As a NikoniansPress author, I need to address an issue that is becoming a difficulty. I am unsure what to do about it. Since I publish contact information in all my books, I get an unbelievable amount of email. Bottom line...an unmanageable amount of email!
I try to quickly answer simple queries like, "when will your next book be out?" However, many times each day I get emails asking multiple questions that would almost take writing an article (or a book chapter), to answer (e.g., "Please explain how aperture diffraction affects the airy disk projection on the sensor, and at which apertures would you think the D800 starts losing sharpness with my 24-70mm lens?"). What am I to do? I want to answer each email but am getting farther and farther behind.
A few years back, I bought a big pile of John Shaw books. I read each one of them and liked Mr. Shaw's personality so much that I wrote him an email and thanked him for his books and asked him if he was going to write any more books. I never heard anything back from him, and frankly, felt a bit insulted. I would still buy a John Shaw book but often wondered why he never responded. Now, I fully understand.
Why am I writing this to you? Well, I am sitting here looking at a folder of reader mail containing over 100 emails awaiting an answer. Most of them with multiple questions. At the same time, I am writing Mastering the Nikon D600, a weekly article for Nikonians, a weekly article for C'T Digital Photography Magazine, managing a small stock agency, and working one day per week outside the home doing actual photography.
I simply need to tell you, dear reader, that I want to answer your emails, and will. It might take me several weeks, but I will go through each of these emails and do my best to answer your questions. My folder is growing bigger each day but, somehow, I'll manage it. I just don't want you to feel bad if it takes some time. I value each of you and don't want you to feel badly toward me for not answering your queries immediately.
What a weird situation! Thanks for your patience. Here is a calming D800 picture to make you feel better:
#1. "RE: Why won't Darrell Young answer my email?" In response to Reply # 0
Have you considered an 'auto response' to all emails that said something to this effect? Some may feel it is cold but to me it would at least let me know that my email had reached it's destination.Many people may not realize you are writing books almost constantly (especially those new to the camera world)and how much email you do get.
#4. "RE: Why won't Darrell Young answer my email?" In response to Reply # 3
pinellas park, US
>I agree with the auto response, why not direct them to ask >questions in this forum? I am sure our friends would answer >them. Your book was a huge help in my getting to know this >beast !!! > By the way I also e-mailed you. I never felt insulted that you did not reply.
#5. "RE: Why won't Darrell Young answer my email?" In response to Reply # 0
Hi Darrell, thanks for the great D800 book . I also think a short "auto response" would be good to let people know that you received their email. Personally that would be good, even if you never got around to a personal answer. I, emailed Hallie Berry and she never got back to me, but I am still a fan Good luck on balancing your workload.
#6. "RE: Why won't Darrell Young answer my email?" In response to Reply # 0
The fact you make an effort to respond to many emails is remarkable. While it's an incredible personal touch, I can't imagine that as your fan base grows with all the books you write, the classes you teach and publishing you do that you could possibly keep up the personal contact on each email. Time for a personal assistant in additon to an auto response!!! But of course that cost a lot of money as well. Keep up the great informative books.
#7. "RE: Why won't Darrell Young answer my email?" In response to Reply # 0
You have contacted me even though I did not expect a replay from you. You are a true gentleman. Please remember that.
In the age of instant communication, it just gets difficult to answer multiple e-mails. In my job, I can have over 50 e-mails waiting for me when I arrive at work. Its not an easy task to answer e-mails.
You can't keep up. I would say do your very best, and that is all anyone can expect. An auto reply might help. Perhaps a statement saying because of volume of e-mails, you might not be able to respond.
#8. "RE: Why won't Darrell Young answer my email?" In response to Reply # 7
I think a combination of the ideas here would be great. Give e-mailers a quick auto-response with your intent (I cannot get back to you or I will get back to you soon/eventually/within 3-4 months, etc.). You could then direct inquirers here for additional/faster help. I realize we're not the only fish in the internet informational ocean, but help is available if it's needed. It's certainly helped me -- even when I'm not looking for anything specific and just lurking about.
On a personal note, I too have appreciated your book and have recommended it several times. Thanks.
Lucky is only better than good BEFORE you press the shutter.
#10. "RE: Why won't Darrell Young answer my email?" In response to Reply # 0
Chula Vista, US
An auto response is a good idea to implement, it does provide a feeling that the sender is not being ignored.
Many of the emails I receive have very similar questions. I have canned responses to many questions in a Word document and copy and paste corresponding answers to their questions, which takes care of a very large majority of emails I receive. If needed I tailor the canned response to the question.
For things that require lengthier replies I may copy and paste a several page long Word file that addresses their issue. For other items I simply have to refer them to another source.
