At the desk, 9:01 a.m.
Earlier this month, I wrote about Thomas Friedman's column on sponsorship. At the time, I focused on the lack of conversation in our modern world. Given that technology is ubiquitous, it's easier to read, text, play games than actually listen to the person sitting across from you. And, let's be honest, the devices might have changed, but the lack of conversation is something that's been going on for a while.
Anyway, in Friedman's column he reflects on his horror that sponsorship has invaded art, theater, movies, and books. He quotes Michael Sandel’s book, What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets : "...in 2001, the British novelist Fay Weldon wrote a book commissioned by the jewelry company Bulgari and that, in exchange for payment, 'the author agreed to mention Bulgari jewelry in the novel at least a dozen times.'" Friedman didn't talk about the blogs who require payment for guest posts, bloggers who wax on about products they don't use (ex vegetarians who love meat on their blogs), and other sketchy blog practices. Shady sponsorship practices are all a part of the landscape.
Today, I'd like to be crystal clear about my work, specifically, the Alex the Fey thrillers, the Denver Cereal, the Queen of Cool, and whatever comes next.
No one has paid me to endorse their products.
I don't include Ray Ban (Alex the Fey) or Leatherman (Alex the Fey) or Pete's Kitchen (Denver Cereal) or McCreedy's boots (the Queen of Cool) in the stories because they've given me anything. Not a cupcake, a discount, a pancake, a muffin, a knife, a pair of sunglasses, free plane tickets or money - Nada. Nothing.
These brands are included in the stories because they belong in the stories. People in Special Operations and Special Forces wear dark sunglasses. I happen to have a Leatherman mini-tool (more on that later). I spent a couple of drunken hours with my friend Drue waxing on about the benefits of Snickers bars when he was back country in Guatemala "advising." Everyone in Fort Worth either a) wants a pair of McCreedy's hand sewn boots or b) has a pair of boots. And come on, you can't come to Denver and not go to Pete's Kitchen.
Sure, I have visions of receiving cases of Snickers bars or maybe a free cupcake from the cupcake place we mention in Denver Cereal or hell a great discount to the lingerie place we send people to. These visions have never come true.
Honestly, that's all right with me.
I don't want to be burdened with the weight of someone telling me I can't change brands or do something different. I want to go where the story leads. I want to tell the story as it is, not as someone wants me to tell it.
I prefer to be sponsored by my readers.
That's why, as of yet, there aren't any advertisements on the websites. (I have a lot of chatter in my ears right now about adding advertisements to the sites). I know that ads slow the page load time and make it more difficult to read. Our sites are designed to load fast and be super readable. We check them every quarter to make absolutely certain that's true.
And trust me. If I get a case of Snickers, I'll fill the bathtub with them and take a photo. Free cupcake? I'll pick my favorite and take a photo. Diamonds? Hell, don't you think the author should have taken a few diamonds rather than money. As Chris Rock says, Bling, Bling. Anyway, I digress.
If somehow, some way, I get a free (fill in the blank) you'll know about it. You'll see the photo on Facebook or here or the blogs or in the books. More than likely, I'll set up a contest and we'll share the wealth.
If I get a wad of cash for something, you'll know about it. Why? Because I can't seem to ever keep my mouth shut. Seriously. If super duper corporation says, "Here Claudia, have a bazillion dollars. Thank you for your support." I'll be buying beehives, taking videos of what we're doing, planting more gardens, donating to great causes in big ways. You'll know about it.
There's no secrets here. Nothing hidden. My integrity is worth more to me than any thing, object, and even money.
I tell great stories about good people caught in difficult times.
That's what's happening here.