When I picked up my phone this morning, I discovered something really annoying.
Text messages. These weren’t text messages from family or friends. These were from politicians or campaign staffs. I had 20 of them!
Didn’t we just have an election? Why did my infrequent random texts from politicians turn into a stampede? 2024 isn’t that close. Do our politicians do anything besides raise money?
I’ll admit if there’s someone I support, I’ll donate a little money. But I mean “a little.” Then my info gets sold to other campaigns. Sold and sold, over and over. I guess it’s another way for campaigns to raise money.
Then I find more than 20 text messages on my phone from people I don’t support and would never support.
I can’t imagine what it will be like a year from now!
Any suggestions on how to get off these campaign text lists?
When I went to lunch last week with a ladies group I recently joined, I sat at table with three of my neighbors. One is a board member for the group and the other two are my friends and new members also.
This group is fundraising for The Phoenix Dream Center, which is a facility to rescue and help victims of human trafficking. I wrote about that HERE.
The board member/neighbor at our table said “You’re the one with a background in PR.”
I thought to myself, “Did I really need to share that on my membership application?”
She slipped a spreadsheet and a press release across the table to me. “Can you help me get out our press release?” It was for an upcoming fundraiser.
“Sure,” I said.
“I just need you to fill in the blanks on the spreadsheet. I haven’t been able to find the contact information for some publications.”
The next morning I googled the publications with missing contact info. I was able to find some of them and I either filled out online forms or sent emails to them with the press release.
Within 30 minutes I got a response from a magazine publisher who has high end magazines for high end neighborhoods.
“I’m sold. I love The Dream Center. Can you take a call in two hours?” his email said.
I quickly texted the board member/neighbor to ask if she’d take the call. I’ve been to two meetings in two months and don’t know much about this group — like how long it’s been around, how many members there are, if they have a budget to buy ads, etc.
“I’ll be at the dentist,” she texted.
“Okay. I can do it,” I replied.
Later I got a phone call from the president of the group who said she’d take the call. Whew!
Fast forward and the president called me back to say they had an excellent call and then had a meeting the next day. They are getting free advertising from now on each month! They are getting a VIP listing and perhaps a feature article.
I’m so thrilled I helped open the door. I’m also relieved I didn’t have to take the initial phone call. I was smiling the rest of the day.
After taking time off from submitting stories, I finally did it. I dusted off the story I wrote about my mom and submitted to two publishers who accept unsolicited manuscripts. Two so far.
It made me really happy to do that. The process has changed through the years. I used to mail my printed manuscript with a query letter and an SASE (Self Addressed Stamped Envelope.) Then I’d anxiously await for the publisher or agent to reply by snail mail. If I was lucky, I’d get a letter that was encouraging. Or, in the case of a novel, I’d send in the first three chapters and the editor would ask for more. I even got a few acceptance letters from magazines and newspapers.
The funniest thing was I did get an offer to publish my “mom” story. At the time, I didn’t think the offer was good enough. It was from a small publisher who said they’d do an initial run of 500 or 1,000 and see how it did before another print run. How I wish I would have said yes! That’s why I’m excited to try again, all these years later.
On the down side of submitting manuscripts, I’d get a form letter or postcard in my SASE with a generic phrase, “We’re sorry but your manuscript doesn’t fit our needs.”
Now, we submit by email or through a form on the publisher’s website. They have submission guidelines and say if you don’t hear back in so many months, they aren’t interested. You’re not guaranteed to get a response.
Doing more research on publishers, I renewed my membership in the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). I downloaded the market survey for small presses and discovered quite a few still use the old snail mail method with SASEs. I bet that cuts down on the number of submissions!
I received an email from one of the two publishers so far and it stated they are interested in my story and will give it careful consideration. I guess I passed the first hurdle. But, the email ended with “if you don’t hear back from us within two months, then we are passing on your manuscript.”
Eh, wait and see. In the meantime, I’m pleased to be back in the game.
What are your thoughts about submitting your writing?
