Friday, December 30, 2011

MagPo Gets the Last Word in 2011

Magpo (Magnetic Poetry, for the uninitiated) is great fun for word geeks and, well, everyone, based on a really poorly designed study of all of the guests at my house.

Magpo is one of those genius ideas that made me mad, in a why didn't I think of that/people really spend money on that? sort of way. It's so much fun to use, though, that I couldn't stay mad for long.

Concrete poem
I bought a set, then another, and... ok, one more, and darn it, I'm glad I did. This is not a paid endorsement; I'm just having fun. Imagining I'm a poet. Communicating with my refrigerator door. Whatever. Magpo makes me happy! Bonus tip: buy three sets - they'll cover so much of the surface area of your frig, you won't need to clean it again. Just the exterior, mind you, but still: whee! Magpo is a hoot!
See what I mean...

True dat.

Some writers are better than others. Some wrangle words in an attempt to seem profound. Some, well, I don't know. (See 'drunk vision, ' above.)

Write on, anyway!

3/8/12 >>> THIS JUST IN >>> 
Four free Magpo apps (great if you need help procrastinating on deadline) from

Friday, December 16, 2011

Employee newsletters not just for employees

Done right, your company newsletter can deliver value to your employees.  But if your company newsletter is just a vehicle to post sales figures, next month's target accounts, and list employee birthdays and anniversaries, you're missing the point and wasting time on your newsletter.

To make your newsletter truly valuable to your employees and create a useful tool for your organization you need to spend a few minutes in deep-think mode.

  • What's really important to your employees? 
  • What makes them happy? 
  • What makes for a bad day at the office? 
  • What's your corporate culture?  (I know that word is terribly overused, but it's important!)

Whatever the answers to those questions, you get the idea, right? Your employee newsletter should have a personality. It must be unique because your employees are, and it better sparkle if you expect them to shine.

How can you go from ho-hum-here's-this-month's-newsletter to hey! lemme see that newsletter?!

Maybe you should design it to be read by your employees' family members, even include some content for kids. How 'bout including a tongue-in-cheek humor piece (or photo) by an employee with each issue? Perhaps holding a monthly contest, like offering a prize for the person who finds the most typos in your employee handbook, would keep things interesting. (OK, that last one won't go over big in most companies, but I'd sure give it a shot!)

The bottom line is, done right, newsletters are worth your time. In fact, they can pay off big time.

26 Things to Know About Customer Newsletters
Five Reasons Client Newsletters Rock

The last word -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Did you bag your employee newsletter because no one was reading it? Or started one, but didn't have time to keep it up? Let me help! I offer a free consultation and brainstorming session for organizations that want to find the best way to say what they need to say, to employees and other important people. Call me ... we can get your message to those people!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Proffreading? Who needs it?

Sometimes the headline just says it all, but when has that ever stopped me?

I recently pointed out a few typos and grammatical errors in a chiropractor's website. A half dozen or so, just on one page. The doctor said, oh, thanks. I'll add that to the list. Seems the professional firm that created and maintains the site had yet to fix a phone number the doctor had pointed out (months earlier) that was also wrong. Phone numbers, you know, are kind of a big deal, even when they're wrong "just" because a couple of digits are transposed.

Look, it's easy to make mistakes. Everybody does it. Good news: it's pretty easy to fix 'em too.

Here's the bad news: while just about everyone makes typing errors and grammar mistakes, most people don't correct them.

That's why proofreading is not going out of style, folks. If you don't catch or correct your own mistakes, you can still fix 'em by inviting a proofreader or copy editor to make you look good.

Look, I proofread and edit stuff for other people all the time. I even get paid to do it :D but guess what? I make mistakes, too. Catching and correcting them is what sets me apart.

The last word -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I can fix you up! Don't send embarrassing errors along with your employee newsletters, contract renewal notices, or other business correspondence. I bet I work faster (and cheaper) than you think. Try me.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Confounding Corporate Greeting Cards

Speedbump comic from the Official Site of Dave Coverly
Should you or shouldn't you?

Many small- to mid-sized organizations send Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or catch-all Season's Greetings cards, quite often simply going along with the personal preferences or habits of the company owner. Others ditch the December dilemma and send Thanksgiving or New Year's cards instead. The brave (or truly conflicted?) send no cards at all. Whatever you do, you're sending some sort of message. 

I opt for Thanksgiving cards. This year, I'll admit, I'm intrigued by the idea of Haikus for Humbugs. Funny, but I'm pretty sure it won't catch on with the corporate crowd.

So let's get back to business. Should your organization spend executive brainpower (and salaries) even contemplating something as seemingly superfluous as greeting cards? 

Um, have you heard of Black Friday?

Like it or not, 'tis the season to capitalize on the gift-giving tendencies of ye average shopper. Even if your business isn't affected by retail's seasonal spikes, it's hard to look the other way when a surprising number of businesses are determined to spend every last penny in their budgets before year-end. And while it's nice to demonstrate customer appreciation, there's the environment to consider.

Do corporate greeting cards spur sales? Do you risk losing customers if you don't send cards? What about e-greetings?

Robert Felber, MAS, and President of Felber & Felber Marketing, says it all comes down to relationships, and those know no season. As he explained earlier this week:

I do not think sending or not sending cards dramatically impacts your return business. Is it a nice touch, yes. Does it burn a lot of energy, paper and postage, absolutely. My real challenge is our large database. If we tried to have a touch with everyone in our database, postage alone would cost thousands. So, many opt for email. Again, the thought is nice, but does lack personalization. I recently saw a holiday email that was addressed to two people in my company, but used an "or" between the names. That was tacky. I cannot imagine anyone keeping score on who sent them a card, but perhaps some people have that kind of time.

I do like the Thanksgiving approach, as it does stand out. In the end, if you enjoy it, have the budget and time, address away. Otherwise, find as personal a way as you can to thank your clients at this time of year and all year long. Tickets to their favorite event, remembering special anniversaries or perhaps a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant would make a welcome gift. Oh, and if you want to send me a card, specify if you are expecting one back!

Sit down with Rob and find marketing at Felber & Felber Marketing. Actually, you won't catch Rob sitting down very often. In addition to running a busy firm, he's a volunteer firefighter and  Relay For Life: Twinsburg/Macedonia 2012 Chair. Even when he's on the run, he's quick to return calls - if not greeting cards.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Guest Blogger or Ghost Blogger?

