Gifts from the Ether (Plus, A Bonus: Books, Booze and Bacteria!)

Ezine Articles gift booty

Ezine Articles provides a perk-me-up

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?

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7 thoughts on “Gifts from the Ether (Plus, A Bonus: Books, Booze and Bacteria!)

  1. “…the bar allows us to have more in-depth relationships with customers…”

    I bet.

    Don’t churches already serve alcohol?

  2. Annie, I want to be a member of your church. And thanks for commenting, it made me re-read this post and repair some infelicitous phrases and typos. Where’s my bacterial secretary?

  3. Ahh, Rick, it’s like that Twain story (and a concept that’s been tangled with by many authors, scientists and associated dreamers), The Great Dark, where the protagonist (with the help of the Superintendent of Dreams) journeys into a drop of water that is the realm of an entire universe of life, objects and drama. And then of course, there is the drop of that drop, and that droplet’s little dribble, all teeming.

    I need a shower now.

  4. Oh, lordy.

    Tom, you must think that my mind is being controlled by filthy bacteria. The (obviously too oblique) churches-serving-alcohol reference was about communion wine. Not that I’d know from firsthand experience. As a lapsed Protestant, it was only ever grape juice for me.

    On a totally unrelated topic, have you considered taking some of your how-to-write content and re-working it for playful videos? Kind of a Credible Copywriting Expert meets Bard meets Dashing Older Spice Guy mix?

    I’ve been wondering if potential clients who need wordsmith services (but who aren’t wordsmiths themselves)would find you and connect even better through video.

  5. No, no Annie—I think your idea of the high-alcohol content NeoChurch will fly. Think of the colorful confessions that would take place after a few belts, think of increased tithing, think of long-winded testimonials—oh, wait, scratch that. But the churches could use a few slot machines.

    On the videos, do you mean suggest copywriting tips (while holding an ax)? Or a video to prospective customers outlining what butchery I can perform on their copy?

    I will do this, if you will direct. After you get back from church.

  6. Me, the director? Only if I get to channel Tim Burton.

    You’d be the slightly quirky, incredibly helpful, full-of-wonder, sympathetic copywriter who takes the love of well-formed sentences, but not himself, seriously. Gently teaching others things about self-editing that they didn’t even realize they needed to know.

    In fact, you’d be like Edward Scissorhands, except with editorial red pens for fingers.

    Providing “actionable” tips, yes, but always with a sub-text of seducing and playing with words.

    Channeling Marty Scorsese, I can also envision a few gritty, hard-hitting videos describing your indispensable services for prospective customers. OK, maybe not gritty and hard-hitting, exactly, but more direct.

    Do your customers tend to be business people, creatives, or both?

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