Job Options for Laid-Off Sears and K-Mart Workers

Hovey as news anchor


If you are a Sears or K-Mart employee and are facing the eminent loss of your job, you are joining tens of thousands of retail workers who have been impacted by changes in consumer shopping habits, on-line retailing and the availability of lower costs goods and services offered from foreign companies. Although of little consolation to you, you are not alone. Just a few months ago Toys-R-Us shut down all of their North American Stores and dismissed 10,000 workers. This trend is expected to continue as more retail outlets vanish from American cities.

Say you were already tripling-up to live in an outrageously priced studio apartment in San Francisco, L.A., New York or Seattle, how are you going to come up with your share of next month’s rent? Other retailers are staffing up for the Christmas season, but those jobs are only going to start in December and end in January. What then?

Start your own businesses to raise money you need when you need it.

The concept of starting a business may be strange to you, but it should not be. Each time you have ever sold anything to anyone else or collected money for mowing a lawn or taking care of someone’s child or pet, you have engaged in a business transaction. Declaring a business and running it is only doing the same sort of thing on a regular basis for a set fee. Being paid for services, things you sell or for knowledge is money received from a business transaction and spends just like that received from a paycheck – except that you determine the frequency and amount that you get paid.

How do I know what business to start when?

     Selecting an appropriate type of business at whatever stage you are in your life to accomplish immediate and long-term goals is what I discussed in my new book, Create Your Own Job Security: Plan to Start Your Own Business at Midlife. In this book I advocate starting a series of businesses throughout your life to do what you need to do at the moment, say raise cash for the rent, while you plan to get the degrees, certifications, etc. that you need to become an independent trade or professional business owner. Ultimately you can discover a business that you love so much that you would do the work even if no one paid you a cent. This “business of passion” may not be what you think of immediately, but you can discover, maybe over some decades, how to make money at it and let that business become your older-age business to carry you through the remainder of your life.

Now you can raise some money by selling some things that you own that you will no longer use. Yes those items are neat, were nice to own; but you really don’t have to have them to survive. Instead of taking them to a pawn shop, set up an account and sell them on E-bay. If you had a childhood collection of something, now is likely the time to sell it off. Become a world-class expert in that class of object and E-bay selling that can be part of your building an on-line business.

Things not to do are to pile up credit card debt or go to pay-day lenders or lawn sharks. If you must borrow, try to do it from family to help get you over a hard month or two, but keep thinking about ways that you can make some money on your own by investing in yourself.

This may be through some training that is offered as part of your severance package. This company training will be most often focused on your finding another job rather than starting your own company. Some companies will also offer an hour or so of mental health support which is useful in helping to understand the psychological trauma that you are going through.

Losing a job is more than losing a paycheck. It is breaking relationships that you may have developed over decades. These relationships are not only with your former bosses and coworkers it is also with the customer contacts that you developed. The result is like having a close relative unexpectedly pass away. There will be grief, questionings as to what degree do you bare personal responsibility for the business failing and the feeling of being thrown out of your own home by a parent. No wonder that you can’t think of any good business opportunities at the moment.

This is where the planning part of my book’s sub-title comes in. I advocate that you plan and actually start your business while you are still working. This way while you are working you have your business already going, it is generating a small amount of income, and should you become unemployed you only need to energize your fledgling business to the level of profitability that you can live on. 

What might such businesses be?

     Selling product and customer service are the two aspects of retail trade. Which are you most adept at? Perhaps you are more interested in the people who come to you for recommendations on what product to buy, than the details of the product itself. If so, you may have some undeveloped tendencies to be a personal consultant to help people get over some of life’s adverse experiences, such as working as an insurance adjuster. This type of job pays well, but requires directed training which is often given by the insurance company. What you must bring to the table is a good grasp of basic math, the willingness to make informed decisions based on evidence and, most of all, a willingness to strictly follow company policy. Ultimately each claim will be examined, and if yours are too much outside of the norm, you will be reprimanded.