Much has been written about the value of blogging. If there's one aspect of online marketing all the 'experts' agree on, it's that blogging has value, and lots of it.

Beyond that, the opinions are like belly buttons. Everybody seems to have one that's just a little bit different from his neighbor's. So, if you want to "prove" that ghost bloggers are the best way to use your marketing dollars, and save your staff's time, you can find plenty of experts who agree with you.

And if you want to argue that having a blog authored by none other than the CEO is the best way to go, well, ditto. You can probably even come up with a study on it.

I take most studies with a grain of salt, and on this subject especially, I listen to my gut. My gut says blogs, like belly buttons and opinions, are unique. (Or at least, they ought to be.)  Meaning you probably know the answer to the question - which is better, guest blogger or ghost blogger? - and even if you don't, you can't go too far wrong... as long as your blog is up to date, on topic, and not too long.

I'm pretty sure that's my cue to stop typing.

The last word -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Need someone to help you meet your blogging goals this year? I can guest or ghost blog on a variety of topics including corporate communications, customer service, marketing, promotions and public relations. Twenty-plus years of experience and a long list of satisfied clients say I can write about almost any industry, but for the record, I've written most often for organizations offering business and legal services, and those involved in the health and medical industries, manufacturing, and  technology. And oh yeah, I know a little bit about hiking and other things to do in Ohio. Need to keep your blog up to date? I can help.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

What should a writer do for the holidays?

Recently, I've seen several articles listing opportunities for photographers to use their cameras for good and I thought, of course writers can do that, too. Many of us do, providing pro bono copywriting for charitable causes, not charging for author presentations at our children's schools, writing press releases for our local parks system or library levy campaigns, or simply by polishing up a friend's resume gratis.

But writing for free is a great way to make no money. And besides cheer and glad tidings (and good intentions, like doing pro bono work) the holidays bring bills. Lots of bills! So what can writers do to manage, and make good, on their good intentions while not ending up doing ALL charity work?

One solution is to put your offer in writing. If you're a professional writer and have great resume writing skills, too, a note to a friend, like this, might be very well received: "Dear Tom, I know you're looking for a job. Can I help you polish your resume this year? I'd consider it an honor, and a gift to you."

Similarly, if you'd like to do more to help out at church, but aren't able to tithe quite as much as you'd like, you might contact the church secretary with an offer to polish resumes for job-seeking church members, and suggest that those who can pay for the service should donate (your hourly rate) to the church.
Hint: I'm sure you have a big heart and all, but if your congregation is very large you should consider putting a limit on this offer, say, good for the first 10 or so folks who contact the church office.
Maybe you can start a Twitter account, manage a Facebook page, or create some Google+ buzz for a charity or one of your favorite organizations that hasn't done so yet.

What else can you do as a writer? Quite a bit of good, I bet. Words are powerful tools. I'd love to hear about how you're wielding them.

The next-to last word -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Highly recommended reading; found it just before publication. Kismet!
 Give back & get new business - from All Business

The last word -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Add your pro bono work and charitable intentions to your business plan. Make time for it so it gets done, and so it doesn't undermine your primary business goal (whether it's to make money or finish that novel) in 2012.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Especially in Headlines and Subject Lines, Characters Matter

Consider the work involved in sending an e-mail newsletter to hundreds of thousands of newsletter subscribers. Or even to a few hundred subscribers or a handful of prospects.

Besides maintaining your list, compiling the basic information, editing html tags, crafting a captivating headline, honing the copy and proofreading every word - please, tell me you proofread - do you really have to count characters? Well, no. But you DO have to consider where the line breaks might occur, especially in headlines and subject lines.

Want an example? Here's the subject line from a message that just landed in my in-box:
                  Help protect yourself and your assets

It's clear and relatively concise. So far so good. Unfortunately my mail program cut off the last three letters in the headline. 

Guess which word (that the author never intended) I'll remember from the newsletter?
  __ ___ ___ ___ __ __ ____ _ __  __ 
Do you need a proofreader?
Would you like some help crafting your employee newsletter, or anything you send to clients or prospects? 

((Contact me soon - special prices in effect for newsletters ordered through Q1 2012))

Friday, December 2, 2011

Copywriters: Good question

Thanks to Bruce Felber for sharing this article. The question I focus on is not, is advertising a respected profession, but is it a profession at all? I worry about this question because I don't want to see a rush to certification programs. Sure, many certifications indicate education has taken place or experience/success has been earned, but rarely do certifications - or any letters following a person's name - tell you anything about a person's character, abilities, or professionalism.

Writers??? Please join the discussion, here or there ->Fuel Lines: Is Advertising a Respected Profession?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Guest Bloggers on the Top of My List

OK folks. December is here. December, I think, makes us all writers. List writers.

Am I right? The to-do list becomes a little more pressure-laden this time of year. Any way you look at it, December 31 looks like a SERIOUS DEADLINE.

So what's on your list?

I'm a list nut. About this time of year (ok, before Thanksgiving if you must know) I start compiling all of my lists, from grocery lists to gift lists to the ever-more-complicated Christmas (or should we say Holiday?) Card list to the seemingly endless to-do lists, rediscovering that frantic feeling that seems to come, guaranteed! no purchase necessary! with the last month of the year.

But this is about writing, not my neuroses. SO, among my writerly goals this year, somewhere in-between getting 100 followers on Twitter (help?) and reading more fiction (I'm failing miserably; thanks for asking) was getting more guest posts on this blog.

Would you like to offer a post here? Please consider it, or, heck, don't think about it at all! Just raise your hand and jump in before you talk yourself out of it! Drop me a line, tweet, link up with me on LinkedIn, send up a smoke signal even, and tell me what you'd like to write...about writing. Or about writers. Or writers with neuroses. Hey, some guy even wrote a book about lists. (I'm reading it now.) I'm really open to guest blog topics. Try me.

I've been absolutely delighted with the variety of guests who've graced this blog this year, and I think my readers have been happy to have a break from me and my fascination with lists, ellipses, and other neuroses. 

Well, clearly it's time for me to stop typing. And it's time for you to start! Will you be a guest blogger? Please?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Guest Post: Debbie Alferio

Debbie Alferio is the award-winning author of the Forever Love fictional romance series. She writes without outlines and is quick to say she hasn’t received any formal writing training, and gushes about her crush on Country Music recording artist Chuck Wicks, the inspiration for her books' main character.

