As usual start this off with an elephant I got yesterday from Banded Brewing out of Maine. I wrote a whole pile of breweries in Maine and had absolutely no idea what I was getting into when I started. I know I have several as a result of writing but have been doing a really pisspoor job of documenting my successes with this project in terms of numbers beyond taking what I think is the total cost of my receipts from postage and dividing by two or estimating how many elephants I have based on Instagram post count or some other metric. I’m starting to get to the point at around 10% of all United States breweries written that I’m bumping into places I’ve written. So I really do need to do a better job with that organization and probably think a bit forward.
I don’t like planning things, but I’m also not that lousy at math.
At some point around 400 letters into this I think a friend pointed out there were a ton more breweries that my guesstimation was giving the industry credit for and I discovered there was about three times as many of them as I was figuring on. So that took a bit of wind out of my sales as well as took what I thought the budget for this as well as the amount of work to get the whole lot of them written blown a bit out of proportion. I think with any level of quality it’s pretty safe to say handwriting them all is not in the cards unless I can do that professionally and so far my Patreon is rightly at a $0/mo. income source for me. I think an elephant costs around eight bucks at current rate and for some reason that doesn’t seem bad, though obviously I’d like to see the cost either lower or preferably not my costs. The postage is a bit of a beating but time is the real tough part beyond the walls of text.
So I guess there is a bit of a balance that I was trying to strike with the handwritten bits and after putting in a printed part with a larged themed elephant request, which I quite liked. I have a whole pile of elephants and some are actually pretty decent to include in the printed bits, though mostly sticking to the greats like the Dogfish Inn elephant. I’ve been printing still on the Office Depot Stellar Paper that I’ve used in the past for it being good for fountain pens (not to mention ridiculously cheap recently on back to school when I bought).
Oh a random Stellar Paper story since I mentioned printing it? Sure!
So I had to get a digital title turned into a regular title for my scooter that had been stolen out of my side yard a few weeks ago and printed out the letter from the insurance agent’s email on the Stellar Paper, which I have a good bit more of than regular white paper as well as just use in my printer all the time. So I left paperwork and got a call back from the title office saying that my paperwork was missing a written signature in ink to be official, which I acknowledged as I had printed it on notebook paper that looks like something a kid would take to grade school and it would be highly unlikely an insurance agent would choose that for a paper. She also pointed out that it wasn’t an official letterhead and just a printout, which again with the kid’s paper ghetto’d into printer I thought that sort of went without saying. Then she finally just stopped beating around the bush and pointed out that I printed out the thing on what looks like notebook paper and that’s in no way official to her whatsoever. It turned out I was totally right that the notebook paper was as official as she was getting but it was both amusing and slightly humiliating getting dogged for my draw me an elephant paper choice.
Oh yeah, maybe a point to the post
Looking forward in upcoming maybe weeks to doing just a larger/largeish mailing that is a bit less personal and more over the top in terms of printed material. Probably a few hundred at a crack after a few test batches a bit smaller. I really need to get a definitive list I can check off of what is done. As much as I really need to get the site into shape I think that’s something that’s going to get put off, as the incoming stream of elephants feels lower. Also rolling back to the being poor about documenting my successes I have always felt as though it’s in my best interest to focus on the getting elephant bits rather than showing off elephant bits.
I’m currently working with these massive #14 envelopes in glorious craft brown and I likes them a lot. I’m thinking something more along the lines of obnoxiously large and hard to miss and these fit the bill. The paper is a penny a sheet and I have a final bill for an over the top setup around $0.90 in my head. I probably should be sending more of them out since they are like a quarter more a crack with the added weight to see if they net more elephants, but I haven’t got that far. I’ve sent a few, but it’s all preliminary. My elephant letter out per week has pretty much halted and I’ve been wrapped around the axles with life’s minutiae in addition to not being able to settle on a format for more than a few hundred letters at a time.