On the other hand if you had more of a mechanical interest in what you were selling than in the people who might be buying what was in your department, perhaps you are the same sort of guy who likes to invent things. Maybe you want to build a forge and make custom knives, like I do. Maybe your concept is of such practical use that you will file for a U.S. Patent. Making the product and selling it can be your new business. I also explain how to do a U.S. patent applications and secure copyrights and trademarks in Create Your Own Job Security.

Retail sales also have aspects of marketing and advertising. Maybe you were one of these folks. There is always demand for people who can write good ad copy, come up with advertising themes and derive novel ways to attract the public’s attention. The transition to one’s own company could be to set up an ad agency and gather your own clients who might be in a similar industry or something altogether different. Or, it might be to write that novel, book or play that has been stewing in your mind for years, that you never put on paper.

Advertising your business

YouTube videos are a practical way to promote an advertising firm or any other creative activity. No other media allows you to have a world-wide reach, say exactly what you want, cost almost no money to produce and stays up forever. Every creative person should have their own YouTube channel featuring the products, how they are made, there significance to the world and aggressively market themselves on this media. I do as I say, and I have over 700 YouTube videos up at the moment with about 4,000,000 hits and 5,000 followers. As you are likely much younger than I am and more in-tune with the present generation, you can do much better that me.

Overcoming the fear of failure

     There is no reward without accepting some degree of risk. Your immediate task is to discover a legal business enterprise that will return a maximum amount of income with minimal risks. Some things may fail because of changing fashion trends, adverse legislation, unforeseeable price hikes in raw materials or technological changes that may be completely out of your control. Prepare to be flexible and be able to alter the course of your business to take advantage of new opportunities as they arise.

“There is nothing in human experience that cannot be turned into profit by an inventive mind.” This is a Hoveyism that I have derived from personal experience. If you look, opportunities are there. You may have to move to another city to get pay-check work, but if you develop an on-line business you can conduct a million or billion dollar business from anywhere in the world. Maybe some ideas will not pan out or develop as fast as you hoped. In that case put those on the back burner for more development and try something else.

Being in and staying in the game will bring more opportunities, some of which will be completely unexpected, and you learn from each failure and build on that failure towards your ultimate success. There is no shame in the business world in having tried and failed at a business venture. There is shame in having a good idea and having someone else develop that idea before you did. Yes, you could have done that; but fact is that you didn’t and someone else did.

Act and act now.

     “Ideas without action have no value.” I have used this statement many times in my business presentations because it is absolutely true. If you can’t or don’t act, then you are opening yourself up to responding to chance happenings that will control your life, rather than you running it. As conditions become more financially stressful, you may be forced into doing actions that you would never have considered before and will regret forever.

A better option is to start building opportunity for yourself by thinking about, investigating and starting your own businesses, even in a small way, rather than being bounced around like a tennis ball being hit back and forth by the pressures of life.

Start with my book and videos. 

     Create Your Own Job Security: Plan to Start Your Own Business at Midlife has been out for only a few months and has helped others turn their lives around. It can do the same for you. I also have 20 free brief YouTube videos covering different aspects of selecting and starting your own business that you can watch any day. I can also work with your directly. On my blog, I have an option where you can consult with me on specific topics. If you want to learn how to make and post videos as I do, I teach this for $1,000 which includes a three-day stay with me here in Central Georgia while I show you the techniques and help you launch your first YouTube video about yourself and your product or services.


Create Your Own Job Security

Generally available for special promotion price of $10.99.










Offer a Variety of Materials at Book Fairs

Frog who would stop winter

Sketch for The Frog Who Would Stop Winter one of the children’s stories that I will be offering to publishers at the Frankfurt and Miami Book Fairs.


