More Spam Checkers

Yesterday I told you about my recent issues with a spam checker. I was pleased to hear back from Nicki Leone with the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance. She sent links for two more spam checkers for your tool box that aren’t platform specific:

Tracy K. Smith’s Mentor/Protege Relationship

To celebrate the recent release of Ordinary Light: a memoir from the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tracy K. Smith, Knopf released this video highlighting the mentor/protégé relationship between Hans Magnus Enzensberger and Tracy K. Smith. Their year of mentoring through the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative took place during the 2010-2011 season.

Review (Plus): Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You

Review (Plus): Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You

MeBeingMe9781442495739_d23fa5 reasons to read this book:

  1. The entire book is made of lists; therefore making over 500 pages of reading go super fast! (Amazingly shocking to see how many types of lists a person can create.)
  2. Until recently, our narrator/listmaker, Darren, didn’t practice his Jewish faith regularly. However, due to his parents’ divorce, his mom finds solace in their religion and he finds he knows more about Judaism than he thought—I was impressed by how much I learned about the practicing of the faith.
  3. Darren is a 15-year-old boy who is trying to figure himself out and, WHAM, within a year he loses his best friend, his brother goes to college, his parents divorce and the girl he is crushing on goes to a boarding school.
  4. Darren’s divorced Dad comes out as gay.
  5. Darren finds a spoken voice near the end and it makes you happy to know he will be okay despite the odds.

2 thoughts I had while reading this book:

  1. How would I deal with the discovery of having a homosexual parent?
  2. Do boys really have this much internal dialogue going on in their head and just don’t communicate it to the rest of the world?

Activities for you in the store:

  1. This book has the search subheading “Children’s Fiction>Jewish”—It would be a wonderful read with other books where children are conflicted about religion and their own belief system.
  2. Display several books where there is a storyline, but religion plays a role within the story.
  3. Create a craft for different holidays depicting our ethnic and cultural differences.
  4. Have a literature section for those seeking help/guidance in their sexuality.
  5. Start a book club for gay/lesbians with books with similar lifestyles.

In the classroom:

  1. Organization is key to writing.
  2. Give your students a key word/topic.
  3. Have them create lists! Lists are a great way to narrow ideas down or take one idea and start a whole new list based on the ideas you created in the first list!
  4. Starting in Sixth Grade, Common Core Standards for writing emphasis the use of organization.
  5. Lists are a type of graphic organizer! It is easy and everybody can create one!

Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You by Todd Kasak-Lowy

What did you just call me?

Yesterday’s issue of Books & Whatnot almost broke my SPAM checker.

  • First, it told me I used too many exclamation points. (Even the most animated version of myself refrains from using exclamation points.)
  • Then it didn’t like that I used the word adult. (From now on, books for young adults shall be referred to as YA and books for adults shall be referred to as A. … No.)
  • Then it didn’t like that I used the word free. (I’m still looking for that one.)
  • And then it told me that the use of all three together–adult! free!–would appear SPAMMY to Microsoft Outlook.

After making multiple edits, Spam Checker finally deemed it approved for delivery. Although, after further research today, I found that some of you probably didn’t even see yesterday’s newsletter because certain SPAM filters do not like the use of ellipsis in subject lines, like the one I used: Allow me to introduce Cat… and Otter.

And this is after I used a SPAM checker. Can you imagine the delivery/open rate if I hadn’t used one?

Even though it can be a pain and a little time-consuming to run, make the extra effort to run the SPAM checker built into your email marketing program.

Many of you told me in a Quick & Dirty Survey that you use Constant Contact. Their support page says that you can run the Spam Checker multiple times as you edit your draft to ensure the lowest possible spam risk. To use the Spam Checker:

  1. Create or edit an email.
  2. Click the Spam Check button located above the email header. Your rating and any flagged content displays beneath the button.
    Note: If you’re using the Classic Wizard, click the Preview button on the upper left-hand side of your email. Then click the Anti-Spam Check button.
  3. Review and edit as many of the content flags as possible.
  4. Click Spam Check again to check your rating after you’ve finished your edits.

MailChimp offers a tool called Inbox Inspector to thoroughly scan email campaigns, testing for appearance and content-related spam triggers. Monthly paid accounts include a certain number of inspections per week, and pay-as-you-go and free plans can purchase single inspections.

The email program I use, Campaign Monitor, will test for both design flaws and potential SPAM. I can see screenshots of exactly how the email will look in 30+ web, desktop and mobile email clients, with or without images. And in addition to scanning my content for “spammy words”, they pass the email through spam filters and firewalls and provide me with details from tests run in MessageLabs, Spam Assassin 3.1, Outlook, Gmail, and Yahoo! (The exclamation point is part of the name.)

Whether you use one of these programs or one I’ve not listed, it’s worth looking into any built-in SPAM checker available to you.


Q & D Results: Bookstore Pet

Q & D Results: Bookstore Pet

One of our Quick & Dirty Survey questions asked, “Do you have a bookstore pet?”

40% of respondents answered YES

60% of respondents answered NO

CatBeggarMany of the NO responses were punctuated with sad emojis and heavy sighs, citing the health department and allergies as barriers. And while some stores do not have their own pet, they promote their stores as dog-friendly, allowing entrance to four-legged customers.

It would have been difficult to honor the bookstore pets together on National Pet Day (April 11), so instead we’ll be individually featuring a few of these beloved bookstore pets in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, meet Cat. Her acquisition and naming began with this text conversation I had with my daughter Cecilia–who is a Breakfast at Tiffany’s fan–but I claim her for Books & Whatnot. (Cat is typically a good editor, although sometimes she becomes impatient with me and tries to take over the keyboard. I blame her lack of opposable thumbs for my typos.)

If you didn’t have a chance to answer the survey question, but have a bookstore pet we should feature, please contact me at