3 Awards from Boating Writers International

bwi logoI am humbled and honored to say that I won three awards today in the annual writing competition of Boating Writers International.

One was a third-place prize in the Seamanship, Rescue and Safety category for “When the Call Came,” the story of a harrowing rescue at sea that I wrote for Yachting magazine. (We called it “Rescue in the Atlantic” for the online version.)

My other two wins were honorable mentions for articles that I wrote in Soundings magazine. “Whales Return to the Big Apple” won in the Environmental Education and Awareness category, and “Voice Forensics May Help Nab Mayday Callers” won in the Boating Issues, News and Analysis Category.

Many other great writers won as well, including several at Yachting, Soundings, Angler’s Journal and Soundings Trade Only, all of which I do work for as a freelance editor.

Congratulations to all the winners!


DWAA Names ‘The Dog Merchants’ A Best Book of 2016

The Dog Merchants by Kim KavinThe Dog Writers Association of America, at its banquet today in Manhattan, named The Dog Merchants a best book for 2016.

The Dog Merchants tied for the top spot in our category with Reporting for Duty: True Stories of Wounded Veterans and Their Service Dogs by Tracy Libby.

I’m both honored and humbled to win this DWAA award for The Dog Merchants. My 2012 dog book, Little Boy Blue, was a finalist for the top award but ended up being a runner-up, instead winning the DWAA Merial Human-Animal Bond Award. The Dog Merchants is my first time winning a best book of the year award from DWAA.

Thank you to all of the judges, and congratulations to my co-winner Tracy Libby and all the other dog writers who took home awards today. Kudos all around!

Happy Anniversary to CharterWave!

screen-shot-2016-11-06-at-3-36-32-pmA full decade ago—the same year that Twitter went live—I launched a website called CharterWave.

Now, in celebration of the site’s 10-year anniversary and widespread success, I’ve relaunched the site with a whole new look.

CharterWave was one of the first niche websites in the entire marine industry, and the first of its kind to focus exclusively on luxury yacht charter. It went on to win awards from Boating Writers International as well as longtime support from sponsors, some of whom have been with the site pretty much since its launch, and continue with the site today.

The new site design is by Z2 Media, the same company that built DogMerchants.com for me earlier this year, when my book The Dog Merchants came out.

Click over to CharterWave to check out the site’s new look and features.

Join Me at the 2015 ASJA Writers’ Conference

asja-2015I have been asked to serve as a panelist at the 2015 conference of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. I’ll be alongside ASJA Vice President Sherry Beck Paprocki and authors’ attorney Sallie Randolph for the panel “Business Matters: Proposals, Contracts and More.” My role will be to represent the ASJA Contracts & Conflicts Committee, which I chair, and to explain some common contract terms and options for negotiating them.

Please join us for this panel at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 2. Full conference details are at the 2015 ASJA conference website.

Facebook Promoted Posts: False Advertising, Pitiful Reach

ImageI recently tried my first Facebook Promoted Post on the fan page for my book Little Boy Blue. We have a new program in partnership with my publisher, Barron’s, that gives free lesson plans to 11th- and 12th-grade English and Journalism teachers who want to add the book to their student reading lists and meet Core Curriculum Standards. I figured this was a good type of post to promote, as Facebook offers, to “people who like your page and their friends.”

My post was straightforward. It read: “Would you like to see Little Boy Blue and the message of rescue on your local high school’s reading list? Please help us spread the word about our new program of free lesson plans for 11th- and 12th-grade English and Journalism teachers.” It also included a link to the dedicated website for the Little Boy Blue Schools Program.

Facebook offered me three choices to promote the post. I could spend $5, $10, or $15 to reach an increasing number of people. I went for the big time and authorized $15 to reach an estimated 4,000 to 6,000 people.That would be double or triple the number we’ve reached with any of our previous posts that went viral, including one post just three days earlier that reached 2,282 people without any type of paid promotion.

When the Promoted Post phase began, 376 people had seen my post about the Little Boy Blue Schools Program. I expected to see that number jump to about 1,500 the first day, about 3,000 the second day, and at minimum 4,000 the third day, to reach the low end of Facebook’s estimate.

Instead, I watched as Facebook continually adjusted the “estimated reach” downward throughout the three-day promotion. The site was still taking my full $15, but my post wasn’t reaching nearly as many people as originally advertised.

At the end of the promotion, my $15 was fully spent and my post had not reached the high end of 6,000 people, nor even the low end of 4,000 people. It had barely reached half of that low end, just 2,065 people in total—fewer than my own, non-promoted post reached a few days earlier going viral on its own. Even worse, as you can see in the screen shot above, only 1,618 of those 2,065 people who saw my Promoted Post were reached through the paid service. That’s about 40 percent of the low end that Facebook promised in exchange for my $15 investment.

I sent an e-mail last week via the feedback option to let Facebook know that I felt ripped off. The only reply I received came this morning, an automated e-mail letting me know that my credit card had been charged in full.

There is no way to describe my experience with Facebook Promoted Posts as anything other than pitiful. The service is a bait-and-switch con game based on false advertising, plain and simple. I won’t be using Facebook Promoted Posts ever again.