - there's that mailchimp logo at the bottom.

Hope you get it sorted out by Friday.

AJ Blythe said...

Received my email. Went to resubscribe. At first attempt was told I couldn't because I was already subscribed to the Tiny Letter list. But it seems to be working so I won't question how it happened.

Miles O'Neal said...

So you don't actually send the email from Tiny Letter? That's different. With MailChimp, I send directly from there. Not that I love MailChimp; its UI is tolerable but not great. But so glad you found something that works, and that the newsletter is back!