Why Be the Angry Unsubscriber? — (Speak Happiness replay from 5/29/13)


Here’s the thing about writing and publishing a book – writing and publishing is the easy part.  For most of us anyway.  If you’re a writer, you write.  That comes naturally.  Amazon and CreateSpace make it simple to publish.  So all that’s left is the selling.

Ugh…the selling…Betty Huge reader gallery

I loathe this part, but I didn’t write the book so that my friends and family alone could use it to be more happy (although that is a nice benefit), I wrote it so that the whole world could.  Which means I have to let the whole world know it exists.

Which means…ugh…selling.

One method I’ve chosen is to email people about the book.
A lot of people. People I know, and who know me.
Through high school, college, law school, grad school, countless jobs, the Writers Guild, thousands of hours of volunteer work with half a dozen different organizations…I know people.

So I sent them all an email with a link to where to buy the book.  This got a lot of very nice replies and one or two unpleasant ones, and I realized that if I was going to use this method in the future, I would have to give people the option of not receiving the email, so when I sent a second email – more than two weeks after the first – I added instructions on how to Unsubscribe.  It involved simply replying to that email with the word “UNSUBSCRIBE” in the subject line.

1,700 emails went out, from which 23 people unsubscribed.  I think that’s a decent ratio, so I’m quite happy, but what I was most interested in is how people unsubscribed.  The great majority did nothing other than what was instructed, but a few added comments.

First, thank you to Jordan J., Melissa E., Jeevan S. and Iris R. for your lovely notes, wishing me luck with the book or simply thanking me for taking you off my list.  I doubt you read this blog, but on the off chance you do, you are all good people and even though you took yourselves off my list, you still made me happy.

Now, to the small handful who felt the need to include notes like: “TAKE ME OFF YOUR LIST NOW!!” (after getting exactly two emails from me in a period of 19 days), I would posit that you may actually need a book on happiness.

I get it.  Spam is annoying.  But let’s start with the fact that I was not spamming you.  You know me, and I thought my book might be of interest to you.  More importantly, why are you letting something as innocuous as an email ruin your day, and drive you to the point of foaming at the mouth?  Did I run over your dog?  Did I poke you with a cattle prod?  Did my email max out your credit cards?

I have eight separate email accounts – eight – and you can be assured that I get plenty of unwanted messages, but who cares?  I have placed filters on all of my accounts that send these into a junk file that I review once a day (it takes less than five minutes, and usually less than one minute), and my day goes on without agitation.  That is a better way to live.

Look around at all the things that you are allowing to get under your skin, and just stop.  Getting unwanted email is not the same as getting your tires slashed.  Take a deep breath. Life is too short.  No, that’s backwards – life is LONG!  Enjoy it.  And if you can’t do that, in your present state of mind, well…there’s this book you may want to buy…


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