#12. "RE: Why won't Darrell Young answer my email?" In response to Reply # 0
Thank you for taking the time to make this post. Just the fact that you are genuinely concerned about trying to respond to the mountain of email speaks highly of your character, which is far more important than whether or not you can actually accomplish that impossible task. As a high public profile Nikonian, you represent the rest of us very well - not just with technical expterise, but as a quality individual. For the majority of the Nikonian community, no apology is ever needed from you for not responding to an email. And you don't need to thank us for our patience, but we do thank you for yours. You obviously have a lot of diverse responsibilities pulling you in very different directons.
Remember, there's a finite limit on just how much work any of one us can take on before we start to burn out. Keep up the good work, but keep it enjoyable for yourself too. Your Nikonian friends are behind you all the way! We want to help, not add stress.
My only suggestion, although with you being an author you are probably already using it, would be to get some voice recognition software. I just started using Dragon Naturally Speaking about a year ago. It works amazingly well, and is a huge time saver for handling email, and other tasks where typing is involved. I was skeptical at first, but it really does perform as promised.
Thanks for the great picture- it is very calming!
Dave Badger Blacksburg, VA
"You don't quit playing because you grow old; you grow old because you quit playing." (And now a grandson to share my toys!)
#13. "RE: Why won't Darrell Young answer my email?" In response to Reply # 0
Thanks to all of you who took the time to reply to this post. I feel much better after reading your replies and suggestions. In fact, I just added an autoreply to my contact link on PictureAndPen.com, which says the following. I hope this is sufficient, and I will do my best to answer each email over time:
"Thank you for contacting me!
As an author of many photography books, and the fact that I publish contact information in my books, I get a huge volume of email. Additionally, I have a contract with my publishing company that has me continuously writing a new book, I write weekly articles for several websites, and I am a professional photographer managing a small stock photo agency (www.NatureOfTravel.com) and shoot stock photography on a regular basis. I'm not trying to make excuses, just pointing out that, like you, I am very busy and have little extra time.
Unfortunately, this makes it difficult to answer email with complex technical questions in a timely fashion. Although I want to answer your email quickly, it is nearly impossible for me to do so. If you have sent me a question that requires more than a brief answer, I will add it to my growing queue of technical queries, and do my best to respond as soon as I can. In the meantime, may I suggest that you consider asking deep technical questions in my favorite Nikon Community forums at www.Nikonians.org. You will find me online there, and I will happily add my voice to the replies as often as I can.
I became an author and photography expert by spending over 12 years hanging around Nikonians.org. In my experience, it is the best source of photographic knowledge available today. The many experienced photographers in this friendly community will go out of their way to help you find answers to even the most difficult and technical questions.
I'll do my best to reply to your email as soon as possible. Thanks for your understanding!
#16. "RE: Why won't Darrell Young answer my email?" In response to Reply # 0 Tue 27-Nov-12 04:34 PM by Antero52
> "a weekly article for C'T Digital Photography Magazine"?
More fan mail than you can handle. That's what you deserve for being a DSLR Megastar.
I try to be brief with my question. You mentioned a weekly article for c't. But the paper is quarterly, and five minutes of googling or binging failed to return relevant hits to c't weekly. Is there some online or wireless version I'm unaware of?
#18. "RE: Why won't Darrell Young answer my email?" In response to Reply # 13
I don't think you could have phrased a response any better. Your concern for the individuals making inquiries is evident and your recommendation of Nikonians is an excellent suggestion.
To assist your ability to respond to questions, many of which I am sure are recurring, have you considered adding an FAQ section to your website that you can reference in your autoreply? I am guessing that a majority of the repetitive inquiries could be handled in that manner.
#19. "RE: Why won't Darrell Young answer my email?" In response to Reply # 16
>> "a weekly article for C'T Digital Photography >Magazine"? > >Darrell, > >More fan mail than you can handle. That's what you deserve for >being a DSLR Megastar. > >I try to be brief with my question. You mentioned a weekly >article for c't. But the paper is quarterly, and five minutes >of googling or binging failed to return relevant hits to c't >weekly. Is there some online or wireless version I'm unaware >of? > >Regards, Antero
I write articles for their social media sites, not the quarterly magazine. Check out the notes section of their Facebook site, for instance.
#20. "RE: Why won't Darrell Young answer my email?" In response to Reply # 0
I agree that DigitalDarrell really is a jerk. I asked him a simple question via e-mail and even broke it down to 15 parts for him is make is easy to respond. It was only 4 pages long and 2 months later he still hasn't gotten back to me. I spend my hard earned money on his book and read all 600 pages and he can't take the time to respond to my 4 page email? Last book of his I buy... jerk.
(Obviously Just Kidding)
Keep up the good work.
Nikon D800 | 24-70mm f/2.8G | 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II