Unapologetic about her aversion to outlines and her self-published status, Debbie offers practical and encouraging advice for other writers, and reminds us how important it is to remain true to yourself.
You’re the Ohio rep for Authors Across America and a member of the International Writer’s Association, American Author’s Association, OhioProfessional Writers, and Writer’s Ink. So you’re obviously steeped in writerly advice. But, really, you’ve never used an outline?

I know of a lot of authors who prefer to use outlines and swear by them, and others who find them restricting.  I fall into that latter group.  On the few occasions I have tried to outline, I've felt like, if I didn't stick to the thing like glue, my finished product wouldn't be worth its weight in salt.  When I write, I like to let the muse take control, and if the plotline or characters happen to change direction midstream, I can go with it.  For me, outlining means feeling too rigid and structured with my writing.  I enjoy the freedom to let the elements of the story unfold as I go along.  Luckily for me, it's worked very well so far!
Please, tell us what it’s really like working with AuthorHouse. (And don’t just say “great!”)  Do you act more like an entrepreneur than author? How does the editing process work? What kind of marketing support do you get?

Am I allowed to say wonderful?  How about fantastic? LOL.  Seriously, my experience with Authorhouse has been very positive.  The company produces a quality product, the staff is always friendly and knowledgeable, and although they're one of the larger independent publishers, I've never felt like I was just a number to them. Authorhouse makes my books available through thousands of online outlets worldwide, and they can be ordered via Ingram, Bowker's, and Baker & Taylor. To be honest, I believe that all authors, regardless of the method they use to publish, are entrepreneurs of sorts.  Your book is your business, and ultimately, no one can promote it the way you do.  The company does offer marketing support, and the advice I've received from my Author Services Representatives over the years has been priceless in getting me to where I am now.  As for editing, the company does offer this service; however, I preferred to use my own editors.
Would you describe your editing process, then – and how you've found editors?

Let me share a little story.  When it came time to edit A Forever Kind of Love, I was not in a financial position to pay for professional editing services through Authorhouse or from the private sector.  Knowing enough about the process to understand editing is a must, I chose a group of close family and friends to take on the job for me.  I was very grateful for their help; and while they spotted many of the more "obvious" errors like grammar and punctuation, there were a few things overlooked which ended up getting published in the book.  Fortunately, those things are very minor so as not to detract from the overall quality of the story or be picked up in most cases by the reader.  Do they bother me?  Of course---no one wants mistakes in their work, but it does happen, and sometimes even with big-name authors. 

Anyway, the second time around I guess you could say I had "lived and learned" enough to find someone with more actual editing knowledge.  The lady, Arlene Towne, was one of my high school teachers.  Mrs. Towne worked over my 470-page manuscript for "Waiting for Tomorrow" five times--word by word, line by line.  She not only edited, she also mentored me in the proper usage of commas (I tend to be comma-happy!) as well as where dashes and semicolons can be used instead.  She took the time to make sure the work was polished before it went to the printer.  Her diligence paid off in one of the highest compliments I have ever gotten--actually from a friend who is a freelance writer and editor herself.  She told me that "Waiting for Tomorrow" was one of the most perfectly edited works she has ever read!  So, the moral of the story?

There are many ways to find a good editor; just be sure that whoever you choose actually knows what to look for.  Be sure they understand the principles of sentence structure, grammar, spelling, punctuation, as well as what sounds right to make the story flow.  A good editor is a great asset to you and the success of your work.
When you conduct writing workshops, what’s the most surprising thing you tell new (or old!) writers? What do you think is the “aha” moment for those listening to you?

New writers often are surprised when I tell them that I make a higher royalty per sale being independently published than some of the traditionally-published authors I know, and that they often do as much marketing as I do.  There seems to be a misconception that traditional publishing houses automatically shower you with money and publicity when you land a contract.  I tell them sure--if your name is Nora Roberts or Clive Cussler!  LOL.  Now, I'm not knocking anyone's choice on how to publish--that's a personal preference.  Traditional publishing has its advantages, but in most cases for the new author, don't expect to get rich or famous overnight.  You still have to work at it.
Promotion is a tough nut to crack for most authors. You’ve shared some very helpful, practical advice on your blog.  Have you done anything sort of quirky or unusual that really paid off?

I'm not sure if it qualifies as quirky, but I've developed a knack for incorporating the phrase, "I'm an author" into just about any conversation or situation I find myself in.  I've been known to tell everyone from the UPS guy to the clerk at the grocery store what I do, and in many instances, it's either resulted in a  book sale or sometimes even a speaking engagement.  I simply make sure to listen and watch for an appropriate window in the dialogue, make a casual mention of my art, and go from there.  It helps, too, that I always carry brochures in my purse for those occasions so that I have something to offer about my work.  Word of mouth is still the best way to advertise!
Thanks, Debbie! Your advice is helpful and I'm sure it will be appreciated by many new (and not-so-new) writers.

Now, dear reader, can you help me out? I’ve been lucky enough to post advice from Debbie, Derek Taylor Kent, Carmen Ambrosio, and Andrea Richesin so far this year and now, I’m looking for guest bloggers again. If you’re a published author or professional copywriter, and would like to share a few words of wisdom here, please contact me.

I’m also looking for guest writers for my reading blog, where you can chat up your favorite (or most disappointing) reads. I hope to hear from you soon! 

Next up... what should a writer do for the holidays?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Five Book Marketing Mistakes I've Made (So Far)

Here are a few of the mistakes I've made while marketing my book, 60 Hikes within 60 Miles of Cleveland. These are, of course, only the mistakes I KNOW I've made. I'm still learning. (I have a funny feeling this could become a multi-part series.)

1. Did too much homework
I spent hours (hours!) learning about bookplates, their uses, where they're printed, who might print them locally, how authors have used various designs, and recommended tech specs for printing. I think bookplates are a nice-to-have item, but frankly, I over-did the research. (Translation: wasted time.)

2. Didn't do enough homework
My first set of bookplates were very pretty, and generic. In fact, they were from the first vendor I found online when I searched for "bookplates." Like, duh. After all that research to find a nearby vendor and secure a reasonable price, ultimately, the best option for me was to order from BookplateInk. Sheesh.

