A Canadian book blog: Publishing, marketing, books and technology from a Canadian perspective


Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Happy Birthday Robert John Sherrett

Bob Sherrett was born today in 1923. He died July 1, 2012 and I miss him dearly.


Bob joined the Royal Canadian Air Force on his 18th birthday, graduated as a Sergeant Air Gunner and proceeded overseas in early 1942. He was stationed in Linconshire with 57 Squadron, 15 Bomber Group, flying in the rear turret of Manchester and Lancaster aircraft. Bob returned to Canada in 1943 and, while stationed in Toronto, met the girl he would marry after the war, Joan Wetton. In April 1944 Bob volunteered for a second tour of duty. He flew back to England where he served in an all-Canadian crew, as Gunnery Leader on 431 Canadian Squadron, 6 Bomber Group, with the rank of Flight Lieutenant. Bob survived being shot down in the English Channel in November, 1942, and again, a year later, he was the only member of his air crew to survive after their aircraft was badly damaged on the Peenemünde Raid. Bob was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, bar to the Operational Wings, and was mentioned in Dispatches.

I recently discovered this BBC Radio 4 program that tells the story of Wynford Vaughan-Thomas’ report recorded aboard a Lancaster Bomber during a raid on Berlin.

Here’s the set up:

In 1943 the RAF contacted the BBC with a dramatic offer: they were willing to send a two-man radio crew on a bombing raid over Berlin. The BBC chose Wynford Vaughan-Thomas for the mission. He accepted, knowing he might never return.

So on the night of 3rd September 1943, Vaughan-Thomas recorded for the BBC live from a Lancaster Bomber during a bombing raid over Berlin.

Those hours aboard the plane clearly remained a defining time in his life. Forty years later, he called it “the most terrifying eight hours of my life. Berlin burning was like watching somebody throwing jewellery on black velvet - winking rubies, sparkling diamonds all coming up at you.”

Here’s the link again, it’s about 1 hour:

I’m sorry there was ever a reason for Bob (or anyone else) to be bombing people, and I’m glad he returned from that experience. My life is richer having heard his stories. Happy Birthday Bob.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Association of Canadian Publishers and the Book Publishers Association of Alberta

A Huge Thank You
Many thanks to everyone who attended my sessions on Online Marketing last week in Toronto and Banff.

Thank you also to Jack Illingworth at the Canadian Publishers Association and Katherine Shute at the Book Publishers Association of Alberta for organizing the sessions.


Hire Monique
If you are interested in online marketing services, please feel free to get in touch with me. See the Work Industries contact page.

If you are interested in having me come into your company to talk about online marketing, Jack tells me there is money available in the mentor program for members of the ACP.

Here’s a list of further services that I offer through Work Industries. You can see details on the Work Industries services page.

Subscribe to the Underwire Newsletter
And if you are curious about my Underwire Newsletter: Full Support for Non-Techies, you can subscribe here.

Out of the Office Travel Notes
Just a reminder that James and I will be out of the country from October 1 to 21 and will have sporadic email access. But we’re back full time November 1.

Testimonials and referrals are greatly appreciated. If you have a testimonial that I may share on my websites or with potential clients, please contact me.

Many thanks again.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Podcasting in a Non-Geek Way

Want to podcast but don’t want to figure out all the back-end and techie stuff?

Partner up with Mack at Podcastspot.com.

Watch the video: Mack is interviewed on Neo-Fight.tv: a non-geeky, weekly, 10-minute videocast on technology. The hosts are a bit goofy, but I think it works.

Podcastspot.com is from Edmonton.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Winner of the Bool

Congratulations to Aaron, winner of the bool.

Here’s my YouTube video of the random draw, watch it now.

Don’t know what a bool is, here’s how it started.

Summary of the CMA Digital Marketing Conference

For my own purposes, I want these notes handy. If you are interested in reading about the Canadian Marketing Association’s digital marketing conference, then here you go and thank you for indulging me with your time. If you couldn’t care less, add a link to the comments page for something fun that you’d rather be doing. That way, when I leave marketing-land, I’ll have somewhere fun to go too.

CMA is going to post the speakers presentations on the CMA website.