If you are an author and have only one book, or one variety of books to offer, you have a fairly simple choice as to how to plan your attendance, finding who to see, etc. Because I am writing and have written a variety of fiction and non-fiction materials, I need to  contact a wider variety of publishers. I have, for example, a group of children’s stories that I self-published in the 1980s that never went anywhere. Below is one of four that I am working up for the Frankfurt and Miami book fairs.

The general plan is to take one printed copy of the four stories and take an additional copy on a thumb drive. If a publisher wants to read them at the event, I will allow them to make a copy from the thumb drive. Most will glance though the materials and want to have them submitted via. email on one of their standard forms. Few of the thousands of industry attendees want more books or bulky handouts to take home.

Besides the one below the other stories are: War of the Spotted Ants, Alfred the Purple-Horned Snail and The Not So Goody Gum Drop Shop.

The Frog Who Would Stop Winter

     K-thump, k-thump, k-thump, boom, splash. K-thump, k-thump, k-thump, boom splash.

The call for a frog assembly echoed across Frogdom Swamp. Only once, years ago, had a meeting of all the frogs in Frogdom been called to drive away a predatory alligator. As each frog hopped and swam towards the great cypress stump, they asked, “What is wrong? What new peril faces Frogdom?”

From the dark reaches of the back swamp came the bullfrog clan. The tree frogs came from the forest and even the toads came out of their burrows. All of the frogs from all the clans gathered, and before long frogs were all that could be seen from the top of the cypress stump.

There were huge bullfrogs, medium-sized frogs, small frogs, baby frogs and even tadpoles forming a living blanket covering every inch of water, log and brush. So closely were the frogs packed around the stump that frogs were sitting on top of frogs that were sitting on top of frogs.

The swamp rang with the sound of frog voices. There was the deep base of the bullfrogs, “K-Boooom.” The twitter of the tree frogs, “Tweep, a-tweep, a-tweep,” and the croaks of the toads, “Croaaaaaaak.”

Still the question on every frog’s lips was, “Why are we here? What is wrong?” was thus far unanswered.

“Boom, Boom, Boom, – Boom, Boom, Boom.” The call for silence came from the largest of all the frogs sitting on the top of the cypress stump. All voices stopped and all eyes were turned to see Phidias Frog, the largest frog in Frogdom Pond, sitting on top of the stump.

“My friends. Fellow inhabitants of Frogdom. We are in grave danger, but I have thought of a way to avoid it and bring a time of joyous plenty to Frogdom. Will you let me speak to you on this matter?”

“Speak. Speak. Speak,” the frogs replied in their different voices. “Speak. Speak.”

“Now it is summer and a time of good living. Our stomachs are full and our young are growing stronger every day. Soon winter will come and all of this will change. It will become cold. Frogdom Pond will freeze, and we will have to borrow deep into the mud to survive.

“If you elect me king, there will be no more winters in Frogdom. Think of it. Every day will be summer. Our young can grow up without danger of suffering from winter’s cruelty, and no more will be have to fret about being safe from winter’s frigid blasts.

“What do you say? Elect me King, and there will be no more winter forever.”

From thousands of frog voices came the cry, “Yes. Be our King, King, King. Save us and be our King, King, King.”

But Leopard Frog, who had seen many winters come and go, was silent. He climbed high on the stump to attract the attention of the other frogs.

“All of frogdom. Listen and hear what I have to say,” Leopard Frog shouted.

When the noise quieted down, Leopard Frog began to speak. “I am an old frog. In my years, I have seen much, heard much and learned much. There is no way anyone can stop winter from coming. You are being tricked. You are being fooled.”

“Boo! Boo! Boo!” came the reply from the throats of thousands of frogs as the shouted down Leopard Frog’s unwelcomed news. Hardly a single one would pay attention to what he was saying. He attempted to speak once more, but is voice was lost in the clamor.

Phidias Frog sat on top of the stump and smiled because he felt sure that he would soon be king.

