Self-Promotion and Other Funding Sources

True’s readers are a passionate bunch. Stephanie in Minnesota writes:

I might be more inclined to subscribe to the Premium edition if you didn’t toot your own horn *incessantly*, making me read all the bull***t emails people send to you gushing about their subscriptions. It’s a pain in the f*****g a**. Get on with it, will you? On a lighter note, funny stories!

Um, yeah — a bit passionate about the stuff that you’re not required to read, Stephanie?

I’d love it if people upgraded without me pushing, but reality proves otherwise: when I don’t push, people don’t upgrade. In the old days, I didn’t have to push as hard since advertising paid the bills for the free distribution.

But that was then and this is now: ad rates are way down — more than 75 percent less than what they used to be in the era of “irrational exuberance,” even though distribution has risen. If it weren’t for the Premium subscribers, True would have shut down long ago.

Anyway, not only are all the letters I run real, I often tone them down because they’re often so very gushing it would be embarrassing to me to run them as they were written.

For instance, here’s a real letter that hasn’t been de-gushified, from Betty in Kansas:

This was going to be just another one of those “Why Did It Take Me So Long To Subscribe To The Premium Issue Of This is True” comments, but after reading the latest issue, and following all the links, I have only just now completed reading the issue, and printing out all the links given in it. I still have all the printed matter to read, yet. It took me through some older stories and before I finished, it gave me information on some things I didn’t even KNOW about.

Talk about getting my money’s worth! All the printed information will take me quite some time to finish. And the links that took me to things I didn’t even know about, gives me even more to read about. The origin of the GOOHF cards, info on Y2K, the American Taliban (SMILE), Godwin’s Law, the United States Treasury, all the way to atheism and Zero Tolerance. This face will attempt to show you my exhaustion after printing all this out in order to read it in a more leisurely manner. I feel as though this issue alone is worth the price of the premium subscription. Not to mention the discounts we get on the merchandise we order.

There’s not much I’d be willing to pay for, but this is QUALITY entertainment. I’d much rather be reading This is True, The True Stella Awards, or HeroicStories than pay an outrageous price to see a movie. Besides, I can go back and re-read this as many times as I like without paying for it again. I still get my free issues of This is True, also. Thanks more than I can say, for these excellent publications. I’m looking forward to the next.

Not everyone is so gushing as Betty (or as antagonistic as Stephanie). Much more typical is Matt in County Tipperary, Ireland, who noted on his renewal order:

I always look forward to receiving TRUE each week. This is my 4th and 5th year of Premium subscription. For value for money, it beats anything else hands down. Well done again on a fine publication; I’m looking forward to another 2 great years.

Of course, I only run a small sample of what comes in, since I’m sure you don’t want to read so much of this stuff.

I do of course get negative letters too, such as the one above, but they represent only about 1 percent of what comes in (if that many). Pretty much, the people that hate TRUE don’t hang around to write cranky stuff about it, yaknow?

But when they do, I’ll often publish them because it’s so danged entertaining!

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This page is an example of This is True’s style of “Thought-Provoking Entertainment”. True is an email newsletter that uses “weird news” as a vehicle to explore the human condition in entertaining way. If that sounds good, click here to open a subscribe form.

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Q: Why would I want to pay more than the regular 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.

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