In fact they might already be up on the CMA blog:

The CMA blog has a number of great contributors. They also have podcasts of the event, there’s links to photos. I’ll link to their posts below, but this is meant to be my archive of what people were scheduled to talk about, what they did talk about, and what I thought about what they talked about.

If you want more than my opinion, check out OneDegree.ca. I think they did a much better job than the CMA blogging about the conference.

Overall the conference was informative, I got to meet David Weinberger, I had an amazing roundtable on Social Media, which was moderated by Kate Trgovac, and I met lots of interesting people who attended the conference.

October 19

Morning Keynote:
Changing the Conversation: General Motors of Canada is Driving Success OnLine
Frank Trivieri, General Director of Marketing, GM Canada

It takes courage, commitment, and innovation to survive and thrive in today’s fiercely competitive automotive landscape. Nobody knows this better than Frank Trivieri, the senior marketing executive at GM Canada, one of the country’s largest advertisers. Frank will share surprising facts about GM Canada; where GM has been and where it’s going. He will discuss the role of digital marketing in GM’s turnaround strategy. Frank will showcase some of the innovative ways his company has been marketing online, discuss the lessons they’ve learned, and offer some words of wisdom for marketers who are struggling with the integration of digital and traditional media.

SoMisguided Post 1: Frank Trivieri talks about GM Canada

9:45 a.m.

What are YOU Thinking?
Steve Levy, President, Canadian Market Research Eastern Canada, Ipsos Reid

What are marketers (on the client and agency side) thinking and perhaps more importantly what are they (you) doing in the world of digital marketing? Steve Levy will provide highlights of an exclusive Ipsos Reid survey of Canadian marketers that will identify what is happening in this space and why. What will marketers be doing/changing in the near future? Who is on the cutting edge and what does it mean to be on the cutting edge? What are the key opportunities and major barriers in the digital marketing space? Is search marketing as big a deal as some would say and how are you responding to democratization/disintermediation? And amidst all of these issues, how are you organizing and staffing to meet some of these changing circumstances?

SoMisguided Post 2: Steve Levy on spending money online

11:00 a.m.

Six Pixels of Separation – How marketing connects in a digital world
Mitch Joel, President, Twist Image

It’s a small world after all.

While many marketing professionals are still struggling to understand the principles of online marketing, an entirely new generation of digital opportunities is already taking place and they’re being created by consumers.

Consumers have never been so powerful and have never been so in control.

But what does all of this mean to marketers, and how do we keep our jobs?

In this session, Mitch Joel will unravel the fascinating world of new marketing, consumer-generated content and social media. If media like blogging, mobile blogs, narrowcasting, podcasting, second life, viral marketing and search engine marketing make your eyes glaze over, Six Pixels Of Separation is for you.

Understand how these new marketing touch points are creating new conversations where the results are staggering and loyalty is off the charts.

Welcome to the new conversation. Welcome to the world of new marketing. Welcome to Six Pixels of Separation.

SoMisguided Post 3: Mitch Joel on Six Pixels of Separation

CMA Post on Mitch and his MySpace example

CMA Post about Mitch’s session

1:00 p.m.

Luncheon Keynote
Markets in the Age of the Miscellaneous
David Weinberger, co-author of the influential bestseller, The Cluetrain Manifesto

As information, commerce and social relationships go digital, the old constraints on how they’re organized go out the window. The digital age is also the age of the miscellaneous, enabling customers to pick and choose what they want—including not just products, but also opinions about products—from the universe of offerings. Markets are rapidly inventing new ways to organize themselves, based not on accidents of geography or even of demographic similarity, but on genuine interests and the sound of human voices. This changes the basics of what markets are, what they expect, and what they demand.

SoMisguided Post 4: CMA: David Weinberger on Humans and the Internet

OneDegree.ca Post: David Weinberger on Misinterpreting the Cluetrain Manifesto

CMA Post on David Weinberger

2:30 p.m.

Back by popular demand
Waiting for Your Cat to Bark? Persuading Customers When They Ignore Marketing
Bryan Eisenberg, Principal, Future Now Inc.

Good marketers know that customer-centric marketing is mandatory. However, we are not the customer. What the customer perceives as relevant is the thing that successful marketers must anticipate, plan and deliver on. Bryan Eisenberg shares insight from his new book “Waiting for Your Cat to Bark? Persuading Customers When They Ignore Marketing,” which offers details on Persuasion Architecture, a proven persona-based methodology.