3. Gave too freely, gave too little, or gave the wrong thing
When the first edition of my book was published, I followed the oft-heard advice to "give a copy to all of your friends." Well, there are some problems with that. First, which friends? No matter how excited I am about my book, it's financially unwise to hand a $17 book to each of my friends (even with my author discount). So I redefined "friend," this time looking critically at my contact list to select those who appeared to be most likely to tout the book to others, or (in a few cases) buy a bunch of books for other people. In other words, I learned to give to the friends of my book, but sadly, not to all of my friends.

I haven't mastered this yet. I try to be well-organized and yes, over-prepared, for book signings and other appearances, but still I find I'm loading the car in a rush at the last minute. A couple of times I have forgotten to bring along an extra copy of the book, which would have been a nice thank-you gift for the event host. That's more time-management (and Checklist Manifesto-type stuff) than book marketing know-how. The other side of the coin is book-marketing savvy. As in, what's the right thank-you gift for a book-signing host anyway? Perhaps it's not a book (many event hosts already have one) but a photo or notecards featuring one of the trails, instead. (Any book promotion experts out there?? Speak up - just, please, go beyond 'bookmark,' ok?)

4. Spent too much time on Facebook.
I'm still struggling with this one, too. Check out my Facebook page, where I waste a lot of time I could be spending on the trail. Or not.

5. Failed to maximize my face time 
As friend (and award-winning author) Debbie Alferio points out,* word of mouth is the best form of advertising. I've been too cautious about mentioning that I'm an author in the past, a habit I vow to correct before it's time to make New Year's resolutions.

I've also stumbled when promoting events. Once I lost a sale because I didn't show up early (aim to arrive at any signing at least 30 minutes in advance) and another time, I planned a GRAND event with another author... and turnout was abysmal because I didn't chat it up enough. I Facebooked** the heck out of it, though; yet another reminder the original social networking tools - your face! and your mouth! - are often more effective than newer ones.

I'm sure I'll discover many more mistakes I've made... but until I'm willing to admit them, what about you? Got any mistakes to share?

*OK, she wasn't the first to say so, but she makes the point eloquently in an upcoming guest post.

**I know it's not a verb. But you knew what I meant, didn't you?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Scary Path to a Book Deal

A Guest Ghost Post by Derek Taylor Kent, AKA Derek the Ghost, and author of Scary School, HarperCollins (c) 2011

My name is Derek Taylor Kent (AKA Derek the Ghost). I recently received a three-book deal for my YA series Scary School, which comes out June 21, 2011 ( Sounds like a dream come true, right? Keep reading.

My story begins when I was 15 years old. It’s March 1994. For a creative writing class, I undertake writing an epic illustrated fantasy series. As I write it, I love it so much that I am 100% sure that I want to be a children’s book writer for the rest of my life.

For the next six years, I work relentlessly on this illustrated series. My mother (a well-known artist) creates sample illustrations but can’t finish an entire book.

The furthest I could ever get with it is in 2000 when I obtained a small agent based in Florida who was unable to sell it. I was confused. I was angry. I was petrified that what I believed was incredible was actually no good, or at the very least, unsellable.

Around this time, the Harry Potter series started blowing up. I was resistant to read it, as I must admit, I had an inner jealousy for her success as a children’s writer. However, I had to see what the fuss was about. As soon as I read the first book, I became JK’s biggest fan. Like her, I had been trying to create a dark, epic fantasy series, but I realized that I was misguided in trying to make them into short illustrated books. What I believed was “unique” was actually tonally confused. The illustrations suggested a six to eight year old audience, but the epic fantasy storyline suggested a nine to twelve year old audience; and worse, the themes and high language could only be appreciated by adults.

Despite pouring ten years into this series, I had to abandon it in 2004 (although my mother remains sure it will eventually be my biggest success). I realized I had to reinvent myself as a novelist if I was going to make this work, and I was so inspired by young Harry, that I just had to create my own world like JK did.

April 2005. I spend about a year writing my first novel: Scary School, Book 1: My Homework Ate my Dog. Here’s the logline from my query:
When an enchanted sheet of homework "eats" his pet beagle and disappears, a gutsy 11-year-old boy embarks on a terrifying quest to rescue his beloved pet from a greater evil than he could ever imagine.
Not bad, I think.

October 2006. After completing the first draft of My Homework Ate My Dog, I began sending out a light mailing to a few agents and publishers. All rejections.

Again confused, I started giving the manuscript to readers, and one especially helpful woman who used to work as an editor. She gave me detailed notes that would require a heavy rewrite, but also said I definitely had something that could sell. If I have one strength as I writer, it’s my willingness to not only to take, but implement notes from critique.

I spend months doing exhausting rewrites implementing all of her notes to the letter. I may not have agreed with all of her notes at first, but after incorporating them, I had to agree the book was greatly improved.

Early 2007. I felt the time was finally right to do a serious submission. But guess what? I had a day job and my spare time was filled with other projects (I was doing theater and also forming a production company).

My Homework Ate My Dog goes on the backburner as another year passes.

July 2008. There’s a brief window of time off from my day job. I decide that it’s time to go full-out toward finding an agent or a publisher. If it doesn’t happen, it will probably be the end of my YA writing aspirations.

The task before me is daunting. I have the Guide to Literary Agents and the Children’s Marketplace books. I scour all the online resources. I make a thorough list of every single agent and publisher possible who might be interested. I quickly realize it would probably take me a year to reach out to all of them, and I only have a couple weeks of free time. So, I hire an assistant. His job is to sit in my apartment for eight hours a day and do nothing but create and send out packages to every single YA lit agent in America. There are thousands. I spend my time focusing on the online querying campaign. I send out dozens of query emails per day.

The mailings and the assistant cost a lot of money – probably a couple thousand –but I ration that it’s a fraction of what I would get for a book advance, so it’s an investment. And tax deductible.

Responses start coming in. Email responses come in quickly. I’m getting bites. About one in every ten I send out is asking to read my manuscript or sample chapters. Most are rejections of course, but if you have a 10% positive response rate to your query, you know that you probably have something really good, at least in concept.

Weeks go by as the agents are reading my manuscript. Of the hundreds upon hundreds of queries and packages sent out, I continue receiving requests for the manuscript at a rate of about 10%.

