The last few days have been very encouraging from a professional development perspective.  Not only have I made some new contacts, but I’ve got a nice advertisement up, and I’ve also got leads on some new projects. So, the good news, in no particular order:

  • My first editing client from a few weeks back has informed me that she’ll send me some new articles to edit by the end of the week. Project rates are yet to be ironed out.
  • I am now a member of the Writer’s Circle of Durham Region, and I attended their monthly breakfast meeting yesterday. My thanks for the extremely warm welcome to go Rich Helms, Karen Cole, Susan Reynolds, Thomas Moss, Victor Demko, and many more.
  • I’ve just started to talk to a local real estate agent about redesigning his community news website. Right now I’m in the process of reviewing the site to figure out how it could be streamlined and made more user-friendly.
  • My editing services are now being advertised on WCDR’s member services page.
  • The deadline for the EAC’s Claudette Upton Scholarship has been extended, so I now have plenty of time to prepare my application and get a recommendation letter.
  • I’ve been offered a chance to write a short article for the next issue of one of the EAC’s newsletters

Other than all of this, something happened to me that has given me a lot of food for thought. At yesterday’s Writer’s Circle breakfast meeting, I bought a copy of The Best Laid Plans available for sale. Now, this is a book that is available for free as a podcast, and my friends and family know that I love, love, love hearing podcast fiction – so why would I buy something that I could get for free?

Well, there are multiple reasons. One, I just never got around to downloading it, even though its success proves the viability of podcast fiction. Two, the book was right there, just waiting to be purchased, and at a reasonable price to boot. Three – and this is the biggie – it was a signed copy. The book would have been a steal without it, and the signature made it an even better value.

So, I guess there’s a lesson here for you publishing wonks: signatures are a value-added feature that you just can’t provide outside of book form.  People like the idea of owning things that have been handled by someone famous, and a signature provides a nice tactile way of proving contact. If any eReader manufacturer ever get the idea of adding digital signatures to eBooks, I guarantee it’ll go down like a lead balloon – the intimacy of physical contact, of the author writing something specifically for you is not there.