A Windows Secrets Secret

Okay, so big news in the newsletter world, folks. Langa is merging with Livingston for a publishing powerhouse. I got the skinny straight from Brian’s digital mouth on Sunday:

I know you must be busy with a million things surrounding your move. But I hope you have time for a “leak” that I’d like you to share with your readers.

Fred Langa’s newsletter is merging with mine – and he’s going to be the new editor and I’m becoming editorial director.

Fred’s announcing it in his newsletter on Monday, but I don’t have an announcement of my own going out until Tuesday at the earliest. Our circulation is going from about 140,000 each to a combined total (after eliminating duplication) of 272,483. PC World’s Scott Dunn will be a new contributing editor, too.

I asked for details, of course! Brian replied:

Around June of this year, Fred stated in a LangaList issue that he was going to suspend publication for 6 to 8 weeks. I knew from being friends with Fred and visiting him and his wife at his house in New Hampshire a couple of years ago that Fred was running the LangaList all by himself. When I visited, his wife expressed amazement that I was publishing the Windows Secrets Newsletter only twice a month, yet was assisted by two full-time employees. Fred had no one, but was publishing eight times a month with roughly the same size circulation.

I deduced from the hiatus that Fred was becoming overloaded with the effort to both write and produce his newsletter. I called him up and the outline of what we wanted to do become clear fairly quickly. Fred had been moving subscribers from his free list to his paid list by hand, in addition to processing unsubscribes and changes of format preferences manually. The WindowsSecrets.com server, by contrast, is programmed to handle unsubs, changes of address, and every other kind of reader preference with no human intervention at all.

By combining the two newsletters into a single title, Fred can continue to write his great Windows tips and not have to worry about readers getting their customer support needs taken care of. I’m very big on customer service and we try to answer every e-mail the same day, although some problems (such as credit card issues) take a couple of days to research. It’s very much worth it to me to pay good people (Vickie Stevens as research director and Brent Scheffler as program director) to cope with readers’ questions and develop systems so readers’ wishes can be met without e-mailing us, whenever possible.

The LangaList switched this year to publication six times a month instead of eight. Meanwhile, the Windows Secrets Newsletter has been published only twice a month. So our plan is to shift WSN to weekly publication, starting Nov. 16. We come out on Thursdays, in order to write everything we know about Patch Tuesday only two days later. (Also, you may have noticed that Microsoft has started a “Patch Tuesday and a half” by sometimes issuing out-of-cycle patches and/or reissuing some flawed patches two weeks after Patch Tuesday.) We won’t be able to publish on Thanksgiving or during the Christmas/New Year’s period, but after that we foresee publishing four times a month — the 1st through 4th Thursdays — with occasional “news updates” so Fred’s readers are getting approximately the same number of issues as before. I plan to advertise in Craigslist next week for a full-time copy editor/managing editor to facilitate doubling the number of issues we publish each month.

Dude. Windows Secrets has always been awesome, but now it’s doubly awesome! Triply awesome if you consider that Woody Leonhard is also aboard. It really puts Lockergnome to shame – and in a very good way.

[tags]windows, newsletter, tips, tricks, secrets[/tags]