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Poor Richard's E-mail Publishing Paperback – September, 1999

4.5 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Say all you want about push technologies: plain old electronic mail works best. Everyone has it; everyone uses it; everyone likes it. Poor Richard's E-Mail Publishing shows you how to create and grow communities around e-mail publications.

The book describes author Chris Pirillo's experiences in building the Lockergnome newsletter and extrapolates nuggets of advice from them. In the process of sharing his accumulated wisdom, the book explains the technical (HTML formatting, mailing list software) and nontechnical (content selection, subscriber management) aspects of running a list. But the author doesn't remain in the spotlight. Poor Richard's E-Mail Publishing includes a series of chapters authored by leaders of other e-mail communities, including the Naked PC Newsletter, the LangaList, and This Is True.

The book doesn't promise that your e-mail newsletter will make you rich--Pirillo opines that the medium isn't yet mature enough to generate much more than a modest income for most publishers. However, he describes a medium on the verge of profitability and tells his readers how to give their lists maximum business appeal. He advises readers to make top-quality content their first priority, build brand names, and provide excellent customer service. Perhaps most important, the book explains the difference between spam and legitimate mass mailings: subscribers have absolute control over legitimate mailings, and their information is never used behind their backs.

In addition to the advice of newsletter publishers, the book provides appendices listing mailing-list software, list service providers, and e-publications worth a look. --David Wall

Topics covered: Why e-mail newsletters work, how to build mutually supporting Web sites and newsletters, configuring mass-mailing software, managing subscriptions, creating and collecting content, plain text and HTML formatting, list service providers, and advertising.


After reading the first chapter, I felt like I could do the same, you know? I could create an e-zine, and I could write about something I enjoyed. -- Ray Li, Publisher, RAYLI

Chris Pirillo's book is fantastic resource a fountain of inspiration and a well of practical advice for a newcomer to online publishing. Two highlighters into the book I realized I was going to need more colors! It stays open while I work on launching my first newsletter, following his advice every step of the way, and I'm sure it has already saved me hundreds of hours-and dollars. For e-mail "newbies," Chris makes the process of online newsletter development understandable and removes the fear of launching a new project. If you are going to start your own newsletter, this is a must read! -- Kendall Hanson, author of Writing for Trade Magazines

Chris has stepped forward to share his experiences via this very useful, well written book with a step by step tutorial that shows the right way to join in the email publishing fun. Hopefully the hordes of spammers out there will take notice, buy the book and come over from the dark side of email. -- Michael S. Dunn, CTO, Dell Online

If you currently publish an e-zine or are thinking about starting one, this is the one resource you must have next to your computer. Poor Richard's E-mail Publishing is the complete, step-by-step, magnum opus that explains the nuts and bolts of publishing a successful e-zine. Every detail is discussed. Every question is answered. -- Damon G. Zahariades, Editor, Web Business Today!

Outstanding. Extremely readable, totally understandable. A step-by-step account of every aspect of how to publish your own E-mail newsletter. Read it, and you will want to get into E-mail publishing right away. -- David Deeson, Founding Editor, Home Business

So many books are written by people who think they know what they're talking about, but who have never actually done whatever it is; it's so refreshing to hear from someone who has done it! -- Jean Hollis Weber, Publisher, The Technical Editors' Eyrie

The content is excellent. I have read many marketing e-books and courses, but none have come close to Poor Richard's E-Mail Publishing for details, examples, and links to useful sites pertaining to e-mail publishing. This will definitely be listed as a recommended resource on my ReportsClub site. In fact, it was so useful that it convinced me to create a contest to look for a new name for my marketing newsletter. -- Eva Almeida, Editor/Publisher, Optimal Health Ezine and Opportunity Knocks Free-Zine

There are many myth-busters in Chris' writing. He gives his opinion in a very positive and detailed manner. Too many people just criticize and give no details about why you shouldn't like it. With Chris, I feel like I was given the information I needed to reach an informed decision. His personal notes put this book at the top of the list of "how-to" do e-mail publishing books; it's of far more value than a book that just lists sites for its readers. -- Terri Robinson, Publisher, Recruit2Hire TidBits

This is an excellent, straight-forward manual on e-mail publishing, banner ads, driving traffic, and especially ethics." -- Andy McCann, Editor

This was the book I would have auctioned my soul for when I was first starting out in e-publishing. A fantastic resource-if you're serious about online publishing, this book is a must-read. -- Aaron Dragushan, Editor-in-Chief, Coolsig

