I’ve written before about Ezine Articles. It’s an article directory or repository, where writers post articles on a wide range of topics and they give permission to other publications or sites to republish them. Article topics cover most of the subjects in the known universe, and probably unknown ones too. However, pieces can only be re-published if they retain the original URLs of the article writers, which typically go back to the writer’s business site, as is the case with my publications.
It’s a nice site for me, because I own the reprint rights for lots of articles that just listlessly sit around in a back pocket of my computer—why not poke them to life again and see if they bring any baying of writing bloodhounds to my site? Ezine’s tracking stats let me see that I’ve had several of my articles re-published on other writing sites, and I’ve seen from my own tracking stats that being on Ezine does indeed bring traffic to my site. Customers—I dunno.
But that’s just my long-winded intro to noting what I got in the mail a few days ago, pictured above: Ezine sent this gift package, with a nice coffee cup, leatherette coaster, package of coffee for a pot o’ joe, and a certificate stating their thanks for me being a member of the site. Sure, it’s all branded stuff, but wow, it was totally out of the blue (I hadn’t seen anything on their site about them sending gifts), and I’d only posted 10 articles, which is nothing by comparison with some posters. That’s the kind of unexpected customer appreciation that sets some companies apart, and prompted me to give them a shout-out today. Treat a writer right, and they will write right. Or at least write more.
(Pssst! Ezine: the coffee was nice, but a half-pint of bourbon next time will help my digestion.)
Books and Booze
Speaking of sticking your nose in a glass of hootch while you drink in some literature, I was heartened to read a post last week from Shelf Awareness that included a link to an article on Books and Booze, An Old and Profitable Mix. The piece looks at a number of bookstores that also serve wine and beer, such as The Spotty Dog Books and Ale in New York. Goodness, that is quite an advance over the bookshop cafe, such as the one I worked in, where we merely peddled sugar bombs and jolts of java.
One of the quotes from a Spotty Dog bookseller is illuminating: “… the bar allows us to have more in-depth relationships with customers and to discuss all matter of things, including books, than just having a coffee service would necessarily support. The more you talk to your customers, the better you can know what they will want to read.” I have no doubt that the customers want to discuss all manner of things after getting schnokered, but books might not be at the top of the list. Lady Gaga’s latest foundation garments, perhaps.
The store’s owner said, “Also, serve quality products, and you will get people out to enjoy one or two delicious beverages, not to go on a binge. Unique micro-brew beers go well with books.” Aye, a good brew, a good book. But cognac isn’t bad either, in my opinion. The article also profiles some other bookstores that stock swill and have found it to be an asset. When they start putting bars in church, you’ll know the world’s a kinder place.
Bacteria, You Are Me
And thinking that you’ve massaged your mind with all available nostrums by having read your basic anxious modern person’s requisite amount of self-help, nutrition and doomsday books—and that knowledge of the human condition is your stock in trade—out comes the most recent Smithsonian, with this nugget in an article about organizing and talking nice to microbes and their neighbors:
“Trillions of cells make up the human body, but there are at least ten times that number of bacterial cells in you or on you. You are, at best, only 10 percent human.”
Man, I KNEW that those times when I reached for the TV remote and I picked up the cat that it wasn’t me. All along it was those filthy bacteria controlling me. And they’re getting a free ride! Why can’t we tax these creatures and pay for another 100 years of Social Security?