Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Communication Addiction

I don't think I could be any more antsy today if you took all the sugar and caffeine away from my diet. I guess you could say I'm an email addict, and I'm really missing having a reliable email server.

Barbour put in a new spam blockers and so forth a while ago, and for over a week we've noticed that some random emails don't reach the addressee, some bounce back with error messages, and some go through just fine. It is happening on both the sending from Barbour end and the receiving at Barbour end, mostly with AOL accounts but some other various ones too. So frustrating. I've been waiting for information that never came through while authors have been waiting for replies to emails I never got.

It makes me realize just how dependent we are on the whole emailing system. I do love email compared to the old slow snail mail, to the cumbersome fax, and to the interfering and time consuming phone. But becoming too dependent on or confident in one form of communication can lead to trouble too, I guess.

I don't know how an author manages in the publishing world these days without the Internet or email. I know of a couple folks who have been around forever who are so well established that their publisher can work around them not being hooked to the Web, but for the most part an author has to be able to function online.

I've occasionally met an author at a writers' conference who will tell me they don't have email access (a couple haven't even had a computer). Knowing that makes me 99.9% sure I'll have to reject their material. They may have great stories to tell, but the author has to be able to deliver them to the publisher and the reader. And nowadays so much about marketing an author and their work happens through enewsletters, blogs, Web sites, online stores, and so on that an author has to be able to get into the Internet and involved.

Okay, I'm probably preaching to the "choir," but I had to vent my email frustrations somehow.


Pam Hillman said...

Becky, I totally understand those email withdrawal symptoms. Our phone service was out for about 24 hours a couple of weeks ago and I almost went stir-crazy without being able to check email. Luckily, it was mid-week so I had access during the day at work.

Also, I noticed the Pony Express emblem. Last year a writer friend send me an authentic Pony Express letter that had travelled over 100 miles in the mail pouch during a recent re-enactment. I was so cool to get that piece of paper.

Blissful said...

I am lost without my e-mail. :(
My server was down for a few hours over the weekend and it was an awful feeling. A feeling I wish I didn't need....

Cara Putman said...

I have a love-hate relationship with email. I love the immediacy of it. But I also hate the volume of it. I easily get a couple hundred a day. I'm becoming really good at deleting those that don't need a response, but I hate not having the time to read them all.

Myra Johnson said...

Couldn't function without my computer, hate being without e-mail. But I am more and more certain I'm getting less and less done because of it!

Janice Thompson said...


This love-hate relationship between AOL and Barbour is starting to make me feel like a red-headed stepchild! I've sent JoAnne three emails over the past three days and they all bounced back. (I'm starting to get a complex!) Want to guess what I was sending her? A letter, singing the praises of one of the Heartsongs. (Amber Miller's book PROMISES, PROMISES is amazing! Hard to believe it's her first book.) Anyway, please pass this message on to JoAnne for me, if you will. Not sure if I'll ever be able to communicate with anyone at Barbour via email again. I'm an AOL addict! Don't think I could switch!

Becky said...

Here's the word from our IT guy:

Here's what's going on with the bouncing email to/from certain providers. Our IP address was repeatedly being added to block lists for sending out spam. This included AOL among other ISP's. One of our warehouse computers was infected with a virus that was sending out spam email. I discovered it last night while doing virus scans from home, and came in to work to remove it from the network. I am currently running scans on all other WindowsXP systems to make sure we are completely clean.

I had submitted a request earlier in the week to AOL to remove us from the block list, but we were added right back on to it again. I have submitted another request this morning, and hopefully we should remain off now that we found why we were being blocked. Supposedly this process takes 24-48 hours, so it may be Monday before we are OK again.

The coincidence that this all happened right when we did the ISP Switchover to AT&T meant that I was running in circles thinking that something with our new network equipment was causing the issue.


Tiff (Amber Miller) Stockton said...

Yay for Aaron in IT. Those guys are our lifesavers far too many times to count.

Thanks, Becky, for sharing the details of the issue. I had been trying to send emails to Patrick who edits the HP database, and my emails kept coming back undeliverable. Finally, I got it to work, so I hope he received it.

I'd be lost without my email. Then again, besides my writing, I also am a professional web site designer, so if I'm not "connected" I'm out of a job!

Oh, and're too sweet to post here as well. Seriously, tears are in my eyes at your review of my first book. *hugs*

Mary Connealy said...

I spent the last week with limited internet access and I'm having to remember how to function today.

It's something I'm so dependent on it's probably not even good.

But I love it.

And without a what...they type the manuscript? Then they only have one copy or do they take it to kinkos? Then they give it to you and someone at Barbour has to type the whole manuscript into a computer?

You don't even have someone to do a job like that do you?

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