“My friends. My friends.” Phidias Frog said. “From the deepest part of my red-beating heart, I thank you. Let me tell you how I will forever banish winter from Frogdom, and if my idea is pleasing, you can elect me king.”

“Yes. Tell us. Tell us.” The multitude of frogs replied.

“Everyone knows the 12 months of the year bring six months of winter and six months of summer,” Phidias Frog began. “If we want to do away with winters, all we have to do is to change our calendars. We will keep the months of April, May, June, July, August and September. We will forever remove from the calendar the cold months of October, November, December, January, February and March. If we do this, winter will be gone forever, and cold weather will never return to Frogdom.”

“Hurray. Hurrah. Hurray. Hurrah for King Phidias frog. Hurray. Hurrah.” Came the reply from the bullfrogs, toads, tree frogs and all the other frogs at the meeting.

Only leopard Frog was silent. “What foolish frogs,” he thought. “They will not let me tell them anything, if they want Phidias Frog as King, let them have him. They deserve no better.”

Far into the knight the frog assembly continued.

A King must have a title and so Phidias Frog became, Beloved of Frogdom, The Magnificent, The Worshipful, The Great, King Phidias Frog the First.

A King must not work so that he can devote his full attentions to his Kingly duties. A tax of 10 percent of all the flies in Frogdom was levied for the King.

A King must have tax collectors, ministers, servants and bodyguards, and so another 10 percent tax was imposed to support the King’s household.

Each day King Phidias sat on top of the cypress stump passing laws and settling Frogdom’s disputes. It was not long before Leopard Frog was brought before the King for failure to pay his taxes.

“I am told that you have not given the 20 percent of the flies that you have caught to my tax collectors,” King Phidias asserted.

“I did not and I will not pay any such tax.” Leopard Frog replied. “I do not want you or any other frog to be my King.”

“You have three choices. You may pay all present and back taxes and remain in freedom. You may elect to be banished from Frogdom, and if you return you will be killed. You may join me and become one of my ministers and never have to hunt flies again.

“The choice is yours. What do you say?”

“You are not fit to be king,” Leopard Frog replied. “You have led all of Frogdom on the path of destruction by your impossible promise to banish winter. You may have told all of Frogdom that you can prevent winter from coming, but you have not convinced me. I would gladly leave, rather than serve you.”

“So let it be written. So let it be done. By your own words you have chosen your fate.

“Guards, take Leopard Frog to the edge of the kingdom and set him free. If he comes back, kill him. This is the judgement of Beloved of Frogdom, The Magnificent, The Worshipful, The Great, King Phidias Frog the First.

So Leopard Frog was banished. For a time all was well in Frogdom. King Phidias sat on his stump much of the day eating a portion of the flies that were collected as taxes. After the first four months of his reign, King Phidias became so fat that he could not move, and rolls of frog fat covered his legs and the top of the stump. Finally, he could only move his head from side to side and flick out his tongue to eat.

As the warm days of August passed into September, the first cool breezes of the approaching winter descended on Frogdom.

“Have faith, have faith, dear subjects,” King Phidias told a tweeping group of tree frogs who assembled at the stump at the first hint of cold weather.

“Next month it will be April again, and warm weather will return.”

Sure enough, September passed and during the first week of the next month the weather was sunny, fair and warm.

“See, it is just as I said.” King Phidias proclaimed. “Winter has been banished and will come no more. Next week we will have a grand gathering to celebrate the end of all winters.”

Word of the coming celebration was spread throughout Frogdom, and it even reached Leopard Frog who was busily preparing his winter den beyond the outskirts of the Kingdom.

“How silly they are,” Leopard Frog told no one in particular. “How Silly. As sure as dark follows day, so will winter return to Frogdom.

“They did not listen to my warning, and they banished me. Let them share whatever fate awaits them. I care not.”

Obscured by dark brooding clouds, little sunlight fell on Frogdom the day of the celebration. The warm breezes turned into a freezing wind driving flakes of falling snow.

