I ran three letters in tonight’s issue that finally solves something that has perplexed me for years. (The meat is in the third one, but the first two lay the groundwork.)
The first is from Daniel in Ohio:
Unlike most people who try to butter up the author by saying that they make a point to read your ezine first, I save yours for last. Like the tastiest part of the meal, or desert, so that I can savor your stories throughout the day. Thanks for all your hard work, and keep them coming.
Belinda in NSW, Australia:
I thought after having had the ‘freebie’ version of True for the past year or so, I should do the right thing and get the Premium edition. As Santa was kind enough to visit me and give me the job I asked him for (I had been looking for a number of months) you were my first on my list of non-essentials to buy. (Hang on I think I should class True as an essential).
Well I certainly think so!
My most interesting letter this week, though, was from Dan in North Carolina. He wrote to say:
Thanks for True. I’m in my first year as a premium subscriber, and you can count on me re-upping for life.
That’s not the interesting part. Keep going.
I replied that I was glad he likes it, and asked him, “So… can YOU describe what the difference is between free and Premium? What makes it SO worth it to you? I’ve never been able to adequately explain the difference….”
Here’s the interesting part. He responded:
In my opinion, explanations are overrated. Anything really worth experiencing in life defies explanation and description. Explain falling in love. Describe a fantastic steak dinner. Even if you could find the words to do the experience justice, the person you’re explaining it to is left with the explanation, not the experience.
Even worse, they now ‘understand’ something, and they’re no longer curious or interested in the experience itself. And knowledge is a poor substitute for experience. Case in point: I ordered my Premium subscription after you sent out a free sample copy of Premium to all the free subscribers. You’d been explaining to me for a good long time the value of Premium–and I even ‘understood’ the value of it and thought I’d probably subscribe eventually.
But GETTING it, SEEING it, EXPERIENCING it was a completely different thing from ‘understanding’ how good it is. Your records are more accurate than my memory, but my memory is that I subscribed that very day. So feel free to let ‘free’ folks know this from me: you can’t know how good a thing is until you experience it first-hand. That’s true with a lot of things in life, and it’s definitely true with True.
Well, no wonder I’ve struggled so long trying to figure it out and explain it; why I couldn’t explain it has perplexed me for some time. I think Dan is right: that’s impossible.
All I know is that many Premium subscribers absolutely love it, and say things like Belinda did — it’s a life “essential” — or liked Daniel, who “savors” it. Or like Dan: he’ll read it for life (his or mine, I guess: whichever comes first!)
I couldn’t continue to write True without the support that comes from the Premium subscriptions, so I hope you’ll support it too. As Daniel says, you can’t “know” how good it is until you experience it first-hand, but I’ll add that it doesn’t usually hit you until you’ve read several Premium issues.
(Can’t afford to upgrade? No problem: stay on the free edition as long as you’d like.)
I’m interested in your thoughts, too: you don’t have to register to comment below. Mystery solved …I think!
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To really support This is True, you’re invited to sign up for a subscription to the much-expanded “Premium” edition:
Q: Why would I want to pay more than the minimum rate?
A: To support the publication to help it thrive and stay online: this kind of support means less future need for price increases (and smaller increases when they do happen), which enables more people to upgrade. This option was requested by existing Premium subscribers.