Branding: who needs a logo when you wear glasses?

How seriously do you take branding for your business? OK, if you’re Coca Cola or Kellogg’s it’s very, very serious and you don’t have a choice. But for those of us running rather, er, smaller enterprises, do you realise that branding is just as important?

Now, those of you who know me personally know that I don’t do fancy, but I do branding, sort of, for my meagre writing business. Here, therefore, is the “living logo” that has been working very hard for me for the last six years:

Suzan St Maur's glasses

Who do you think of when you see a woman with a mop of short, blonde hair and big black glasses? And don’t you dare say “Maxine...” I don’t do hats. LOL.

Why a pair of glasses for branding, when I’m a writer?

[Read more…]

Writing a nonfiction book? Compete with Google at your peril

Before Google there was a need for lots of books that shared information. Now? Who needs an encyclopædia when Google is at your fingertips?

Bang goes the door on your butt if you want to write a nonfiction book covering topics of a certain informational type that, now, are so hungrily available on Google.Google logoI had the painful experience recently of looking into the production of another “A to Z” book of terms for two particular audiences, each clearly defined, one of which I describe below.

All seemed clear and cracking until that “Oh No” moment hit me: why should people buy this book containing umpty-dump hundred entries when all they need to do to find out what any of that content means, is to key it into Google? [Read more…]

Writing accidents: whatever happened to Spoonerisms?

Do you ever jumble up your words and come up with an entertaining alternative? Pity then, for poor old Reverend Spooner, whose jumbling up of words and phrases had his students at New College, Oxford rolling in the aisles laughing in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

article about Spoonerisms

Great minds like a think (Great minds think alike)

To quote Wikikpedia:
Spoonerisms are named after the Reverend William Archibald Spooner (1844–1930), Warden of New College, Oxford, who was notoriously prone to this mistake.[3][4] The term “Spoonerism” was well established by 1921.

Approximate Spoonerisms I’ve written for some of our favourite personalities:

Jealous Boxin’ (Boris Johnson)

Trumbald Dump (Donald Trump)

Mawistful Tray (Theresa May) [Read more…]

Some alternative conversation starters for networking events

Recently I tripped over an article I had saved a few years ago about conversation starters to help break the ice at business networking events. Given that a while has passed since the article was published I thought I would use its thoughts as a basis for a, er, new article on how to create a little fun with business networking conversation starters today.

comedy article about business networking

“Hello. Is this your first time at this event?”

With many thanks and commiserations to the original author of this article: I would love to have credited you properly but as my admin systems are a mess, voilà. Sorry. Message me and I will make amends. Promise.

My evil thoughts about the following:

1) “Well, while we’re here, I might as well introduce myself.” Give them a dark look, then say “I was just on my way to the toilet. Shall we go and introduce ourselves there?” [Read more…]

Has Elvis left the building, in a book?

If you ever have had a book proposal turned down by publishers (and haven’t we all?) you’ll identify with excerpts from this online conversation online I had recently with an author whose feelings of dreadful frustration stormed out of every one of his words: see below…

article about Elvis Presley

You have something new and interesting to say about Elvis (or another celebrity, cause or concern) in a book. Here are some thoughts on how to get that book out there and selling even if you’re not a well-known author or personality.

ELVIS FANS – I wrote an interesting book about Elvis – publishers think there isn’t a platform for ELVIS???

Looking for a publisher – here’s one critique:

“Thanks for thinking of me for this. I’ve read and talked this over with some colleagues who also handle music books. While (name of author) has a really interesting perspective, we feel pretty strongly that the market for Elvis books is so crowded that a new one would need to come from someone with a bigger platform or access than (name of author) has here. Best of luck placing this great project!”

NO ONE HAS THIS PERSPECTIVE!!!  It’s a good book! Publishing business is CRAZY!!!!  Still millions of fans worldwide. [Read more…]

How to write insults without swearing

UPDATED JULY 20, 2019. Further to our recent article about whether women should write swearwords or not, here is an updated and expanded version of some glorious, clean (well, cleanish) insults sent to me a couple of years ago by my cousin Alyson in Ottawa, Canada.

funny article about insults

William Shakespeare, King Lear

William Shakespeare was a master of insults, as you can see from above. That full quote, said by Lear to his daughter Goneril (why does her name always make me think of a sexually transmitted disease?) goes as follows:

“Thou art a boil, A plague-sore or embossèd carbuncle, In my corrupted blood.” Gee thanks, Dad. More of Willie’s best insults below. Meanwhile…

There was the exchange between Winston Churchill & Lady Astor:

She said, “If you were my husband I’d give you poison.”  He said, “If you were my wife, I’d drink it.” [Read more…]

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