‘Keep a mailing list’

“We only have this time, each of us, 70 or 80 years, if we’re lucky. What’s the point of hiding?” 

That’s the last quote in an interview with Bill Callahan, linked by Austin Kleon in his weekly email newsletter. https://pitchfork.com/features/profile/bill-callahan-shepherd-in-a-sheepskin-vest-interview/

That’s an awesome thought. So what’s the point of putting the quote at the end of an artist interview that will take a few minutes to read, where many people will never see it?

I know the answer, of course. It’s an awesome thought, and you want to finish an article with awesome.

Kleon also links to a blog post he wrote, “Please, for goodness’ sake, start a mailing list,” in which he writes, “It is 2022 and I am still frustrated every week that somehow my favorite artists and writers don’t have a simple mailing list I can subscribe to so I can know when they have a new book, article, show, etc.” https://austinkleon.com/2022/01/19/please-for-goodness-sake-start-a-mailing-list/

Every week Austin sends out a list sharing 10 things he found interesting this week. He is the author of three awesome short books in my collection, Steal Like an Artist, Show Your Work, and Keep Going, all of which are worth reading and re-reading. 

His suggestion to keep a mailing list is not unique. Almost all of the gurus and guru wannabes say a successful independent author ought to keep a simple mailing list for subscribers to know when they have a new book, article, show, etc., and to stay in touch with the list.

I have a short email list, dating back to when I was attempting to generate a Myke Phoenix superhero novelette every month. My early newsletters were called The Astor City Beacon, a faux edition of the website Myke’s alter ego, Paul Phillips, kept up for the people of Astor City.

Since I started blogging daily in August 2020, I have only sent two newsletters to my email list, neither of which makes reference to my daily efforts. I am shocked and pleased to find that I did send out an email on July 31, 2020, and did announce my plan to blog every day through the end of October 2020, my “92-day challenge” that is now on Day 543. So, once, I did exclusively alert my email list to something I was planning, and once, I actually followed through with the plan.

Regular readers know that my lack of follow-through regarding plans is a constant source of frustration to me. One of those plans has been to build that email list and stay in touch with those folks. Instead, I’ve been sort of hiding from them.

“We only have this time, each of us, 70 or 80 years, if we’re lucky. What’s the point of hiding?” 

We always talk about resolving stuff at the beginning of a new year, but the most successful resolution I’ve made in the past couple years was back on July 31, 2020, so maybe I’ll make a resolution here on Jan. 24, 2022 (I’m writing this yesterday, of course), to get back in regular (weekly? biweekly? monthly?) contact with my email list. And to bulk up that list. And to have something to say to them that the rest of the world doesn’t know yet, more often than every 543 days or so.

After all, what has been the point of hiding?

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