Persuasion Architecture helps marketers anticipate different angles from which customers frame their questions and then co-ordinate messaging across multiple channels so that marketers can create predictive models of customer behaviour. Don’t miss out on learning about this marketing approach that can skyrocket the effectiveness of your interactive marketing.

SoMisguided Post 5: Bryan Eisenberg on How Marketers Fail Us

CMA Post on Bryan Eisenberg - Why are we so bad at the Online conversion game?

3:45 p.m.

The Experience Exchange
Back by popular demand, the Digital Roundtables are an exclusive opportunity for you to exchange insights with your peers on one of 13 different topics. A baker’s dozen of leaders in the field will moderate the Digital Roundtables and keep the dialogue and ideas flowing.

1. Podcasting
2. Blogs
3. Branded Entertainment
4. Conversion & Measurement
5. E-commerce
6. E-mail Marketing
7. Social Media
8. Paid Search
9. Search Engine Optimization
10. Customer/User Experience Design (Usability)
11. Wireless/Mobile Marketing
12. Future Digital Marketing Platforms
13. In-Game Advertising

October 20

Morning Keynote:
It’s All About the Content: Podcasting as a marketing tool
C.C. Chapman, Host, Managing The Gray

Podcasting is the hottest technology to arrive on the scene. But it’s not just a creative way to repurpose audio and video content to reach your customers: It’s a powerful mechanism to allow you to build a community and truly connect with your market. Podcasting veteran and new media specialist C.C. Chapman will discuss potential pitfalls, keys to success and insights into how you can harness the power of podcasting.

SoMisguided Post 6: C.C. Chapman on Podcasting

CMA Post on Podcasting is Apple Pie for Whales

9:30 a.m.

A Day in the Life of Today’s Youngest Media Consumer
Laura Baehr, Director of Marketing & Nonlinear, YTV (Corus Entertainment)

This session focuses on kids’ use of different digital media: What’s changed over the past decade? What hasn’t? What are eight-year-olds doing that 14-year-olds aren’t (and vice-versa)? How do kids play in this multi-media world, and how do they multi-task? What technology do kids own, what do they want to own, and how are they going to get it? Find out when the kids’ experts at YTV present a comprehensive look at today’s youngest media consumers and customers.

SoMisguided Post 7: Laura Baehr on YTV and what tweens are up to these days

CMA Post on Tween

10:30 a.m.

Industry Leaders’ Panel
Moderator: Mark Evans, Senior Technology Reporter, National Post

Jordan Banks, Managing Director, eBay Canada
Arturo Duran, President, CanWest Interactive
Patrick Lauzon, Executive Vice-President, Quebecor Media
Alex Leslie, Vice-President, Product and Technology, AOL Canada Inc.
David U.K., Director of Sales and Strategic Alliances, Standard Interactive
Ray Newal, VP Business Development, Yahoo! Canada

CMA Post: what they thought about the panel

11:30 a.m.

Closing Keynote
The Traditional Interactive Agency
Joseph Jaffe, President & Founder, Jaffe, LLC

As digital continues to enjoy unprecedented growth and continued success, is there a danger of falling into old, bad habits and the familiar territory of complacency, mediocrity and risk aversion? Is history repeating itself and if so, what can those tasked with the all-important charge of leading their companies and brands into the consumer-controlled world do to keep ahead and stay ahead? Are today’s interactive agencies and marketers structured, equipped and capable of best leveraging the onslaught of consumer generated content, social media and new marketing in general…and if not, what needs to be done about it.

SoMisguided Post 8: Joseph Jaffe on the influence of social media

CMA Wrap-Up Post

CMA: C.C. Chapman on Podcasting

Post 1: Frank Trivieri talks about GM Canada

Post 2: Steve Levy on spending money online

Post 3: Mitch Joel on Six Pixels of Separation

Post 4: CMA: David Weinberger on Humans and the Internet

Post 5: Bryan Eisenberg on How Marketers Fail Us

Day 2, October 20, 2006

Post 5:
It’s All About the Content: Podcasting as a marketing tool
C.C. Chapman, Host, Managing The Gray

What is a podcast?
Ask a Ninja answers “what is podcasting”?

