The Purge (Subscribers): Quality over Quantity

I went through my subscriber list this week and sent out an email to selected recipients that started like this:  “Ever see the movie, The Purge? Don’t. It’s a terrible movie. I can’t believe they made more than one, two more actually. Anyway, this email is going out to subscribers who haven’t opened any emails for at least 3 months. I may have made a mistake and accidentally added you to this list, so I apologize, and you can stop reading now. “ It goes on to thank them for signing up and giving them unsubscribe information if they wish to stop receiving my most entertaining correspondence.

There are many reasons that people on your email list don’t engage. There are many reasons why people on your email list signed up in the first place. Before my list got too big, I decided to purge the list for a few reasons:

  1. Having to many non-engaged subscribers hurts the open rate.
  2. If a reader isn’t interested in what I have to say, I would prefer not to keep them.
  3. Nobody likes a cluttered inbox-them and me.

As I was going through the list, I noticed a few interesting things. Many of the purged had signed up for my book draw, so if they didn’t win, they were not interested in my endeavors, they just wanted free stuff. Fair enough. They probably had a garbage email filling up with stuff. Some of the non-winners, I am happy to say, stuck with me. That, I appreciate. To them I say, “Thank you!”

I did find quite a few who had signed up to review my book through a certain website but hadn’t. It made me weary of using that service again or giving my book away. Out of all the books I have given away with the expectation (promise) of a review, there were more readers who did not submit a review than did. To all of them who took the time to submit a review for any of my books, I say, “Thank you!”

There were a few instances that made me pause and think. Some subscribers had opened many of my newsletters, then stopped. I wondered why, and it saddened me to think that something had happened to them. This has been a terrible year of losses, and no matter what, deaths do happen. Not to assume the worst, but it is a possibility or maybe they just forgot. If we have lost them, for any reason, I say, “Thank you for gracing us with your life.”

This weekend I will be sending out a final email to subscribers with low/no engagement or who haven’t opened anything for more than 3 months. It is kind of like the box that I have of stuff that I don’t use-after a year, if I haven’t needed it, it’s gone-usually donated. Don’t think you’ll ever use that extra piece that came with the furniture or the weird kitchen gadget that you bought on a whim or all those extra buttons? One sure way to find out. Toss em’. Often, you’ll need them the next day.

UPDATE: I sent out the email yesterday and I am pleased to say that so far, 6 people have opened it but did not unsubscribe. It’s good to know that the emails are getting through and not winding up in a spam folder. As for the rest, time will tell. I’ll keep you updated.


Published by Leon Stevens

I am an author, composer, and an artist. I published my first book of poetry: Lines by Leon – Poems, Prose, and Pictures in January 2020 and a book of original classical guitar compositions. My latest book is a short story compilation of science fiction/post-apocalyptic tales called, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.

6 thoughts on “The Purge (Subscribers): Quality over Quantity

    1. I’m not sure I would use the term grim, but there is a bit of sadness to going through the list. I felt the same way earlier this yeas when I was visiting book blogs to find reviewer. I came across many that seemed to be abandoned which lead me to write a poem about it:
      View at


      1. The grimness to me is the competitiveness we are all forced into to survive economically in this world. Get readers, sell books. Sell stuff. Sell anything. Get money off anybody. Somehow the economic model, the market, seems such a horrible way to organise the world.


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