Survey Results Are In: BFP Readers’ View

A tremendous thanks to everyone who shared their feedback on my recent survey. I hope it’s the first of many discoveries I can share; I want this blog to cover topics that you care about, so please share any suggestions in future surveys, or by email to info @ bestfountainpen.com. (No spaces, I’m trying to keep the automated SPAM away from my inbox.) 🙂

First, can I tell you how incredibly FUN it was to read through the open-ended responses?

We have first-world problems

Survey Results Surprised DogWhat? You don’t know what a first-world problem is? My 12-year-old explained this concept to me… third-world problems are: finding enough food to eat, shelter, and avoiding disease. You know, just living.

First-world problems are modern annoyances of daily life: dealing with traffic, the fact that I accidentally bumped the plug on my coffeemaker while wiping down the counter, and forgot to set the clock, so there’s no coffee this morning… and the challenge of finding a slim, light, well balanced, non-scratchy, extra-fine, gold nib fountain pen.

That last one was a direct quote from the survey, I LOVE it.

Most of the answers were extremely conversational in tone. I was expecting bullet points because I value your time. But instead, I got lots of commentary, “lol”s, and reasoning behind what was written. It made it so much fun to read. You rock.

The responses made me want to pour a drink and talk about fountain pens with you

That is, until I got to what other newsletters you read.

kermit drinking wineWOW.

But first, let me just tell you, this list of BFP readers is one educated bunch of academics.

At this point reading the comments, I wanted to pour a whiskey (Old Fashioned is my favorite cocktail) and just LISTEN, not talk.

So, for the man who loves “Biopharm Chemical Reaction Engineering,” I probably can’t keep up with you there, but would sure love to get inside of your head and walk around…so interesting.

I’m looking to expand my horizons

To clarify, I’m curious about what else you read because I want to know what other pen-related newsletters you enjoy; but also, I’m looking to expand my own horizons. I figure if you like reading about fountain pens, you might have other interests I’d enjoy too. 🙂

For the woman that included Ayn Rand Institute, I just subscribed. Thank you. I didn’t know that site existed, but Atlas Shrugged is my favorite book. Ayn Rand is the one I picture when my Facebook feed shows a picture of an old wood bench and asks who you’d like to sit on it and talk with, living or deceased.

There were so many interesting newsletters, too many to list here. But I’ll link to the top pen-related ones to check out below…

I read every, single comment on the survey and appreciate them all. THANK YOU!

All right, enough of my yammering. I’m sure you want some meaty disclosures of the most-mentioned topics.

Here are the top 5 surprises that I found from your responses:

We are irritated by flow issues.

Some of the obvious findings are frustration with ink flow in pens, and a want to adjust them yourself but fear of voiding the warranty. Some other irritants were having too many pens in rotation, nib dry out, messy ink filling, and not being able to choose which fountain pen in a collection to use on a given day. (I, too, have this problem now.)

We are more experienced with fountain pens than I was writing for.

I need to segregate content.

There were FAR more self-identified intermediate and advanced fountain pen users than the 13% of newbies I was writing for. I’ll definitely continue to write for newbies, so if you’re in that 13%, now worries! There’s no better way to grow the fountain pen community than helping newbies with things like vocabulary, pen parts, and understanding nib selection (all concerns to be addressed from the survey.)

I just need to step up my game and dive deeper into other articles as well in the upcoming year and label the content better for Newbies, Intermediate and Advanced fountain pen users.

We are male, hear me roar.

Okay, that was a joke; I’m a woman. But 84.8% of survey readers and 75% of my website readers (per Google Analytics) are men. It shouldn’t surprise me, my interests tend to skew male.

Why aren’t as many women interested in fountain pens? They don’t seem inherently “male” to me. Status symbols? More men appreciate the engineering that went into developing a great feed? More men enjoy taking pens apart and re-assembling them? I really can’t pin that down. Anyway, if you’re reading this, there’s an 85% chance you’re a man and want me to move on… so…

Grail Pens. 

Your absolutely dreamy fountain pen? That was an even wider gamut of response. There were a lot of, “I’m still looking for it” or “I splurged this year” and “I own it” responses.

I will do my best to obtain these for review this year to share my enthusiasm for your grail pens if I can get my hands on them. Brands that dominated were:

  1. Montblanc (Hemingway and Meisterstuck were standouts)
  2. Pelikan (M800 and M1000 were most often mentioned, specifically in tortoiseshell brown.)
  3. Visconti was another often-mentioned brand, whose models were never mentioned twice! A long list of different models from Visconti topped people’s grail lists. I now know more about Visconti models than ever before just from reading responses.

Most newsletters you read are complementary to BFP.

While there were quite a few political newsletters and MANY mentions of New York Times and the New Yorker (with several explanations that it’s not as elitist as it sounds, which cracked me up!) The top 5 pen-related newsletters, in order of volume of mentions:

  1. Goulet Communique – A beautifully designed blog and newsletter selling and reviewing fountain pens and accessories.
  2. Fountain Pen Network – A forum for fountain pen lovers. You can post by Brand, by Region and learn about accessories etc. You can learn a lot here, but like every forum, there are some incendiary/arrogant comments that can scare off newbies. Thick skin = you win!
  3. SBRE Brown – YouTube fountain pen reviewer who started a website to feature his videos. Ironically, I’d never heard of him until someone emailed me. I did it in reverse, I started my YouTube channel to help explain my pen reviews by better showcasing the pens on video in my website. His channel is better because you get to see his face talking about the pens and mine are all hands. I haven’t braved video editing software just yet, it’s on my to-do list to tie in introductions to new videos to try to improve your experience.
  4. Pen Habit – Matt Armstrong writes about everything pen related. I like his style, he doesn’t say he’s an expert, he says he’s still learning. I resemble that remark. 🙂
  5. Fountain Pen Hospital – Pen dealer, sells new and vintage; also repairs pens. They’re a huge, well-established retailer in New York.

Does this sound like you? Is there anything I missed? As I continue to delve into the world of fountain pens and build a model of what of what the bestfountainpen.com user finds useful, I hope to hear from you.