Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The newsletter will be coming to you soon. Many of you have been asking for it. We're working on it--and it will be in your hands in just a little bit longer (end of the month).

We thought you'd like to know what our process is.

Believe it or not, we start each newsletter in earnest about 2 months before you see it. (Our overall plans for shop events often begin over a year ahead. For example, we've been thinking about the 2007 Block of the Month since last January 2006.)

We have about 15 teachers, and we need to call each one of them to find out what they plan to teach. That's where we start. (For the upcoming newsletter, we started in June right after our anniversary open house.) Then we need to figure out when they can and can't teach. And we need to juggle their schedules and ours. (We always schedule ourselves last, figuring that we can be the most flexible of anyone.)

If a class is new, we consult with the teacher and write a description. Then we put the descriptions in the newsletter, and type in all the times that the classes are scheduled.

We also type in those times on our computer calendar. Our computer calendar is wonderful: We can color-code ourselves, our events, and our teachers. When we first opened the store, we were scheduling ourselves for crazy numbers of evenings out teaching. (As fun as work is, it's still hard to work all day and then teach all evening for 4 nights in a row!) Now we know to limit it to two nights a week, and we have a system that shows us quickly and easily when we have reached our limits.

We write the front page, which shows all the events that will be happening over the coming months.

And then we start proofreading. Both of us were writers and editors in previous lives, so this process takes a looooooooooong time. We do not like even a single spacemark out of place. We go back and forth several times, each of us spending hours proofreading, until both of us are satisfied. (It doesn't matter how many times we read it; there is always one more typo. It's the reason no writer should ever look at a book after she has published it.)

When we are satisfied that it is ready, but still fearful of typos, we take it to the printer.

People often ask us why we don't e-mail it. There are several reasons:

1. We would look like a spammer to many ISPs.
2. People change their e-mail addresses with every change in the wind: Boing! Boing! Boing!
3. The file is huge. We would have many grumpy people trying to download it.
4. Snail mail is simply much more fun than e-mail. E-mail is too often ignored because we get so much of it. We always visualize that when people get their newsletters, they sit down with a hot cup of coffee or tea, or a cold soda, and they read through the newsletter, circling classes they might want to take.

It takes us a good two days to address and stamp it, and it is totally worth it.

And then it goes to you, and you come flooding in the store, all excited about the classes you're going to take, or the events you're signing up for, and our store keeps humming happily along.

We love our newsletter. And we hope you will too. You will see it at the end of August. Get ready for a great fall!

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