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Product Details

  • Series: Poor Richard's
  • Paperback: 334 pages
  • Publisher: Top Floor Publishing; First Edition edition (September 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0966103254
  • ISBN-13: 978-0966103250
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #389,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Karl T. Erikson on October 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
You've never heard of Lockergnome? Where've you been hiding out? It's only one of the best e-zines out there, and definitely the best Windows e-zine by far! The reason why Chris is such a success is because he focuses on CONTENT, and so does this book. Lots of information here, all packed tightly into a small space.
Doesn't matter if you're brand new to the Net or a seasoned veteran - this book is the only one you should reach for if you're looking to publish through the Internet! From Chapter 3 ("Why E-mail? Little Glamour, Plenty of Results") to Chapter 7 ("Subscription Management") to Chapter 13 ("Guerilla Promotions") to Chapter 14 ("Money from Your Mailing List") -- it's all here!
I've been writing my entire life, been on the Net for five years now, and been publishing my own e-zine (the "Cattle Prod Humor List" shameless plug) for the last several, even if I didn't know to call it an e-zine at the time. Being somewhat of a "Net Vet," it was somewhat tempting to skip the first couple of chapters ("Are You Ready?" and "E-mail Primer - How It All Works"), but I'm glad I didn't. Even those had information I'd never even considered (or knew), especially the questions to consider before publishing. And thank you, Chris, for the section on E-mail Etiquette! (Now, if we could just make those two pages mandatory reading for every person before they're allowed to play on the Net...haha.)
I've been reading Lockergnome for over a year now, and there's a reason. (Well, several reasons, actually...) Chris tells it like it is -- no flowery words or high-fallutin' language peppered with all the associated Buzzwords O' the Day! No, sir!
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Format: Paperback
Chris Pirillo advises editors of newsletters to get straight to the point and deliver their most important message first. Taking his literary advice, I would begin like this: Poor Richard's E-Mail Publishing is the most clear, straightforward, and information-packed book you'll find on the subject of setting up and running a newsletter using email.
Three outstanding features of this book make it unique in its field. The first: Enthusiasm. Chris Pirillo loves email. He absolutely loves it! Pirillo believes -- and after half a moment's thought he convinced me -- that people enjoy getting email much more than they enjoy clicking around various websites. Thus, in the right hands, a simple email newsletter which gets delivered every week can be a far more powerful communications tool than the slickest web site that somebody checks in to once a month.
The second great feature of the book: Integrity. There are hundreds of Internet marketing books, websites, and newsletter that don't care what they do -- or tell you to do -- to grab a customer, to snatch an email address, or to close a sale. Pirillo is different: he's an honest entrepreneur. As much as he loves email he hates spam. All the ideas in his book are shrewd yet at the same time always respectful, sincere, and considerate to subscribers on his list.
The third reason this book stands out from the pack: the quality and quantity of information is superb. You get all the gritty-nitty about email fundamentals, publishing newsletters (plain and HTML-flavored), finding the list service you need, and making money from the whole shebang. Yet underneath it all is a realistic vision. This isn't a book -- thank goodness -- that promises you'll get rich quick.
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Format: Paperback
I received this book as a x-mas gift and immediately put it where all good book gifts go, on a shelf to be forgotten until the content is barely relevant anymore. Then one day, about 3 months later, I remembered that 4 years ago I had a brilliant idea to start an email newsletter about the Des Moines, IA entertainment scene. When this idea first popped in my head, I kicked it around, made a issue template, designed an overly complecated website tie-in and promptly gave up because I couldn't find any good resources to guide me in my pursuit.
Four years later, no one else has "stolen" my brilliant idea AND I have a book on the subject, written by an old high school friend, collecting dust on my bookshelf. Had I known that Chris Pirillo, the afore mentioned high school friend, was stumbling through the very same process that I couldn't quite grasp as he developed his wonderfully informative Lockergnome newsletter at almost the same time I gave up on email publishing, I might already have a readership and I might even have been qualified to write my own book.
Anyway, I read this book in parts of two days and have been referring to it almost daily as I go through the process of setting up an email newsletter about...entertainment options in Des Moines, IA.(When I get an idea I just don't let go.)
Chris covers all the bases. From choosing between Text or HTML formatting to deciding on who to use for a list host. He advises the aspiring publisher to choose a name that is both memorable(for branding purposes) and an available domain name.
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