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Why won't Darrell Young answer my email?

DigitalDarrell

Knoxville, US
5987 posts

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DigitalDarrell Team Member Founding Member of the Nikonians writer Guild. Author of most of the NikoniansPress books. Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Charter Member
Fri 23-Nov-12 03:19 AM

Friends,

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:

==============================================
Darrell Young (DigitalDarrell) www.pictureandpen.com
"Better too many words than not enough understanding."
==============================================

SheriB

Southern York Co, US
1973 posts

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#1. "RE: Why won't Darrell Young answer my email?" | In response to Reply # 0

SheriB Gold Member Awarded for sharing her exceptional images and details of rural farm life. Nikonian since 11th Sep 2010
Fri 23-Nov-12 09:17 AM

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.

Sheri Becker

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John Bertotti

Garretson, US
800 posts

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#2. "RE: Why won't Darrell Young answer my email?" | In response to Reply # 0

John Bertotti Gold Member Nikonian since 30th Jun 2012
Fri 23-Nov-12 12:49 PM

Truly it boggles my mind that anyone would assume a writer photographer would have time to answer email. I like SheriB's suggestion.

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fires1

pinellas park, US
81 posts

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#3. "RE: Why won't Darrell Young answer my email?" | In response to Reply # 2

fires1 Registered since 04th Oct 2011
Fri 23-Nov-12 03:10 PM

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 !!!

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fires1

pinellas park, US
81 posts

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#4. "RE: Why won't Darrell Young answer my email?" | In response to Reply # 3

fires1 Registered since 04th Oct 2011
Fri 23-Nov-12 03:12 PM

>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.

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duh59

Rochester, US
591 posts

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#5. "RE: Why won't Darrell Young answer my email?" | In response to Reply # 0

duh59 Silver Member Charter Member
Fri 23-Nov-12 03:59 PM

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.

Virge

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victoria_photoguy

Victoria, CA
35 posts

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#6. "RE: Why won't Darrell Young answer my email?" | In response to Reply # 0

victoria_photoguy Registered since 03rd May 2010
Fri 23-Nov-12 08:02 PM

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.

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eliot3b4

Eliot, US
134 posts

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#7. "RE: Why won't Darrell Young answer my email?" | In response to Reply # 0

eliot3b4 Platinum Member Nikonian since 23rd Nov 2008
Fri 23-Nov-12 08:23 PM

Awesome photo!

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.

Good luck

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djmckaytx

Argyle, TX, US
68 posts

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#8. "RE: Why won't Darrell Young answer my email?" | In response to Reply # 7

djmckaytx Gold Member Nikonian since 20th Feb 2012
Fri 23-Nov-12 09:59 PM

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 until your shutter is released.

Primary Equipment:
2 D810s, MB-D12
SB-910
SB-600
14-24mm f/2.8G
24-70mm f/2.8G
28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G VR
50mm f/1.4G
70-200mm f/2.8G VRII
300mm f/2.8G VRII
400mm f/2.8D (AF-I) (selling this soon)
TC-14E III
TC-17E II
TC-20E III

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danshep

Olympia, US
1629 posts

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#9. "RE: Why won't Darrell Young answer my email?" | In response to Reply # 8

danshep Gold Member Charter Member
Fri 23-Nov-12 10:35 PM


If questions are consistent, auto respond that they will be covered in your next book (if they will).

DS


"Today is the tomorrow that yesterday you spent money like there was no"

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Clint S

Chula Vista, US
460 posts

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#10. "RE: Why won't Darrell Young answer my email?" | In response to Reply # 0

Clint S Silver Member Nikonian since 02nd Jan 2011
Sat 24-Nov-12 05:14 AM

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.