Once again the assembly call was given. K-thump, k-thump, k-thump, boom, splash. K-thump, k-thump, k-thump, boom splash. This call was sounded with an increased urgency brought on by the increasing accumulation of snow.

“Winter is coming. Winter is coming. Winter is coming. What shall we do?” was the urgent question asked from the mass of frogs huddled at the base of the cypress stump.

“Go saaave yooourselveeees,” was the weak reply coming from King Phidias who was rapidly being covered by snow.

“Let him die,” said one of the King’s fattest ministers. “He lied to us. He said that he could stop winter from coming and he did not. Let him freeze.”

All the frogs scurried about hastily digging dens in the mud of the bottom of Frog Pond, in the ground or in rotted trees in hopes of making a shelter good enough to let them survive the deep cold that was coming.

Only two frogs, King Phidias and Leopard Frog did not take part in this frenzied activity.  A tree frog, hurrying to find a warm place to spend the winter deep inside the hollow of large tree, told Leopard Frog of the happenings in Frogdom.

Leopard Frog, cozy in his den, at first thought that the former King of Frogdom had received a just reward, but the more he thought about the King’s fate the more troubled he became.

“King Phidias was not all bad, and no frog deserves to die alone in the cold,” he thought. “I must return to Frogdom and see what I can do.”

By the time Leopard Frog arrived at the stump, snow was falling rapidly. A large rounded mound of snow on top of the stump now covered the bulky hulk of the despised King.

“Can you move?” Leopard frog asked.

“No. I cannn noooot,” came the wavering reply from under the snow.

Leopard Frog kicked the snow from the skin of Phidias Frog and began to haul up leaves and mud to cover the top of the stump to protect the former King.

“Will anyone help me save this frog that was once your King?” Leopard Frog asked. He received no answer. Not one of the frogs that passed by would lift a foot to help Phidias Frog.

Through the night and into the next day, Leopard Frog labored to mound leaves, moss, grass and mud on top of Phidias Frog to prevent him from freezing.

He worked until a fringe of ice began to form around the edges of the Frog Pond before he fled to his own warm den.

“Perhaps he will live. Perhaps he will die. I have done my best.” Leopard Frog thought before he drifted off into his winter hibernation.

Spring once more brought life to Frogdom. Only a mound of mud and leaves on top of the cypress stump was left as a reminder of the reign of Beloved of Frogdom, The Magnificent, The Worshipful, The Great, King Phidias Frog the First.”

One day the mound stirred and a loud k-booooom was heard. Out from the mud and leaves emerged a leaner Phidias Frog.

He found Leopard Frog at the edge of Frogdom Pond and said, “When no other frog would do anything to help me, you did. Why did you save me?”

After a long pause, Leopard Frog Replied, “For good.”

“For good? Is that all you have to say?” Phidias questioned.

“Great good and great evil can be done by kings and governments. Sometimes even trying to do something on which nearly everyone agrees can have a bad ending. Nonetheless, solutions to life’s problems should always be sought, even though many will not succeed.”

Create Your Own Job Security

Generally available for special promotion price of $10.99.






If I Don’t Read Books, Can I Write One?

Stonewall Press author with book and plackard

Variations on this headline are the most common Google search item by would-be authors. To those of us who have been in the game for decades and seen the sales of our books steadily decline, this is a disappointing reveal. The rise of screen devices has made us increasingly a nation of non-book-readers. Yet many in this same population who will go to extreme lengths to avoid reading a book, or will at best skim it, want to write a book.

The straightforward answer to this question is, “Yes you can.” A book is mechanically a collection of words on paper, and if you work at it, you can put 40-50,000 words on paper, self-publish it and have a book. The next question is, “Will it be worth reading?” followed by, “Can I sell more than a half-dozen of them?” However, before getting to these  questions the decision has to be made on what the book will be about.


