Tag Archives: advertising

Will People Still Read Poetry In 100 Years Time?

“Will people still read poetry in 100 years time?”, my friend Toby said as we sat in a pub in central London. “Yes” I replied.

We live in a world obsessed with material things. Whether one is watching a production of “Wuthering Heights” on commercial television or a trashy talent show, the advertisements are sure to interrupt one’s viewing with tedious regularity. Beautiful women imply that if men purchase certain products they will obtain the girl of their dreams, while other comercials exhort us to buy the latest gadgets (even though those we own are hardly out of their packaging and work perfectly well). Given this world of plastic smiles, where the sun always shines, its tempting to think that poetry is irrelevant as we find ourselves through endless consumption of products.

The idea that we are drowning in a sea of vapid consumerism is far from new. Take, for example William Wordsworth’s 19th-century poem “The World Is Too Much With us”:

“The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn”.
(https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45564/the-world-is-too-much-with-us).

Wordsworth is right when he says “getting and spending, we lay waste our powers”. Indeed in this age of the internet and 24-hour television his poem is, perhaps even more relevant than when he penned it. However, modernity which as brought us TV shows where the foolish and the inadequate make fools of themselves for the enjoyment of the viewers, has also ushered in a plethora of high quality classic serials (and full length dramatisations) in which the great works of literature fill our screens. Technology now exists which allows the recording of programmes while disregarding the commercial break. Tech is, indeed a double-edged sword!

The internet is full of vapid celebrities living “perfect” lives. It is, however also replete with websites and blogs which furnish everything from William Wordsworth to William Shakespeare. The web also allows poets who might otherwise have languished unread to gain a following (and perhaps fame) in the digital age.

So in answer to my friend Toby, I conclude by saying that the glass is neither full nor empty. It is somewhere between those two states. Advertising may drive us bonkers (this is certainly true with me), however one can find solace in poetry which proliferates both in print and online.

As always I would be interested in the perspectives of my readers.

Kevin

Watching TV

Surfing TV
I see
She
Selling products that neither you nor I
Have ever thought to buy.

Flicking channels I see
Another vapid she
Pretty as the picture on a new TV.

I can not decide
Whether to turn over to the other side
Where boys say “mom” in identikit
American voices.

So many “choices”
To sit
And see
On my TV …

No Big brother watching me
Through my TV
Just advertisers selling me things that I
Have no need to buy.

Should I look
At a book
Instead?
Or go to bed
And dream of Hollywood where all are free
To watch the same crap TV?

Commercial Break

If we stripped away the advertising hoardings
And quelled the glitzy TV commercials,
Those recordings
Of sexy girls telling you and I
What we ought to buy,
Would we cease going around in ever decreasing circles
And gaze awestruck at the great sky?

Perhaps it would be as above
And love
Of higher things would reign,
But then again
There is the stain
Which caused God to expel
Lucifer to hell

So You Want To Be A Writer? – A Guest Post by Lucinda E. Clarke

Many thanks to Lucinda E. Clarke for the below guest post.

You can visit Lucinda’s website HERE.

SO YOU WANT TO BE A WRITER?

Asked that question when I was five and my answer was ‘Yes’ – asked again at school leaving and the answer was still ‘Yes.’ But you know how it is, life gets in the way and I took the ‘family approved’ route and became a teacher. Five countries and almost two decades later, I fell into writing almost by accident and was commissioned by the South African Broadcasting Corporation to write for radio. This led to scripting for television, then major corporate companies, government departments, and all points in between. From 1985 until 2008 I earned my living by writing, producing and directing videos and broadcast programmes.

I was a writer for hire. On Monday I would be scribbling for an international food company extolling the great nutritional value of their potato crisps and on Friday writing for the Heart Foundation persuading people never, ever to eat potatoes because they were so bad for your health.

In my time I wrote mayoral speeches, brochures, leaflets, adverts for radio, TV and print. I had a newspaper column, wrote articles for magazines and had a couple of educational books traditionally published.

What advice would I give to anyone thinking of writing for a living?

Firstly, unless you write the next major hit, and have the amazing one in several million chance of getting it traditionally published and turned into a Hollywood drop dead blockbuster, it’s unlikely you will be able to sustain a family and a mortgage by self publishing your books. It may happen, but don’t hold your breath, however good your book is. So, if your major love is writing, think outside the box and write for money. Annual company reports are not thrilling, but they will put food on the table. At the same time, you are honing your skills and learning the nuts and bolts of the trade.

Secondly, when you finally find the courage to publish your baby, and by then it will be more precious than any other member of the family, you may expect to sit back and wait for the accolades to roll in right? Wrong!