I had an issue with my emails and wrote about it HERE last week. I was afraid I was hacked. Or in the very least someone was playing fast and loose with my email address. I set up a new email account and so far everything is going peachy.
But then I heard from someone today that their bank account got hacked. Listen to this: someone got into their bank account online and changed the user name and password so they couldn’t access their account! Then the hacker transferred money out using Zelle. This friend didn’t even use Zelle. But. if a person can get your username and password by hacking into your computer, they can turn on Zelle.
I found a few articles about the scam. Here’s a quote from one:
Stealing money using Zelle is apparently as easy as adding a phone number to a consumer’s checking account, and then telling the bank to “Zelle” money to a hacker-controlled account — at least in some cases.
When following up my story earlier this week about consumers who don’t even use Zelle get hit by Zelle fraud, a bank official told me that’s how it’s done. Criminals — potentially using stolen online banking credentials or credential stuffing attacks — add a cell phone they control to the user’s profile, then send money to the hacker’s account.
After the hacker’s mobile number is added to the bank account, the banks’ confirmation code to verify the transaction is misdirected to that fraudulent number, and the hacker confirms the transaction. So once the account is compromised, a fraudster is able to transfer money out of the account.
Today my inbox is flooded with subscription confirmations like the one above.Which makes me wonder if my email has been hacked? I’m literally getting thousands of emails in all languages from random companies asking me to confirm my subscription request.
What is up with that?
Of course I can only read the ones in English. They are addressed to all sorts of different people, none of them me, but they state the subscription request came from my email address.
It makes me nervous that I have been hacked, have a virus or someone is out peddling my email address.
Has anything like this happened to you? How did you stop it? Should I create a new email address?
I thought with my new laptop I’d be through with computer issues. But an issue came up with the latest issue of the newsletter that I volunteer to do for our homeowner’s association.
If you didn’t read about my computer issues, I was losing files and realized that the “automatic backup” wasn’t backing up. You can read about that HERE.
My new laptop doesn’t have the fonts for the newsletter. I get missing font messages and the type reverts to Helvetica or Geneva which doesn’t look great. So, I asked my son — who created the layout and template for me — to help fix it. He told me to email him the newsletter and he’d convert it to a pdf on his laptop. (He has the fonts.)
After my son made the newsletter look pretty, I sent it off to my newsletter co-editor for proof reading — plus the board of directors for their input.
In the end I received 10 small corrections and tweaks last night. Instead of sending the newsletter to my son to make the corrections, I thought I’d try turning on the old laptop — which has the missing fonts. I thought I’d be able to update the newsletter all on my own. What I discovered is those fonts on my old laptop are missing. too!
So, even with a brand new laptop that’s working great, I still have issues to fix.
With different fonts, spacing is different which changes every page’s layout.
What a mess.
On our beach vacation, our kids are joining us and my son has promised to install the fonts and we won’t have to be emailing the newsletter back and forth in the future.
Do you work on any layouts besides your blogs? Do you enjoy it or find it tedious? What computer problems or glitches have you dealt with?
I have been avoiding a difficult conversation for months now. It’s been eating at me. I’ve prayed to find the right words. I received an email yesterday that I needed to answer — and I realized I was being handed the perfect opportunity. I decided on the outset of the day to call right away and get it over with. But first I took my morning walk.
I think by procrastinating, literally for months, I was building the call into something it wasn’t. I was making a bigger deal out of the call than it was. I knew I’d be anxious all day, so I chose to make the call in the morning.
By putting off the inevitable, I was stressing myself out and generating needless anxiety.
Yes, I did it. I feel like a huge weight is off my shoulders. The person I talked with is very reasonable and understanding. That helps.
I remember working as a financial advisor, I hated some calls more than others. I could easily put some calls off on the back burner — until they absolutely had to be made.
I have a sign sitting on my desk that says “Live now. Procrastinate later.” I should look at the sign a little more often.
What do you do when faced with a conversation you don’t want to have? Do you tackle it right away? Or avoid it at all costs? Do you do the same thing with chores or things you don’t want to do like taxes? Or do you face the monster and end the nightmare?