Responses from agents who requested the book start coming in. I get some positive feedback but nobody “feels strongly enough” to take it on.

August 2008. Eric Myers from the Joe Spieler Agency requests sample chapters. A week later he requests the complete manuscript. On September 20, 2008, Eric Myers is my agent. He is very enthusiastic and has a great track record.

Based on Eric’s notes, I do another rewrite of the book before he sends it out. The book is improved.

December 2008. Every publisher my agent has submitted to has passed on Scary School: My Homework Ate My Dog.

There is one glimmer of hope. A junior editor at HarperCollins says that “she really likes my writing and the humor of the book, but what I was expecting from a book called Scary School: My Homework Ate My Dog was not what I got. I was hoping for a light, funny book about a Scary School for a young audience, but instead got a dark fantasy book for an older YA audience.”

She was exactly right. I had made the same mistake I had made with my illustrated series. My title was screaming: silly/funny book for the 8-9 year old audience. But I had given her an even darker Harry Potter. Had I learned nothing?

The editor concluded with: “I do feel there is a market for a Scary School book series for a younger audience should he feel inclined to write it.”

There it was. A bite from a publisher. I had a fan and she had told me exactly what she wanted. The only problem was my “bite” feels like an orca whale. I’d have to write a whole new book for her, and I’d have to write it fast so she didn’t forget about me or buy another book in the same genre. But, if there’s one thing I like it’s “challenge” writing. And I love working on it deadlines. It keeps me focused and productive.

I sequester myself over the Christmas holiday and complete the first draft of the new book series, simply titled Scary School. It’s a comedy. I laugh out loud while writing it. I’ve always been a comedy writer at heart. I should have done this before.

The first draft is done by January, 2009. I spend two months showing it to my trusted readers and editing it based on their notes. I send it to my agent in March 2009. He doesn’t like it as much as My Homework Ate My Dog. He says it reads more like a collection of short stories instead of a linear story with a main character. He thinks I should rewrite it.

I really don’t want to do this rewrite. I feel confident this is the proper format. We eventually agree to send it to HarperCollins as is.

A couple weeks later, the junior editor writes back: “This is exactly what I was hoping for. I love it! I think we really have something here!”

I dance around my apartment and weep with joy.

For the next several weeks, I work on a new draft of Scary School with the editor. She needs it to be as good as possible before showing it to the higher ups for approval. We add more of a linear storyline into it while keeping the integrity of the short story format.

It’s much better. Everyone at HarperCollins loves it.

May 2009. HarperCollins offers me a three-book deal for Scary School.

The advance is not enough to quit my day job, but it’s enough to put a down payment on a new car, create a website, hire a publicist, and print thousands of Scary School t-shirts.

As I write this, Scary School was released a couple months ago, on June 21, 2011. Yes, after all that, I had to wait another two years before it was scheduled for release.

Over that time I have self-published My Homework Ate My Dog, which is now called Rudy and the Beast: My Homework Ate My Dog! There’s still an issue with the title, but I won’t surrender it. I also self-published an illustrated book called Simon and the Solar System.

This year, I finished a new YA novel called Principal Mikey about a kid who becomes principal of his school. I think it’s the best novel I’ve written and is absolutely hilarious.

No bites yet. Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Have No Fear, Perseverance Pays Off

Writers, particularly those who write children's fiction, don't know overnight success. I think perseverance is the main ingredient that separates writers from the successful (meaning published) writers.

I'm delighted to say tomorrow's guest post -- rather, it's a ghost post, from Scary School author Derek Taylor Kent -- drives home the importance of good old-fashioned hard work and perseverance. It also delivers a few surprises.

If you write for children, and have ever felt your dedication flagging, I urge you to read it. (If you write for children, and have never felt your dedication flagging, I'd be flabbergasted.)

Derek's backstory is interesting, and I think it offer a very realistic model for today's fiction writers. While he went the traditional route (lots and lots of rejection and revision before snagging a contract with a major publisher), he also self-published. AFTER getting the contract. And although he's had some help from Major Publisher, he's also doing a good bit of marketing himself.

A review of Scary School will follow ... my 2nd-grader is thoroughly enjoying the tale now. Until then, please check back tomorrow to see Derek's ghost post, and if you're looking for a very funny, spooky, seriously-engaging chapter book for elementary school readers, consider Scary School. I'm not afraid to say, Derek's hard work really has paid off - especially for his readers!

((Thanks to Derek the Ghost for the use of this image; a writer whose perseverance paid off. I guess??)) 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Quickie tip: on perspective and creating an elevator speech

Rarely does advice on voice and perspective come in such practical terms: if you're a writer, of white papers or web content or Facebook pages or flash fiction or just about anything else, I bet you'll appreciate this blog post from Jonathan Hop. (Thanks, Jonathan)

I'm looking forward to using this technique as I review and revise my (admittedly lackluster) elevator speech.

So... who wants to share their elevator speech?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Children's Writer Poetry Contest

If you think you're as smart as Shel Silverstein
And your writing skills are really keen,
Go ahead and prove it -
But you better move it:
The deadline is Halloween!

And there you have it. You can enter this children's poetry writing contest with absolutely nothing to fear from me.

About the contest:
Sponsored by Children's Writer*
Free for subscribers, $15 entry fee for non-subscribers (which includes a one-year subscription to the newsletter)
Poems may be on any subject, up to 300 words, and must appeal to children
Top prize is $500 and publication
Deadline for entries: October 31, 2011
Good luck!

*Children's Writer is a newsletter of writing and publishing trends. Since I've been a subscriber, I've been impressed with its very practical advice. (Not that my children's books are winning any awards - oh wait, that's because I don't have any published children's books...yet. Well anyway, good luck!)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Bye-bye BookTour

"We regret to inform you that BookTour will be shutting down on Thursday, September 1, 2011. On that date, all of our services will end and our data will be unavailable."

So begins the message from to users, sent today. Although I agree with the company's assessment that its basic services are well-managed by others (including Amazon's Author Central, which I mentioned in a previous post) I'm sorry to see another casualty in the publishing industry, and it was especially painful because BookTour so clearly calls out the elephant in the room: lower book marketing budgets. Duh, but ouch.

