Monday, September 05, 2005

back in business

I sent out the first Chicken Soup for the Soulless piece for the first time in over a year, yesterday. It feels good to be back in the saddle.

Chicken Soup for the Soulless grew out of those annoyingly saccharine e-mails that people forward to everyone in their mailbox, about the meaning of life, footprints in the sand, and how God loves America more than any other nation in the world. I started making improvements and sending them back to the people who had first shared them with me, sold a few to The Wittenburg Door, and soon found myself running a mailing list with my friend.

The highlight of our run when was when Chicken Soup for the Soul threatened us with a lawsuit.

In addition to the lawsuit (which got us attention from The Home News-Tribune, The Times of Trenton, NJ Biz, the Christian Humor site, and a Trenton-based legal journal), we were getting links from all over. We had readers in the military, the government, Youth Specialities, and God only knows where else. Plus, we had readers in Cambodia, China, Singapore, Russian, the United Kingdom, Australia and probably more than a dozen other countries with Internet access.

For various reasons, having to do rather somewhat with the labor-intensive nature of the list -- we wrote all our own stuff, and never made any money on it -- we took a long break, starting about two or two-and-a-half years ago. We wrote a few and distributed a few things during that period, but mostly the list was silent.

Not surprisingly, we lost about 250 readers during the most recent hiatus, an attrition due simply to people changing their e-mail addresses. I'm wondering if we'll take an even bigger hit when people check their e-mail and find themselves subscribed to a list they barely remember, if at all.

Well, I have hopes of getting the list's momentum back. I sent out a new mailing on Sunday evening, a little piece that turned an inspirational vignette about how heaven wouldn't be heaven without your dog, into a piece about SUVs and the people who drive them.

I'm working on a mailing for Tuesday or Wednesday about the Bush administration's solution to the growing energy crisis. After that I have plans for a murder mystery that I might be able to stretch into a couple weeks. We'll see.

My job at WCN was a bitch, and really ruined writing for me. It's good to be getting past that at last. I hope I can stay the course this time and get over them.

By the way, if you want to subscribe to the Brothers Grinn, we're hosted by Topica.

Copyright © 2005 by David Learn. Used with permission.

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