Miss Terry has been working like a wild woman, and yesterday evening she got the last of the envelopes stuffed for the first load of Gypsy Journals, which we will be taking to the commercial mail service in Scottsdale this morning. I’m always amazed at how fast she can stuff those darned things.
It’s good to have that part of the job behind us, but we still have a lot to do. We don’t send out just one mailing, because we have several different subscription options available to our readers. Some get the paper by Standard Mail delivery, which is the least expensive but slowest method. Standard Mail is still our largest single group of subscribers, although that number seems to be shrinking a little bit every issue as more and more subscribers opt for either the faster First Class delivery or our digital edition, which reaches readers before anything else and eliminates having to have mail forwarded, which is very convenient for fulltimers.
We also ship out papers to subscribers who use several different mail forwarding services around the country. With those, most of the mail services allow us to put all of the envelopes into one package and ship them by UPS or FedEx. At one time we had a huge number of subscribers who used the excellent Escapees Mail Service in Livingston, Texas. In fact, except for the Standard Mail subscribers, it was our biggest single mailing. But over time that number has shrunken dramatically as more and more Escapees switch to First Class or digital subscriptions, or have changed to mail forwarding services in South Dakota. It’s still the biggest single mail forwarding service we ship to, but the number is a fraction of what it was a few years ago. We also used to have quite a number of subscribers who use the FMCA mail forwarding service in Cincinnati, Ohio, but that number has trickled down to just a handful over the years. Again, a lot of those subscribers have switched to other services or to the digital edition.
Over the years, a lot of people have asked if we will ever go to just a digital edition and not print the paper at all. No, I don’t foresee that ever happening, if for no other reason than that there are still a lot of dinosaurs out there like me who love the feel of an actual newspaper in their hands. It is like e-books – I read them, I publish them, and I like them. But I love real books and bookstores and could never give them up.
I will say this though, there may come a time when we do away with the Standard Rate subscription option. We only charge $5 a year more for First Class, and it takes away a lot of the headaches of finding a commercial mail service where we happen to be the time, of the papers being delivered weeks after we mail them out, and of them not being forwarded when people move or the RV snowbirds start migrating and forget to give us their new address. It costs just a little bit more, but there’s a lot to be said for getting your paper in four or five days, instead of three weeks or more after they hit the post office.
While Terry was busy doing her thing yesterday, I spent the day writing and get quite a bit done on my latest Big Lake mystery. At one point, I discovered that while I really liked where the story was going, there was a very involved part that really didn’t add to it, but it was too good to discard. Then I realized that this secondary story was the basis of a completely different book. So I cut it out, saved it in a new file, and already have the start of the fourth book in the Big Lake series! I’ll tell you what, if I could type as fast as I can think I’d have a dozen more books out by now!
A while back I started using the Dragon Dictate voice to text software, and while it works pretty well, it still has a way ago. Actually, I guess maybe I have a way to go, because it still puts out a lot of typos or misunderstood words that I have to go back and fix. So at this point it isn’t much faster than typing. Plus, I’m sure Miss Terry gets tired of hearing me talking to myself all day long. She gets enough of that when I’m not writing!
Thought For The Day – I changed my iPod’s name to Titanic. It’s syncing now.