Here are the two take-aways from this little post:
1- If you have any info in a page, go get it, and while you're at it, clean up and replace any links to BookTour you may have on your website (or other sites) before September 1, and
2- If you're an author, you're in charge of marketing and sales.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Now Sell This

Now that the second edition of my hiking guide, 60 Hikes within 60 Miles of Cleveland, is available, I've set some pretty lofty sales goals. Dublin, Ohio-based artist and author Carmen Ambrosio kindly invited me to offer this guest post on her blog regarding my author-as-sales manager philosophy. (Thanks, Carmen!)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Communications Need Operational Backup

Ever take a coupon to a store only to find out the check-out clerks know nothing about the offer? I hate it when that happens.

And trust me, so do your customers. So don't let it happen on your watch.

Words have meaning and can create actions. With a little luck, they'll bring customers into your store! But once an offer sends shoppers into your store, operational screw ups can drive them away. Be smart: if you can't fulfill it, don't offer it.

The same rule should apply to everything your organization puts in writing. If the "one-click unsubscribe" hotlink at the bottom of your e-mail campaign offers doesn't work, you'll have achieved name-recognition and retention for the wrong reasons, the wrong way, with the wrong people. Really ticked-off people.

Case in point: Viacom e-mail advertisements
Over the past three years, I have unsubscribed from about a dozen e-mail "newsletters" I didn't intentionally subscribe to from Viacom's MtVN division. I've repeatedly visited the one-click unsubscribe page to see the promise, "you'll be unsubscribed, please allow ten days to process." And not only do I continue to receive some of the newsletters, I get new ones!

Surely you've heard the advice, "under-promise and over-deliver." Maybe Viacom just didn't understand. But you should.

Be sure your communications get it right, both in writing and on the operations side.

The Best of Bad Writing

The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, named for the creator of the "dark and stormy night" stuff made famous by Snoopy, honors the best worst first sentence of a novel.

This year, a University of Wisconsin professor earned the award with a sentence about dead birds and dead-end thinking. Or something like that.

If you aspire to similar heights, learn more about the contest here:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Wasted Writing: When the Offer isn't Worth the Ink

Personally, I have never been asked by a client to create a "worthless" e-mail campaign, Facebook offer, or other ad copy that isn't worth the ink. If I ever am, I think - and I hope - I'll be tough enough to reply, "is that the best you've got?"

Some campaigns (sorry, Starbucks) really aren't worth bothering customers about. The ads amount to worse than wasted time and money for the company. They also add to the general clutter of our collective consciousness and increase the likelihood that "subscribers" (and some firms use that term very loosely - are you listening, Viacom?) will just hit delete.

Case in point: Starbucks rewards card e-mail campaign, July 18-22
The "big news" was that the retail stores are reinstating the "Treat Receipt" offer. How big is it? You decide:
Bring your morning receipt in after 2 p.m. at participating stores and we'll serve you up a cold grande beverage for just $2.
Yep, that was the lead offer. The only offer, in fact - followed by seven (7!) advertisements, none of which included money-savings offers.

I'm not sure how these things get through multiple marketing department decision makers. I like to think I would have spoken up in the corporate boardroom and said, hey, now that there's a Starbucks on almost every corner and penny-pinching is everybody's new favorite hobby, offers need to be a lot more attractive than "spend disposable income here twice in one day and save a buck."

Maybe they wouldn't have listened to me. I hope my clients will.

- - - - - - - - next: Make sure your communications have operational back-up - - - - - - - - 

Need a writer who speaks her mind - even if it upsets the apple cart? I never lose sight of my customer service and marketing background, and believe it's my job as a writer to make sure your message is the best it can be. I don't waste your ink or your time, and I do everything I can to give your customers and prospects something worth reading. Contact me for a free consultation.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Guest Post: Salvo or Salve?

Salvo or Salve?
One vowel. Big Difference.

The words we say or write can hurt or heal. Whether we lob a salvo or offer a salve is our choice. 

In the era of cell phones, texting and other immediate communication, quick responses are expected. But, hasty, knee-jerk reactions have consequences. To skip an intermediate step to contemplate the impact of our words, and instead allow our raw emotions to shape what comes out of our mouths or appears onscreen unedited, can be costly to our personal and business relationships.
Do we intend to demean a subordinate by spewing an insult?
Do we intend to reassure a child with a calm explanation?
Whenever the opportunity arises, we can choose to use statements that empathize, not terrorize; expressions that heal, not hurt.
Why? Based on our own experiences, we know that positive salves and negative salvos can have lasting, residual effects. Each of us probably can recall vividly the caring or damaging exchanges we have had. When Word Hugs™ were shared or pains were inflicted, those memories lingered. Both repeated kind and unkind remarks are particularly unforgettable.
We should be aware of whether our speech or writing helps or harms others.

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I'm delighted to have this guest post from Carmen Ambrosio! I met Carmen in May, when she was enjoying some well-deserved recognition at a meeting of Ohio Professional Writers.

After earning a journalism degree from Michigan State University, Carmen gained extensive experience in corporate marketing communications. Now, she pursues her own writing and art full-time. Her first book, Life Continues: Facing the Challenges of MS, Menopause, and Midlife with Hope, Courage, and Humor, was published in 2010. 

 Learn more about Carmen, her work, and Word Hugs™ at where she also shares a little about her writing philosophy, and life.
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"We all need the daily emotional nutrition provided by positive, supportive communications of friends, family and others we encounter on our paths." ~~ Carmen Ambrosio

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summertime freelancing

The #1 reason I love freelancing is because it allows me to work around my kids' schedules. But in the summer, I feel like I'm visiting my office more than I'm actually working there.

I'm not complaining - well, yes, I am. Long story short: I welcome guest posts especially in the summer.

Any takers? If you've actually found time to work this summer, can you give the rest of us harried freelancers some tips?

Friday, July 1, 2011

You wrote what? Dream writing jobs and diaper duty

I've written catalog copy, Facebook status updates for clients, a mission statement, a tag line, captions to create a photo essay, and a few other things. But I've never written anything intended to appear on a diaper.

Yes, some people get paid to do such things. Check out Marcia Yudkin's Marketing Minute post today to find out more about diaper captions and other unusual writing opportunities.

If I could pick my dream job right now, I'd have to say penning all the data on those interesting little Pokemon character cards or developing names for Bakugan Brawlers. When I took my first copywriting course in college, I thought my dream job would be creating descriptions for Proctor & Gamble products. Instead, these days I'm writing stuff that's a lot closer to legal disclaimers for websites. Which I have not written, but I've edited. And you know what? As jobs go, it isn't that bad.