Most fiction is based on some elements of truth and will often will incorporate experiences from your own life. If it is a straightforward rendition of your life experiences this becomes an autobiography and should not contain fictional elements or characters. Should you want to mentally rework your life experiences by using made-up characters that represent the person or people you wish you were who had the experiences that you wish you had, this becomes a fictional novel, detective story or fantasy. If you also have the ability to draw, these might become children’s stories. Decide what you want to write, buy some books that represent your selected type of material, study them to see how they are organized and do something similar.

Whatever path you start out on, finish it. Do not write a chapter of this, a chapter of that and then hope to put it together into something meaningful somehow. This is not likely to happen. Do an outline of your fictional work, plan for a climax in the next to the last chapter and plot out the problems that your characters will have along the way as they journey through the novel.  Your first efforts are likely to be terrible. When the book manuscript is finished put it aside for a month, read it critically, and see how you can improve it to make it more exciting by giving your characters some real and consistent traits to make them believable. You learn to live in your characters and understand them and their motivations. Put it aside a month and read it again. If satisfied you can submit it to publishers and wait for the rejection notices to arrive. However good your mom or aunt thinks it is, in the publishers’ world everyone has a book, and very few indeed are worth reading.

There are many companies who offer assistance to would-be authors who will, for a fee, edit, design and publish your book. Think about $10,000 here for the full-blown treatment. They will put it on Amazon and you may wait breathlessly as two or three sales come in a month. You must aggressively publicize your new book child in order to give it a ghost of a chance of succeeding. More than 80 percent of the books on Amazon sell fewer than 100 copies. Book marketing is more significant in having a successful book than book writing. There are many well written and well published books that go nowhere.


As a non-book reader and would-be writer, your nonfiction title should be something that you are so passionate about that you feel that the world needs to learn about it. This can be, and commonly is, personal experience as you go through a near-death experience through some traumatic event or disease. Perhaps it is a partial solution to a real-world problem like dealing with drug-addicted teens or escaping from a desperate condition in Africa or the Middle East and what was experienced and what was learned from these horrific events.

Maybe your non-fiction book teaches a skill or trade. Perhaps it captures some unique family recipes. It could even record some little known historic events that took place in your community. All of these are aspects of non-fiction writing. If you already have a user base developed from performing on stage, in film, or have had successful records, or through making specialized products your book can sell to this audience. Commonly writers of newspaper columns will collect their best and market these in a book, although this market is getting slimmer every day.

Is there some aspect of life that you know very well that you can impart to others that will improve their lives? If so, write about it. If your projected market is small, consider e-book publication as a way to get your information to the public without the costs of doing a softcover or hardcover book.

Publishing houses have become very selective about the topics that they publish. Some have a particular presentation of the material in the way they format their books, such as the  Books for Dummies series. If you pitch to them, you must write according to their exact requirements.  As discussed above, pick your topic, gather your resources, outline the book and write it.

How To Write a Book

Putting words on paper was the traditional way and some authors still like the feel of scratching on a paper with a pen or pounding on a typewriter. Having produced manuscripts both ways, I and almost everyone these days writes using a word-processing program on a computer. Microsoft Word is the present worldwide standard, and if you are going to write and edit a book-length manuscript you should purchase a copy.

Pick a time of day to write, and write every, every day. I do my creative writing from 2:00 AM to typically 5:00 AM, eat, nap and resume again as I work through a book. If you are working and have a family this becomes more difficult. Nonetheless, carve out some time for this tasks, shut off the TV, radio, cut out the music, kill the cell phone and write. The best way to work through a book faster is to thrown the TV out  of the house. You need to be creating; not just reacting to someone else’s brainchild.

It makes no difference how much you write each day, but write something. It is not unrealistic for an author to have a goal of four finished pages a day. You are not going to write a book at a sitting.