To paraphrase some famous writer – ‘If you put your head above the parapet, you must expect to be shot down.’

You have written the most brilliant masterpiece that Shakespeare would envy, but not everyone will like it, enjoy it or understand it. You will get criticism, warranted or otherwise. The first time this happens it’s devastating, the second, it hurts a little less, the third time you begin to shrug it off and giggle at the bad spelling and grammar your less than thrilled reviewer has posted for all the world to see. Grab a glass of wine or a huge mug of coffee and read the one star comments on books you’ve loved, it’s the best remedy I know.

Now, I thought after supporting two children, a husband and a St Bernard among other furry household members by writing for almost thirty years, that I could, in fact, write. Wrong again.

When I retired, I couldn’t stop writing, it gets in your blood, it’s a disease. So I tried my hand at writing books and it was like starting all over again at the bottom, and even after seven books I’m still learning.

If you want to find out how I ‘fell’ into writing and how my career morphed from the classroom to the television studios you can check out my books:

Truth, Lies and Propaganda http://goo.gl/Ws7b4w
and

More truth, Lies and Propaganda http://goo.gl/z9iLFa

These links take you to Amazon but both books are available on all channels as eBooks and in paperback.

If you are a born writer, then you won’t be able to stop writing, so don’t fight it.

Go and write the next bestseller!

We are all creative, are we not?

We are all, in our own way creative are we not?
The above thought came to me a week or so ago as I discussed advertising with a gentleman working in that industry. He is (or was when we fell into conversation) working on an advertisement for an animated pizza.
I have always had an ambivalent attitude towards advertising. On the one hand the industry does, in my opinion attempt to convince potential purchasers of similar (sometimes identical products) that the item produced by one manufacturer is better than another manufactured by a rival producer. In my experience Fairy, Bold or any other branded soap powder is equally effective at washing clothes and all the advertising to convince the potential purchaser of this product otherwise is so much froth and bubbles (forgive the weak pun)!
Advertising can perform a useful function in that it brings to the attention of potential consumers products of which they might otherwise have been unaware. Having acknowledged this benefit, I would add that this function is, in the days of the internet less useful than was previously the case. In the days of the World Wide Web one can, with the click of a mouse discover many things of which one was previously unaware (I must confess that on occasions I wish I had remained in blissful ignorance)! Be that as it may, advertising can, at its best act as a source of information to potential buyers of a multiplicity of products.
Despite my reservations regarding advertising, there is, in my mind no doubt that it is a creative industry. Certain ads stick in my head due to the fact that they are particularly amusing or contain a clip of beautiful music. They may not cause me to purchase the product being advertised. They do, however impress me as a piece of creative media and, on occasion artistic creativity. Being blind I can not see visual representations. Where I to possess sight I would, I feel sure be impressed by the utilisation by advertisers of the visual media in highly creative ways, including animated pizzas!
My creative outlet is via poetry. I burn to release a poem which is running around in my head trying to find a way out onto the virtual pages of this blog and, on occasions onto real paper via my books. Others use their hands to create. I have on one of my tables a beautiful carved turtle which I bought when visiting Sri Lanka in 2001. The turtle is highly tactile and the craftsman producing it obviously put a piece of himself into doing so. To give of oneself in the production of art whether literary or through the making of beautiful objects is the mark of a craftsman or artist. I have no idea whether the gentleman who produced the turtle which now lives in my living room was a lover of literature or painting. I have no doubt however that he is a true creator of beauty.
In conclusion, we are all creative and even if this creativity does not find an outlet, we do none the less possess the latent capacity to be creative whether via dancing pizzas, poetry or carved wooden turtles.

Kevin

The Path Through The Woods

The path taken less often than I should,

This tranquil place through a nearby wood.

A spot with trees for walls

Where sunlight through the branches falls.

An oasis from the urban din

I find a quiet place within.

An inner space where the heart can be still,

A peaceful spot on this wooded hill.

 

 

The path to the road ascends.

A cloud of gloom on me descends.

I must return to this rented land

Where advertising hordings stand.

A world where empty vessels make most noise,

And people play with broken toys.

To Advertise Or Not, That Is The Question

As with most authors I am always on the look out for opportunities to gain more exposure for my books. I was interested therefore to read this article (https://chrismcmullen.wordpress.com/2015/01/29/advertise-your-book-on-amazon-new-opportunity/) which highlights Amazon’s new programme allowing authors to advertise their books at a cost of $100.

On the one hand I am tempted to take advantage of this new opportunity. The potential benefits are obvious (increased exposure and, hopefully) sales of my books. If only a small percentage of authors take Amazon up on their new offering then they will, potentially have an advantage in terms of exposure for their works over those who do not.