Podcasting is a subscription-based delivery mechanism for any type of multimedia file.

It’s also an apple pie factory for whales.

It’s another tool for reaching people.

Questions to answer before podcasting:

- Do you want to record in studio or mobile
- What’s the budget
- Is it host driven or interview focussed
- How do you define success

Things you should do as a podcaster:

- Focus on content
- Plan for the long haul
- Don’t go it alone
- Embrace the podosphere
- Find a great host
- Be the expert on your brand, be the leader in this space for your brand or company

C. C. Chapman is a podcaster, second lifer, filmmaker and all around web freak. Find him at

Friday, July 28, 2006

Nielsen Podcast Survey Presented Dodgey Numbers

On July 13, I read a story on a couple of blogs about the inaccuracies of a recent Nielsen study on podcasts, then Wednesday (13 unlucky days later) I saw that CanWest papers, including The Vancouver Sun, had published the original study numbers and a recap of a Washington Post article. Seems unfortunate that the Washington Post didn’t do their research to see that the numbers were faulty, seems even more unfortunate that CanWest then passed off bogus info as news.

Here’s the press release posted on MarketWatch.com: “Nielsen//NetRatings announced today that 6.6 percent of the U.S. adult online population, or 9.2 million Web users, have recently downloaded an audio podcast. 4.0 percent, or 5.6 million Web users, have recently downloaded a video podcast. These figures put the podcasting population on a par with those who publish blogs, 4.8 percent, and online daters, 3.9 percent.”

The Washington Post requires a subscription but here’s their headline from July 23 (10 days after it was public knowledge online that the numbers were inaccurate): “As Podcasts Spread, Advertisers Sniff Money” by Kim Hart, F07 (Post, 07/23/2006): “The podcast is heading for the mainstream. A report released by Nielsen Analytics last week found that podcasts—online broadcasts downloaded from the Internet for playback on portable devices—are ...”

Here’s the story I read announcing that the numbers were inaccurate.

From Frank Barnako’s blog: “Nielsen “podcast” survey not only about podcasts. Just had a conversation with Michael Lanz, the analyst on the podcast survey by Nielsen/NetRatings whose findings were released yesterday.  He said that while the firm’s news release said more than 9 million audio and 5 million ‘podcasts’ were downloaded, well—maybe they weren’t all podcasts.”

Seems that Nielsen didn’t clearly define podcast, which means that music downloads were included in the 9 million figure.

I love that with blogs, blog writers are smarter because blog readers keep them on the right path.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Anthony Bourdain Podcast

Yesterday was an early day for me. I woke up at 6 am to be ready for a phone interview with Frank Barnako of MarketWatch.com.

It was exciting to have a tech/marketing conversation about this thing I’ve been working on since November.

So what’s that thing?
Raincoast and At Large Media are producing a literary podcast series, and over the month of July we’ve been releasing the 3 parts of a podcast with Anthony Bourdain (author of Kitchen Confidential and The Nasty Bits and host of the Travel Channel show No Reservations).

The podcasts caught Frank’s attention because he writes the Internet Daily column for MarketWatch and because he’s a fan of Anthony Bourdain. So I got to have my few minutes of fame talking about a famous chef and the not-yet-famous Raincoast podcasts.

Here’s the link to the MarketWatch.com article.

And here’s the link to the Raincoast podcasts page. I think Part 2: The Book Signing is my favourite but perhaps a listener survey is in order.

While I’m plugging Raincoast, there’s also a Raincoast blog that I write, http://blogs.raincoast.com

Enough said about the day job.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

HarperCollins Canada Starts Podcasting

I’m a little behind announcing this, but in case you haven’t heard, HarperCollins Canada is working with Foursevens Podcast Network to produce a podcast series.

The podcasts will be released twice a month and feature author interviews.

