Clamor Magazine is now available online (and a request)

October 28, 2013 at 3:02 pm (Announcements, Projects) (, , , , , )

clamor38_150Clamor Magazine was a huge and significant part of my life. Not only did a spend seven years working on it, but it shaped my life, friendships, and politics more than I could have imagined.

I’ve been working for the last year to make the content of the magazine available digitally, and I kind of can’t believe that I am able to say CLAMOR IS NOW ONLINE.

Jason and I are also doing a fundraising campaign to make the archive more accessible. I hope you will consider contributing or spreading the word. Here’s a link to the campaign:

Working on this project has been so nostalgic for me, but also just really exciting. As part of the fundraising campaign I’ve been going through each issue and posting some of my favorite pieces on Facebook and Twitter. It’s been like an excavation – the features I totally forgot, along side the things I could never forget. I am pleased and proud about the work we were able to do then, and wish there were a similar vehicle now.

These pieces are available if you go directly to the Internet Archive, but right now we aren’t able to locate them through searching Google or other engines, which is the purpose of the project we’re doing now.

More info on the project (including a link directly to the online archive and to a list of the 800+ contributors) is below.

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The Clamor Magazine archive is now available digitally—Can you help us make it more accessible?

Clamor co-founder Jason Kucsma and I are working on making all of the print content available and searchable through a new web portal. We’ve already digitized the print magazines, and though everything is online now, we still have some work to do to make it an accessible collection for readers, researchers, and enthusiasts.  Can’t wait for the new portal? You can view the magazine collection on the Internet Archive here.

We need your help to see this project through. We hope that you will consider making a small donation to make this possible. Read on for for more about why we’re digitizing the magazine, and why we need your help.
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Why I Said No To Groupon

March 19, 2012 at 3:26 pm (Announcements, Projects) (, , , , , , )

ImageA few weeks ago, a representative from Groupon called me about offering a coupon through their site for Angel Cakes.

We talked for a while and she explained it all to me. I recognize that she is essentially a salesperson and her job is to make it sound like a good deal. She succeeded. You can read all about it on Groupon’s site for selling their service to businesses, Groupon Works.

Despite the sales pitch, I was skeptical. I started talking to a bunch of people about their experiences and thoughts about it and eventually decided not to do it.

Why I said No

Let me be a bit conceptual here for a moment.

Like most small business owners, I consider what I do a craft. Each cupcake order I make is custom made in a small batch, usually by me with the occasional help of an assistant. What I charge for my work is that (sometime elusive) sweet spot between what it actually costs me to produce the order and what people think it’s OK to pay for cupcakes (aka “what the market will bear”). There’s not really a lot of wiggle room there.

Capitalism is really good at instilling in us the desire to pay as little for things as possible, despite what the things cost to produce. This doesn’t make sense. When we look at the “slow food” and artisan food movements, where things like organic vegetables and fancy cheese and nice bread cost a lot, the producers say it’s because that’s what it actually costs to make the food. While I’m sure we can all think of fancy food and artisan things that are over-priced, for the most part, while we live in a system where we pay for food (which is kind of absurd, but that’s another story), I think that charging what it actually costs to make something is right.

Offering a coupon (Groupon says it needs to be at least 50% off) encourages that kind of behavior – of thinking not of what something is worth, but a more self-focused “what kind of deal can I get this for” attitude that I don’t want to encourage. At all. It’s not the way to value things that are produced ethically, by people who care about what they are making and their customers.

Not offering a coupon feels like I’m saying “this is what my product is worth.” Good. Let’s go with that.

Isn’t it worth it for the marketing / getting my name out there?

As someone who works on publicity and marketing, I think about how to get the word out about projects all the time. Unlike other people, I think spending money on marketing and promo efforts is important and can be effective when done right.

When people say “I lost a lot of money using Groupon,” Part of me thinks of that dollar figure not as lost money but as the cost of a marketing effort. Then the discussion is, is that dollar amount something I am willing to pay as an investment in marketing? and did I gain customers as a result? For most people, the answer is no.

For example, when I look at my Groupon/coupon buying behavior and that of my friends, which I can guess is not that different from most of the Groupon-buying public, I pretty much only buy coupons for places I already go or have no intention of going to again after I’ve spent the coupon.

Most people who buy online coupons are coupon shoppers. If they want more cupcakes, they’re not going to buy from me, they’re going to wait for the coupon for the next cupcake place (because we all know that cupcake places are everywhere right now).

Now that I’ve had the opportunity to think about this in an in-depth way, I’m not doing that any more. It basically financially penalizes the small businesses and restaurants that I am patronizing and want to support. They’re not gaining me as a customer since I already go there (or don’t intend to go again), they’re just losing money on the transaction. If I don’t want people to do that to me, why am I going to do that to others?

One of the caveats I can imagine is that if I were offering, say, a yoga class where my costs stayed the same even if the number of participants increased, then it might make sense. But, obviously, cupcakes are different than yoga. And if I offered a class, I would probably just offer an introductory package (like half off your first month or something), bypass Groupon, and spend my time and money on social media.

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Aiding & Abetting

February 15, 2010 at 12:57 pm (Announcements, Projects) (, , , , , , )

Well, it’s finally time for me to make an update on all the things I have been doing in the last few weeks.

Although I often joke and say that I have 10 jobs, really my main job is to help awesome authors & filmmakers promote their work through events and other outreach. I work with a few other really cool folks, and we have a group called Aid & Abet. I know, this is not news. I’m just trying to get everyone on the same page here.

Well, I am absolutely thrilled to announce that today we relaunched the Aid & Abet website – it’s at and I absolutely love it. The designer is Derek Hogue and I will highly recommend him to anyone who wants a new site or a redesign. Not only does it look great, but the user interface is amazing and easy to use.

Second, along with the new site, today we are announcing the release of a new booklet – Get Noticed! How to Publicize Your Book or Film – designed for all of our friends (including many of you) who have your own projects and don’t want to or can’t afford to hire a PR firm to do publicity for you. There is tons of info in it and it’ll be helpful for anyone who has a book, project, or film to promote. It’s available as a PDF download or as a printed booklet, and you can find out more about it at:

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My Publicity Workshop

September 10, 2009 at 5:31 pm (Projects) (, , , , , , )

So, I think most of you know that one of my main jobs is as a publicist working with my friends Matt and Justine through our agency, Aid & Abet. Here’s a video of a Publicity on a Shoestring workshop Justine I did in March 2009 at the Women, Action and the Media conference. Here’s the link to part 2 of the video.

Right now we’re also in the process of writing a manual so yes, you too can publicize your own book or project if you can’t afford to hire us to do it for you.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “DIY Publicity Workshop“, posted with vodpod

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