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Why subscribe?

One colleague, who indicates that he enjoys my writings but doesn’t have much experience as a reader of blogs, asks, “What is the difference between a subscription and just visiting the blog?”

Reasonable question. As with most subscriptions, it’s a choice between remembering to stop by the newsstand for the latest issue of a periodical you enjoy and having it delivered to your doorstep. In this case, “the newsstand” is the web — or, more precisely, the online homepage of Photocritic International. “Your doorstep” is your email inbox. And “the latest issue” is the most recent text I’ve posted at the blog.

I expect to publish an average of three posts per week during the start-up period. The open-source blogware we use, WordPress, in combination with Google’s Feedburner, makes subscription extremely simple: (1) Insert your email address in the field at the top of the left-hand sidebar. (2) Confirm it on the subsequent screen. (3) Click on the link in the follow-up “welcome” email.

The system sends subscribers a handsomely designed email version of my posts. I’ve set it to deliver posts between 7-9 a.m. east coast time (U.S.). If you have your email app set to view html, you’ll get each post in your inbox complete with images and active links; if not, you’ll get a comparatively drab text-only version. In either case, you can read them on the spot, read them later, save them, print them out, forward them, or trash them, as you choose.

Subscribers can also comment on the posts. If you wish do so, just click on the link to the homepage at the top of the email version of the post, and sign in. (You must sign in to comment.)

But that’s not all! Subscribe now and I’ll throw in this set of stainless-steel tofu-dicing knives, absolutely free! (Whoops . . . slipped into a vegan infomercial from a parallel universe there. Sorry.) What I meant to say is this: Every 50th verified subscriber will get an email notification entitling him or her (or them, or it) to a free signed copy of one or another hard-to-find book of mine, free of charge, postage paid.

Also, if you subscribe, and only if you subscribe, you can ask me (via email) to open up a new page about a topic important to you. If I think I have something to say on that subject, I’ll create a new post dedicated to it, with my own thoughts and links to uploads of selected relevant texts of mine from the archives. This will generate a Comments area where you and others can discuss the matter; I’ll moderate that dialogue and contribute to it as well.

You can unsubscribe to Photocritic International at any time via a link you’ll find at the bottom of each post you receive, if you find you prefer to access the content by checking in at the site on your own schedule. Because little goes without saying nowadays, you have my pledge that your email address won’t get released to any third parties, and that I’ll use it only to notify you of matters relating to this blog and my own projects. (I expect to use the blog itself for those purposes.)

I welcome unsubscribed drop-in “regulars” and occasional visitors to the blog. I welcome subscribers. Take your pick. Come one, come all.

— A. D. Coleman

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