Among the authors tentatively scheduled:

* Gautam Malkani – Londonstani
* Jon Evans – Invisible Armies
* Sara Gruen – Water for Elephants (This is on my summer reading list. Circus life during the Depression. Here’s the description from the Harpers website: “Orphaned and penniless at the height of the Depression, Jacob Jankowski escapes everything he knows by jumping on a passing train and inadvertantly runs away with a struggling, second-rate circus. But Jacob finds work in the menagerie, where he becomes a savior for the animals. He also comes to know Marlena, the star of the equestrian act—and wife of August, a charistmatic but cruel animal trainer.” I’m looking forward to reading the book and then listening to the podcast. I like that the circus is second rate.)
* Lydia Millet – Oh, Pure and Radiant Heart
* Dennis Bock – The Communist’s Daughter
* Rebecca Godfrey – Under the Bridge

I think podcasts are a great way for readers to engage with authors. Sometimes I want to listen to an author before I read the book, sometimes I want to listen after I’ve read the book. It’s dependent on who the author is and what I already know about them. Regardless, I’m always searching online for more information about authors I love and books that I’ve read or want to read.

While we’re talking podcasts, if you’re a fan of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, part 1 of the 3-part podcast from Raincoast Books and At Large Media is available today. www.raincoast.com/podcast/. Have a listen: direct link to MP3. Bourdain talks about the crazy questions he gets about himself and his books. There’s some life philosophy, reader questions and little insider tidbits about Bourdain’s life.

UPDATE: My mistake, HarperCollins started podcasting in January with Jay Ingram. Steve Osgoode wrote me a note saying they did 21 episodes. Thanks for the correction Steve. You can hear the first podcast by visiting:

Sunday, April 09, 2006

From Idea to Air: Making Radio with Tod Maffin

Studio 5

I was one of 20 lucky contestants awarded the chance to hang out with Tod Maffin all day Saturday at the CBC. Tod was volunteering his time as part of a fundraising effort for Multiple Sclerosis. He was offering us a full-day workshop “From Idea to Air: Making Radio and Selling it to CBC”. In exchange we were making a donation, or not, to the MS Society.

The workshop was fantastic. It was very practical, and surprisingly the pitch steps are quite similar to the submission stage for manuscripts in a publishing house. Tod is a fantastic speaker and if you’re interested in radio documentaries or producing podcasts, you should definitely attend one of his workshops: www.todmaffin.com/speaking

The ebook for the workshop is also available for purchase from Tod’s site. It is packed with amazing notes: www.todmaffin.com/ideatoair/.

As I mentioned, Tod was donating his time as a fundraising effort for his wife Kim, who has MS. It was a surprise to hear Tod say that MS is a young woman’s disease and that Canada has one of the highest incidences of MS in the world—this has something to do with vitamin D deficiencies, although I may not have understood that correctly. According to the MS pamphlet MS is the most common neurological condition affecting young adults in Canada. Age of onset is between 15 and 40 years, and affects twice as many women as men.

If you’d like to know more about Multiple Sclerosis, check out Kim’s MS blog, it’s www.restperiod.com. She also does a podcast about multiple sclerosis at www.mspodcast.org.

Now because Tod makes his living giving workshops, I’m not going to post my notes, but I did have some interesting thoughts during this adventure in the bowels of the CBC. The first was that the pitch stage is very similar to the submission stage in book publishing.

In radio:
- Listen to the program you want to pitch your idea to, listen to it more than once.
- Find out who the senior producer is, or at least someone with “producer” in their job title
- When you pitch that person, it is a 2-3 paragraph pitch, which includes what I call the hook—the one sentence description—and then a summary of what the documentary is about, who it’s aimed at and what’s it’s going to say.

There are more specifics in Tod’s ebook, and I don’t think I’m giving anything away here. The basic point is do your research. The second point is be brief, be brilliant, be gone. Don’t send a full script, don’t send a resume and long list of credentials. You’re gauging interest. If the producer is interested, then you can present the longer version. The challenge is that no producer has the time to read through hundreds of pitches in a week and do their job. You have to hook them. The only way that will happen is if it is relevant to their program—you’ve done your research—and they get it right away—in 2-3 paragraphs you’ve conveyed the idea.

This is true for submitting a manuscript.