The Biggest Hurtle

While many think about writing a book or perhaps are told by others that they should, the biggest hurtle is actually committing to the project and getting started. You do not need to be blessed by the writing gods, and you do not need permission from anyone. All you have to do is sit down and write.

Create Your Own Job Security

Generally available for special promotion price of $10.99.





Create Own Job Security to be Shown at Two of World’s Largest Book Fairs

Ben's front cover Create Job
Now available on Amazon and other sources

My new business book designed to show workers how to become business owners to secure their own economic futures has been accepted for exhibition at the Frankfurter Bushmesse in Germany and the International Book Fair in Miami. The Frankfurt Book Fair is the world’s largest such event for publishers and last year attracted 278,000 visitors and 7,000 exhibitors from all over the world.

The Frankfurt fair takes place in six multistory buildings arranged around a central square with each building and floor dedicated to a different function. For example, English language publishers are in Building 6. The first three floors have exhibits from publishers from Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom and the U.S. while the fourth floor is for literary agents and scouts.  Building 5 is dedicated to publishers in other European languages with France and Spain being most heavily represented. Not unexpectedly,  German publishers, distributors and authors outnumber those from other countries and are most heavily represented in Buildings 3 and 4. The first three days of the show, October 10-12 are reserved for members of the trade, but the show is open to the public the last two days of the event.

Cultural and culinary activities are not neglected at the fair. There is a temporary building, the Reading Marquee, in the central square or Agora where authors give readings of their works, a section dedicated to rare books and fine arts in Building 4 and other spaces dedicated to lectures and workshops. Many of these events are available free to participants, although some require advanced registrations. Food samplings are available at the Gourmet Gallery in Building 4 as well as at Business Club Europa where working lunches can be arranged. Coincidentally, the October 10-14 dates for the event correspond with Oktoberfest celebrations that occur all over Germany.

My book Create Your Own Job Security: Plan to Start Your Own Business at Midlife will be shown by Stonewall Press in Hall 6 at Stand D 126. The purpose of showing my published book is to help sell print and foreign language rights to conventional publishers. This is not an unusual arrangement for an author who has self-published a book and desires to reach a world-wide audience for his work.

Stonewall Press author with booth in background

An author attending such a fair is much like a gadfly who can be very easily distracted by the enormity of the event and different options clamoring for his attention. In my case I have a general plan to circulate and talk up my book, but a very specific goal of contacting U.K. publishers about the concept of creating a U.K. edition where I discuss the practical aspects of securing a trademark, patents for inventions and establishing a business according to Crown Law.  This will require my redoing several chapters of the book that detail these processes in the U.S. and also converting spellings to U.K. English. To quote Winston Churchill, “We are two countries separated by a common language.”

I have already contacted 10 U.K. publishers to set up meetings about my book at the event. Such advanced notice enables both parties to do a bit of advance planning to find out about interesting titles that are at the fair and prepare a bid for whatever rights they might wish to publish. Although based in the U.K., some publishing houses specialize in translating non-fiction books into other languages. While based on the same text, each translation is a different book with a unique ISBN and requires a different publisher-author contract. If you are a publisher who is potentially interested in the book you may contact me using the form below.  Ultimately, I would hope to publish editions in French, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese.

From the more than 100 U.K. publishers, distributors and agents at the event, I selected those that concentrated on non-fiction titles and particularly those who listed business books among their titles. Some publishers said they were interested in unusual treatments of common subject materials, and my Create Your Own Job Security meets that requirement. Others said they were looking for new voices with new approaches, and again, I certainly qualify. A few mentioned “modern” and “social media.” Many of today’s publishers want, or even require, that an author has already created a “brand” or “persona” and has a following on social media, if they are not an already well-known figure in their field. With 3.7 million views on my YouTube channel, 2,000 visits a month to my blog, the publication of 18 books, a podcast radio show that still attracts listeners years after the last show was broadcast and my common appearance on talk radio shows around the country, I have accumulated a significant social media presence. I am blessed with an unusual middle name, “Hovey,” and a Google search will show pages of hits when linked with “hunt” and a significant number if linked with “business.”