On the other hand if significant numbers of authors avail themselves of Amazon’s new programme the potential book buyer will, I suspect be bombarded with advertisements so my books may become lost in a sea of virtual noise. It is hard enough to find one needle in a hay stack and if that mound of dry grass is chock full of sharp implements what are the chances of readers picking out my needle when there are so many other instruments from which to choose? I believe in my writing, however one good author among many other writers (many of whom are producing quality works), why, exactly should the book browser click on my ad in preference over that of another advertiser?

Prior to parting with one’s hard earned cash it is useful to pause and consider the many free alternatives to paid advertising. KDP Select (https://kdp.amazon.com/select) allows authors to promote their books free of charge for upto 5 days in any 90 day period or, alternatively to offer them in a Kindle Countdown Deal. Most of my books are enrolled in KDP Select and in my experience the programme does increase the exposure of an author’s work for, human nature being what it is most people jump at the opportunity of obtaining “something for nothing”. Many who download books advertised via KDP Select will not leave a review, however some will and good reviews possess the potential to increase the exposure of one’s books thereby (hopefully) enhancing sales.

The downside to KDP Select is that in return for enrolment the author must keep those works enrolled exclusive to Amazon for 90 days, (I.E. the books concerned may not be sold anywhere other than Amazon during that time frame). Another disadvantage is that while newly enrolled works will be downloaded (in my experience) relatively rapidly, once a book has been in the programme for some time it will, when on promotion receive fewer downloads than freshly enrolled titles, so the longer a publication is offered via the scheme the fewer downloads it is likely to receive.

Another way to gain free publicity for one’s books is by contacting fellow bloggers who advertise as offering guest posting opportunities and requesting that they provide you with a guest slot. (If a blogger is kind enough to let you guest post it is only polite to offer them the same opportunity on your own site). You can find a useful list of book bloggers here (http://bookbloggerlist.com/). The Story Reading Ape’s Blog also offers a wealth of useful material for authors and readers alike and can be found here, (http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/).

In conclusion I won’t be signing up for Amazon’s advertising opportunity at present. I will, however watch with interest how it develops and, in particular what those who use it have to say. At this juncture my view remains that free opportunities abound so why spend money on advertising when it could be spent on book covers, editing etc.

Breakup

Jayne felt safe wrapped in Luke’s strong arms. He kissed her tenderly on the lips. His breath smelled of rotten eggs,

“You need new Scents Of The Forest Breath Freshener, clinically proven to banish bad breath in an instant”, Jayne said pulling back in disgust.

Luke looked pained, “Why do you always sound like an advertising hoarding?” he asked his voice sharp with irritation.

“My super dupa Vision Max contact lenses, 2 for the price of 1, send cool messages about a range of inovative and exciting products to my brain and I just can’t help sharing them with the man I love”. Jayne replied.

Luke sniffed the air approvingly, “I love that perfume” he said.

“Perfume for you, why not buy two. I like it too” Jayne said in a sing song voice.

“Jayne I am becoming increasingly concerned about where this relationship is going. My girlfriend sounds more and more like a bad advertising executive who produces slogans which, over time become ever more dire” Luke said a look of sadness clouding his ruggedly handsome features.

“Its never to late, lets go to Relate, the relationship experts for every occasion. They are doing a special introductory offer at the moment, 25 per cent off if we sign up by Monday” Jayne said pointing to an advert which had just popped up on her new top of the range smartphone.

“I’m sorry darling I am afraid that it is to late for Relate” Luke replied fighting back tears.

“But its never too late for Relate. Just kille the hate, only relate” Jayne responded reading the ad which her top of the range contact lenses (did I mention they where 2 for the price of one?) had just beamed onto her retina.

“When we moved in together you where a vivacious, intelligent woman, now you are a mouthpiece for the advertising industry. It’s over Jayne” Luke said his eyes brimming with water.

“Oh the pain. I will go insane. I need Lane, those newly advertised tablets to kill the pain” said Jayne.

Thank You Dear Spammer

On visiting my Dashboard I was intrigued to observe that there are 4,106 comments in my spam queue. Does this mean that I have arrived as a blogger? I mean surely one could argue that the more spam one receives the greater the interest your blog is attracting. Then again perhaps not! To all those lovely spammers a big thank you for choosing my blog. My heart fills with joy whenever I see advertisements, in my spam folder for fake branded products. I no longer need to visit Marks and Spencers or any other store as, with one click of a mouse I am able to access a plethora of dodgy products which would make Delboy from Only Fools and Horses green with envy. Thank you dear spammers, it is good to know that instead of earning an honest living you choose rather to enliven my dull world with all those items I never knew I needed. Thank you!