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Friday, February 10, 2012

On Dragonflies, Generosity, and Marketing

I received this e-mail from a friend of mine and it reminded me how important the concept of generosity is to building a platform or marketing a book--or anything else for that matter. May Lattanzio is a photographer and she has always been giving. She provided Magdalena Ball and me with photographs for one of the first poetry chapbooks we collaborated on, She Wore Emerald Then. So when I received this, it  brought back memories. It also suggested to me that it is time to reiterate how important giving away some of our work can be.  Here is her story:

In March of 2008 I took a picture of a cold dragonfly in my hand. She was a slender baskettail. Beautiful wing markings. I love taking photos of them and of course, butterflies. Always a challenge. You can't just tell them to "Stand still!"

I'm on a list of southern odonata lovers and I asked for identification of the fly.
Giff Beaton is a naturalist, an airline pilot, takes people on WINGS birding tours, and writer of field guides was "envious" because he'd never seen one.
Dennis Paulson from Slater Museum of Natural History, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, said they are difficult to find and he might want to put my photograph in his
newest field guide. The one he had was posed (chilled, photographed, and released). This one was just cold, hanging outside on the siding near the back door. Actually, I thought a spider had gotten to it. I took her picture and put her in the morning sun to warm up.

I got another email asking for the photo. I sent him four different ones.

Then he asked me to let him use one and to give my approval and after I said "yes,"  I forgot about it.

Today I got a package. It's this HUMUNGOUS, 538 page field guide,
"Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East" (eastern US and Canada) by Dennis, a complimentary copy. I had forgotten the earlier incident! The book is so lovely,  I hated to crack the cover! But there my dragonfly is, page 389, clinging to my finger, unposed.

Anyway, that's my little surprise. I will treasure this. I didn't know he'd finished it or if he really did use my photo.

And people wonder why I'm out there in the heat, in muck or in fields, on the water and always with a camera? You just NEVER know what you can find.

May Lattanzio
May is a freelance writer, poet and photographer. She is the author of   Waltz on the Wild Side: An Animal Lover's Journal and Sam, The Grouchy as Usual Bear: A Tale of Love, Loss, and Magic. She contributed to  Least Loved Beasts of the Really Wild West: A Tribute and is an Amazon Shorts author. She also contributed photographs for She Wore Emerald Then (www.budurl.com/motherchapbook ) by Magdalena Ball and Carolyn Howard-Johnson.  Learn more about her at

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor . If your followers at Twitter would benefit from this blog post, please use the little Green widget to let them know about this blog:


  1. Thanks, Carolyn. This link is much appreciated for Dennis and myself.

  2. Such a pretigious presss, too, May. Be sure to use that in your marketing, credit line, etc. (-:


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