How about you?  

What's your dream writing job? 
Please leave a comment below or send a note via Twitter or Facebook. Oh, come on! I'm pretty sure you're sitting in front of a keyboard right now, and you probably like to write. Right? So... what do you dream of writing?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Great Advice Abounds, Time Doesn't

Whew. Just back from a web-surfing trip I didn't have time for. I learned a ton, but now I'm late for the rest of my day, and didn't make that teeny-tiny update to my website that was on my Saturday morning to-do list. Sound familiar?

I not only don't have the answer, I'm going to add to the problem. Sorry? Not really. This is smart, savvy advice. So don't waste your day surfing around potentially-info-laden sites, I've done the legwork and I officially declare these really worth the time.

1. This guest-post on Writers and the Threat of Digital Theft  from The Urban Muse comes from Sandra Aistars, Executive Director of the Copyright Alliance and former VP and General Counsel at Time Warner, Inc.
Full URL:

2. Practical Tips on Writing a Book from 23 Brilliant Authors is almost exactly what its title promises. (Why almost: I'm copywriter enough to appreciate the use of "brilliant," and journalist enough to say, "overkill" - but that's my problem.)
Full URL:

3. After you've read these two articles, either get back to work putting this good advice to good use, or unplug yourself from the screen and get out and enjoy the day. It's the weekend, you know!

If you're reading this, you must be really good at procrastination. (Takes one to know one, I guess.) So ok, then - can I ask you for a favor? ReTweet this or Follow me on Facebook. Please?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

On paper: It looks pretty good

Enough about the death of newspapers, books, and with them, perhaps, writing. There's always a bright side, right?

I'm using a lot less paper these days. I anticipate using about half the amount of paper that I did last year (2010) when I used about 25% less than I did the year before (2009). And no, it's not because I'm working less (I've added a client and an ongoing project and last year, I wrote a book). It's because I'm getting much better at editing on screen! (Note: "better" doesn't mean perfect!)

What about you? Has your paper consumption dropped off too?

I've also found more outlets willing to reuse my paper (blank on one side), so now I take anything that doesn't have sensitive info on it to one of two local preschools.

How do you recycle or reuse your stuff? 

Do you encourage clients to include a "think before you print" message in their corporate e-mails? In marketing campaigns? 

Share your, of course.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

200+ Reasons Content Matters

There are a lot of experts willing to give advice about how to legitimately get your site higher in search engine rankings. When you boil it down, what they're all saying is that the most important thing to do is to build a good site. --SEO: Beware of the Dark Side. Lamont Wood, in ComputerWorld, May 31, 2011.
For an interesting and not-too-technical article posted earlier this week, CW's Lamont Wood interviewed folks who got in trouble for trying to cheat Google's page-ranking program, as well as Google execs, who shared as much info as the search gorilla is willing to provide about its page-ranking algorithms. Hint: they're based on about 200 factors, and counter to the commonly-held misconception, links aren't all that matter.

Content, if not quite king, is still the key element people want to find when they're searching.  Far better and considerably easier than trying to outsmart Google's algorithms: Nurture and grow a real audience by posting smart, interesting stuff on your Facebook pages, create (and manage) worthwhile Tweets, and invest in data-rich blogs that drive interested readers to your site.

Marketing (still) means reaching and cultivating your audience. Blogs, Facebook, and Twitter, are just some of the new tools you need to do it.

- - - - - - -

You don't have to spend time spinning your message on the web - I can do it for you.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Q&A with Andrea Richesin: On Love, Rejection, Research, and Publishing

Andrea N. Richesin has compiled four anthologies in about as many years. All deal with love and relationships; each has a unique focus. Her latest, Crush, offers up 26 writers' recollections of their teenage (or sometimes nearly adult) crushes, first loves, and some of the lessons learned along the way.

While Richesin is busy (she's at work on book #5), she graciously found time to answer a few of my questions about her publishing experience.

Please describe the process you've used to create these anthologies. Did you ask the writers to create the essays specifically for this book? If so, how did you select the writers?
The process begins with the kernel of an idea. I’ve chosen topics I’ve personally grappled with myself like turning 30 (this now seems laughable on the cusp of 40, but running out of time was a neurotic obsession that plagued me) and the mother-daughter relationship. Then I contact the writers I admire and slowly begin to solicit their synopses. We often have an email correspondence about what their pieces will entail. They’re revealing very intimate details of their lives. So I feel honored that they have agreed to share these moments with me and to contribute their work. Once my agent and I have polished the final book proposal, she sends it to prospective editors. It’s usually only a bare outline of what the book will eventually become, but it’s a beginning. After I have a contract in place, I commission essays for the collection.
Did you have to turn down some of the essays you received, because they were too racy, too dull, or just ... not quite right? (And if so, how did you approach the rejection process?)   
Yes, unfortunately, I had to reject a few essays. That’s obviously the hardest part of editing an anthology. I occasionally have to turn away an essay because either it’s not a good fit for the collection or it doesn’t really address the theme of the book. In some instances, the writer is removed from the experience and it doesn’t feel authentic. I have offered kill fees to the writers who haven’t been included.
What does your writing/research schedule look like? (If you don't really have one, please let us know; it's encouraging to many of us!)
I’m the most disorganized person in the world. So I don’t have a schedule, although I do have deadlines to my publisher. This tends to rein in my efforts a bit. Otherwise, I would probably go on looking for essays forever. As for my own writing, I almost only write when inspiration strikes me. I realize this is very bad of me, but I’m afraid I’m not a shining example for your readers.
Did you have any sticky situations with the writers collected in these anthologies? Blown deadlines? Hurt feelings during the editing process? 
In the past, I’ve had to contend with hurt feelings a few times. I recognize that I’ve asked the contributors to bravely expose themselves and as a result, if their essays don’t suit the collection, that’s uncomfortable for me to admit. I would never presume to tell the writers with whom I work how to do their jobs. After all, they’re professional writers making their livelihood at this, but I would hope that they would respect my opinion and humbly accept my decision.
Truth time: do you have a manuscript tucked away in a desk drawer? what's it about?
I have made some half-hearted attempts at a memoir that I hope to one day finish. My mother’s parents’ legacy fascinates me and also serves as a cautionary tale. I would love to reinterpret it as a beautiful southern gothic fairy tale. I’d also like to preserve their memories and what they meant to me personally for my daughter and future generations.
That sounds very interesting! Thanks, Nicki, for your time and candid answers. Best of luck with Crush, and all that comes after. 