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SheriB

Southern York Co, US
1973 posts

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#11. "RE: Why won't Darrell Young answer my email?" | In response to Reply # 6

SheriB Gold Member Awarded for sharing her exceptional images and details of rural farm life. Nikonian since 11th Sep 2010
Sat 24-Nov-12 10:04 AM

Hmm maybe I should post an ad "Will work for Darrell's excess Nikon equipment"

Sheri Becker

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K64drb

Blacksburg, US
324 posts

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#12. "RE: Why won't Darrell Young answer my email?" | In response to Reply # 0

K64drb Silver Member Nikonian since 18th Feb 2012
Sat 24-Nov-12 02:42 PM

Darrell,

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

Dave Badger
Blacksburg, VA
My Nikonians gallery, or visit www.AlternateViewsPhotography.com .

"You don't quit playing because you grow old; you grow old because you quit playing."

DigitalDarrell

Knoxville, US
5987 posts

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#13. "RE: Why won't Darrell Young answer my email?" | In response to Reply # 0

DigitalDarrell Team Member Founding Member of the Nikonians writer Guild. Author of most of the NikoniansPress books. Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Charter Member
Sat 24-Nov-12 07:33 PM

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!

Darrell Young"

==============================================
Darrell Young (DigitalDarrell) www.pictureandpen.com
"Better too many words than not enough understanding."
==============================================

ajdooley

Waterloo, US
3381 posts

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#14. "RE: Why won't Darrell Young answer my email?" | In response to Reply # 13

ajdooley Gold Member Nikonian since 25th May 2006
Tue 27-Nov-12 11:11 AM | edited Tue 27-Nov-12 11:12 AM by ajdooley

Darrell - Awesome response! Just accept my compliment and don't bother replying to this one! It' a "freebie!"

Alan
Waterloo, IL, USA
www.proimagingmidamerica.com

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mkaplan

Kitchener, CA
94 posts

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#15. "RE: Why won't Darrell Young answer my email?" | In response to Reply # 13

mkaplan Gold Member Nikonian since 04th Apr 2012
Tue 27-Nov-12 11:46 AM

Excellent response. Certainly no one can get mad at you after reading that.

Michael Kaplan
http://www.pbase.com/mkaplan

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Antero52

Vantaa, FI
2683 posts

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#16. "RE: Why won't Darrell Young answer my email?" | In response to Reply # 0

Antero52 Silver Member Awarded for his expertise in post-processing, being  consistently helpful and professional. Nikonian since 07th Jul 2009
Tue 27-Nov-12 03:33 PM | edited Tue 27-Nov-12 03:34 PM by Antero52

> "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

Tom Gresham

US
97 posts

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#17. "RE: Why won't Darrell Young answer my email?" | In response to Reply # 16

Tom Gresham Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Dec 2005
Wed 28-Nov-12 12:37 AM

Darrell,

I get the same thing (different subject matter). Auto response. Answer the ones you want to. AND, there is no avoiding that some people will be offended that you didn't give them a personal seminar.

(shrug)

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smtyoda

Ithaca, US
39 posts

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#18. "RE: Why won't Darrell Young answer my email?" | In response to Reply # 13

smtyoda Silver Member Nikonian since 16th Jul 2010
Wed 28-Nov-12 12:57 AM

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.

-Shawn

DigitalDarrell

Knoxville, US
5987 posts

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#19. "RE: Why won't Darrell Young answer my email?" | In response to Reply # 16

DigitalDarrell Team Member Founding Member of the Nikonians writer Guild. Author of most of the NikoniansPress books. Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Charter Member
Wed 28-Nov-12 02:32 AM

>> "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


Antero,

I write articles for their social media sites, not the quarterly magazine. Check out the notes section of their Facebook site, for instance.

==============================================
Darrell Young (DigitalDarrell) www.pictureandpen.com
"Better too many words than not enough understanding."
==============================================

SirPuttsAlot

Poughquag, US
354 posts

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#20. "RE: Why won't Darrell Young answer my email?" | In response to Reply # 0

SirPuttsAlot Registered since 26th Sep 2011
Sun 02-Dec-12 09:35 AM

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.

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G