Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at

Recently, I had occasion to go into my long-abandoned, never-used (but never canceled) AOL account and discovered 9,321 emails waiting for me. I was appalled. It is unimaginable to me that I never responded to more than 9,000 personalized messages, and yet hundreds of writers continue to this day dumping their work into the sewer that is my old AOL account. Clearly, these people are using lists that are dirtier than a Pascagoula pelican washed ashore in BP's Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

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