Spend more time with the author:


Friday, May 27, 2011

Do You Need the Challenge of a Writing Contest?

Motivation is a mighty interesting thing, and writing contests really illustrate the point.

Will you write for food? A t-shirt? An Amazon gift card? OK. Just remember to read the rules, terms and conditions carefully (if for no other reason than some poor writer labored over them) and if the contest charges an entry fee, read them again. Carefully.

Still rarin' to go? Here, a few contests underway now:

Grate Righter, Bad Speler Contest (No I'm not kidding! This is my favorite!)
Contest closes at 12 AM CST on Sunday, May 29, 2011

Soaring Above Essay Contest (Looking for personal accounts re: overcoming obstacles)
Entries due May 31, 2011

Fiction in Five June Contest (750-1,000 words on writing prompt, given upon request)
Entries due June 6, 2011. Entry fees are due June 3. Hmmm.

Good luck and haf fun! (I'd love to see your entries for the first contest.)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Think Social Media Isn't Worth the Time?

Is customer service a fad? I don't think so.

Is social media? Doubt it.

Business owners who don't "get" social media need to get a grip: customer service (translation, staying in business) and social media are inseparable.

If you don't show your customers some social media love, someone else will. And there's a very good chance, no matter how much they love you, you will be drowned out by the tsunami of other voices in the increasingly (digitally) social world.

Watch this, and you'll get it:

Show your customers some social media love, build relationships online, just don't go AWOL.

Need some help crafting your online message? It's probably easier and less expensive than you think.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Online Editing Tips from ACES: Readers Notice Sloppy Writing

I'm not convinced that the web spells the death of decent writing. Sue Burzynski Bullard of the American Copy Editors Society (ACES) recently offered 8 tips to improve online editing, especially for news sites. My favorites:

4. Be transparent. “Tell us what you know and how you know it...and tell us what you don’t know.”  (One of my aha! moments in J-school came when a professor told us: what you leave out of the story can bias it as much as what you put in.~ Diane)


8. Quality counts. . ."..readers notice sloppiness whether online or in print."

All 8 tips -- all worth reading -- here:
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Monday, May 9, 2011

Animoto for Authors

Want to make a 30-second commercial for free? You can, with Animoto. While the "lite" version is free, a more full-bodied program that can make longer videos (among other things) is available for $5/month.

Below, a video promoting the new edition of my hiking guide, 60 Hikes within 60 Miles of Cleveland, available in June. Happy hiking...and happy movie making!

Create your own video slideshow at

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Getting Good Directions

 When I was a freshman in high school, my art teacher inspired me to be a writer. He probably didn't mean to, but that's what happened when he began our class by teaching from the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. It introduced me to the idea that the left- and right-hemispheres of our brains handle different things, or (more accurately) handle things differently.

At first, I was dumbstruck to find that I could draw something that looked remotely realistic. I just followed the book's directions and ta-da! That head actually seemed to fit on that body!

Before we finished with the book, I had learned two important things: I have no artistic talent, and by following the author's directions I could draw better.

I still love good directions, and I think writing them is something of an art. If my words can inspire you to assemble a shelf without dissembling the room where you're working, well, isn't that a beautiful thing? I know things can get ugly when I follow bad directions.
Still developing my artistic side.

Recently, I tried to enter a photography contest. (Guess I'm still developing my artistic side.) I was confused by the entry rules,  requested and got clarification, ultimately deciding the entry process was more trouble than it was worth. Apparently, I wasn't the only one who felt that way: The contest was cancelled due to lack of entries.

Directions matter. Marketing efforts and customer service initiatives can fail because of bad directions. Businesses can be sued because of bad directions. (Think of the poor DIY-er surrounded by the tools and pieces/parts of that shelf assembly. Misleading directions + a hammer = a lawsuit waiting to happen)

Directions seem pretty mundane, I know. Directions don't have to inspire, but they should - at least - direct. The next time you encounter crystal-clear, helpful, easy-to-read directions, I hope you'll think kindly of the person who wrote them. And whenever you find yourself in a nasty spot because of some bad directions, please, put down the hammer.

Question for my freelance/technical writer friends: have you ever gotten a job because you pointed out the inaccuracies in an organization's directions? 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

On Demand Studios and Defining Your Job

I've weighed in on the pros and cons of writing for low-paying content providers in the past, so there's no need to revisit the whole debate. Today, however, I managed to remind myself about two important things regarding Demand Studios and other low-budget content farms. In case you need reminding, too, here they are:

The Good: Sometimes you're getting paid to learn! 

I recently snagged an assignment about creating writing prompts for third-graders. Next month, I'm presenting to middle-school students about the writing process. What a perfect excuse to do a little research and get paid (a little) for it, I thought.

It worked out just like that. (I'll paste a link to the article here as soon as it's published.)

The Not-So-Good: Some assignments are poorly defined.

In my excitement over the first article, I grabbed a second, on creating T-shirt slogans. The problem? The assignment just wasn't well-defined. I should have recognized that, but it's not always easy.

An article for eHow, for example, is supposed to be pretty cut-and-dried. Think how to tie your shoelace, or replace the engine block in a '79 Camaro. It might be involved (and you're supposed to cover it in 500 words) but it's well-defined.

Now, I think it's more fun to wrestle with T-shirt slogans than with engine blocks, but the fact is, I wasn't dealing with motor head T-shirt slogans or political slogan.  I agreed to write about T-shirt slogans. Totally unqualified, undefined T-shirt slogans. Dirty T-shirt slogans? Funny T-shirt slogans? Nope. Maybe I could have covered that in 500 words.

My mistake. I'm still wrestling with the slogans. On the plus side, I got a blog topic out of it. I also got  a little philosophical exercise thinking about the creative vs. the copywriter.  While that may be worthy of a blog entry, it definitely doesn't belong on a T-shirt.

If I figure out what makes a good T-shirt slogan, I'll be sure to post it here. And if I figure out how to make money entertaining philosophical thoughts, I'm outta here!