Monday, November 12, 2007

Another I lead two lives entry...

Well, my book is in my hand and I thrilled. It looks great and now the hard work begins...getting the word out that it exists.

As I learned with my two magazines, it doesn't matter how good a job you do with a they look, what is their content....what really matters is that you are able to get your thing before the intended audience. Distribution and marketing makes or breaks projects. When I worked for Kevin Eastman doing marketing work for his Tundra publishing outfit, it became clear to me the comics industry, for instance, had no idea whether it was marketing books to readers or to retailers.

Without that focus, some of the outstanding projects on which I worked never received the attention they richly deserved. Of course the stuff I liked generally didn't have T & A or angst-filled violence which somehow ALWAYS found an audience.

So I'm taking next week off and I will spend a great deal of it working on my marketing plan. I've mentioned parts of it in this blog, but I will be sending out a press release via e-mail and trying to line up signings.

Thanks to the folks who have made suggestions so far! If anyone has more, please let me know.

Okay on to the other side of my life...

Last week I received a press release from Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. He conducted a hearing to address employment challenges that service members face when returning from a tour of duty. The hearing was designed to focus on the enforcement of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) which requires employers to continue to employ members of the Guard and Reserve upon their return from duty.

According to the release there has been data withheld from the public that was released for the hearing and it casts doubt on how much the Bush Administration actually supports the troops.

“The data demonstrates serious inadequacies in the performance of the four federal agencies responsible for protecting returning veterans’ reemployment rights,” the release read.

Here are some of the details:

• Service members are returning home only to realize that their deployment has put their healthcare, their benefits and even their jobs at risk. For example, among post-9/11 returning Reservists and National Guardsmen, nearly 11,000 were denied prompt reemployment. More than 22,000 lost seniority and thus pay and other benefits. Nearly 20,000 saw their pensions cut. More than 15,000 didn’t receive the training they needed to return to their former jobs. Nearly 11,000 didn’t get their health insurance back.

• In 2006, 77 percent of Reservists and National Guardsmen with reemployment problems reported not seeking assistance of any kind. (This indicates agencies’ failure to educate/reach out to returning servicemen to inform them of their rights.)

• Almost half of Reservists (44 percent) and National Guardsmen who filed a USERRA complaint with the Department of Labor reported being dissatisfied with DOL’s handling of their case – up from 27 percent dissatisfaction in 2004 – and more than a third reported that DOL’s response was not prompt.

• Twenty-three percent of Reservists and National Guardsmen surveyed in 2006 who could not find a job post-deployment said that they were unemployed because their previous employer did not promptly rehire them as required by law.

• Almost a third of Reservists (28 percent) surveyed in 2006 reported not receiving information on USERRA/reemployment rights during their activation or deactivation.

• The percentage of Reservists and National Guardsmen who experienced difficulty getting reemployment assistance from government agencies rose from 2004 (27 percent) to 2006 (29 percent).

The release reported that Kennedy was planning to introduce legislation to seek some solutions for the service members.

What kind of commander-in-chief allows his military personnel to serve their nation and then turns a blind eye to a widespread abuse of their trust?

© 2007 by Gordon Michael Dobbs

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