In book publishing:
- Look at the publisher’s website, look at their catalogue. Read some of the titles that they give a full page to in their catalogue or prominent positioning on their website. In particular, make sure you’re looking at a publisher’s originated list, not the titles that they distribute or that come from their multi-national divisions. Really do your homework.
- Find out who to send the manuscript to. Don’t assume that the editor listed in an outdated book on the writers market is still at the organization.
- When you send your query letter, this is your pitch. You need the one sentence hook and the 2-3 paragraph description of what the book is about, who it’s aimed at and what it’s going to say.

There are of course more specifics in the plethora of books on query letters. The basic point, like with radio documentaries, is do your research. The second point is be brief, be brilliant, be gone. If the publisher’s guidelines say don’t send a full manuscript, don’t. The query letter is about gauging interest. If the publisher or editor is interested, then you can present the longer version. The challenge is that publishers receive hundreds of query letters and submissions a month. You have to hook them. The only way that will happen is if it is relevant to their publishing program—you’ve done your research—and they get it right away—in 2-3 paragraphs you’ve conveyed the idea.

Following these basic steps will put you into the top 10%. They seem simple, but they are the basic steps that most people don’t follow. 

From idea to air—from idea to book.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

SFU Summer Workshop in New Media

One of the many hats that I wear now includes program director for the Simon Fraser University New Media summer workshops. Quite a mouthful.

Information about the SFU New Media workshop is now online:

The site is a work in progress so full session descriptions and bios will be available soon, but the preliminary info is up and registrations are now being accepted.


Summer Publishing Workshops
Simon Fraser University @ Harbour Centre
515 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 5K3

For more info:
T 604 291 5241
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Who should attend? Who is the workshop for?
Marketing, sales and publicity folks; designers and writers wanting to better understand the web; any business leader who wants to figure out this blogging thing, podcasting, wikis; managers and anyone in charge of a budget and figuring out how to make or spend money online.

The speaker line up is fantastic and the sessions are going to be great and informative.

I will post more about the speakers and the sessions, but for now check out the website:

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Vancouver Podcaster Meetup

Last night was the first Vancouver podcaster meetup. It was at the Beatty St Bar & Grill, which I must say had minimal food options for one fish/seafood allergy-prone attendee. Aside from that the Stella came in a big glass and that was good.

The conversation turned at one point to Darren Barefoot’s absence. He was not detained at any border this time, instead he’s down with “flu-like symptoms.” In between discussing microphones and favourite podcasts, we debated the meaning of “flu-like symptoms.” Is it not just the flu? James pointed out that Darren is likely taking the piss. Flu-medication ads always mention “flu-like symptoms” rather than the flu.  James also pointed out that weather broadcasters no longer talk about the weather. They talk about “weather events.” So Darren Barefoot is under the weather with flu-like symptoms and stayed home, which is likely best since we’re having a winter storm weather event.

But we did not discuss Darren all night.

I sat at a table with John of Audihertz.net. He has a podcast called Radio Zoom, which you can find on Podcastdirectory.com. I checked it out this morning and I like the music he plays so I’ll subscribe for awhile and see if he becomes a permanent fixture in my listening world. The fun thing about John is that he’s an American living in Canada. His podcast is music based but the personal side is what he describes as “just doing my best to give you more insight on what it’s like to be a boy from Iowa, living in the land of Canada.”

David of Loud Murmurs was also at my table. David, like John, is one of these fabled Americans who left his blue-gone-red state to come to red-gone-blue Canada. He has a background in classical music and is thinking of starting a classical music podcast. He wants to put classical music into context—something like, “listen to this, and this is why it’s important” or really cool. Sounds like something I’d like.

Other folks I met with podcasts are Ted Riecken of IslandPodcasting.com, which is a podcast show about life on Vancouver Island. Exploring culture, natural history and events on the Island. I also met Derek K. Miller of Podcast.penmachine.com, who’s a musician and offers instrumental podcasts. Derek is also podcasting the meetings for the BC branch of the Editors’ Association of Canada.

Listen to the EAC meetings. And of course, Tod Maffin, organizer of the podcast meetup.

Things I didn’t know about before:
Daily Breakfast with Father Roderick from CatholicInsider.com.
Quirky Nomads, the story of a family that said, “if the Republicans get any worse, we’re moving to Canada.” And then? They really did. (This is my favourite of the previously unknowns.)
And, Spamusement.com. Poorly drawn cartoons inspired by actual spam subject lines.