A secondary purpose at the Frankfurt Book Fair is to show my other books which include one of children’s stories and my outdoor titles like X-Treme Muzzleloading and Backyard Deer Hunting: Converting Deer to Dinner for Pennies per Pound. As is obvious, I will have more than enough to do at the Frankfurt Fair.

Should you go? I would advise that if you have a book that is already written, whether it is self-published or not, to present to potential publishers that has the potential to impact a number of  lives, it might be worth the $3,000 that it would take to participate in the event. That figure includes making a contract for a company to display your book, transportation costs, room, etc., and maybe even an occasional beer – although you will not have much time for that. The less well-known you are, the more restrictive your title audience is and the less you have written, the fewer your chances are of making a significant return on your investment. To an agent or buyer, everyone in the world has a book. If you do not have your’s yet in some sort of form, that puts you way behind on the list, unless you are already a best-selling author in some category.

Miami’s International Book Fair

In contrast to the multi-dimensional  aspects of the Frankfurter Buchmesse the International Book Fair in Miami is more like a combined yard sale and street fair. Although large, with some 100,000 visitors, this outdoor event is held on a portion of the Dade College Campus in downtown Miami two blocks off Biscayne Bay Blvd. Venders are set up in tents on either side of 2nd Avenue on November 16-18 as part of a week-long event sponsored by the College.

The purpose of this fair is to introduce new books to the general public, provide libraries and other volume buyers of books a chance to look at, handle and discuss new products, and significantly, for authors to promote their works. There is a reading stage where authors present their works, but this space is generally arranged a year in advance and often restricted to best-selling authors. This fair is generally noted for its selection of fiction, and particularly children’s fiction, but publishers bring all categories of titles to the event.

This is a show-and-tell platform, rather than a place to sell individual books. Book orders may be placed on the spot or titles immediately ordered from Amazon and other on-line sources. The one exception is that signed copies may be available from some attending authors at signing events, although it is more common for well-known authors to sign previously purchased copies.

With so many authors in attendance, there is a significant press coverage of the event from TV, radio and print media. If you are an interesting personality and are aggressive, you can often garner some good coverage from the event. Often TV will have a few targeted individuals in mind when they send a crew, but the roaming “general assignment crews” will always be looking for someone to give an author’s perspective of the event or perhaps highlight someone who they think is “interesting.”

Gorilla Marketing

Hovey in Zhengzhou, China

Fact is, all of us authors are “interesting.” How do you stand out? I sometimes wear my cooking smock and toup, as I did in China, and this certainly attracted attention from the remainder of the suite-wearing audience. At a 4th of July event in Sidney, Nebraska, I wore overalls, a straw hat and carried a blunderbuss, before I did my gig on stage.   Within reason, be distinctive.

Many of the booths will be maned by those representing publishing houses. If you are a writer or would-be writer and are relatively local, dropping by such an event can show you what other writers are publishing, what their books look like, who did them and what publishing house might be interested in your title. Nothing is likely to happen at the event except you would be referred to an on-line site to look at their manuscript submission guidelines. Some may even have a few forms with them, but as they want to keep an already large volume of “stuff” that they must put up and take down each day to a minimum very little in the way of editorial-submission forms will have been brought to the Fair.

Editors may or may not attend, and if they do it might be only for a single day. Usually sales fairs are handled by marketing and sales, rather than from the editorial side of the business. If you attend prepare to collect some business cards and meticulously record anything said about when and how to submit your materials. Don’t wait until you have 20 or so and have to think, “What did I promise to whom.”  This is also a place to give out cards to potential buyers for your book, or better yet, have a copy for them to photograph with their smart phones.

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Problems with Product Naming


Types of insects eaten worldwide

Insect eaters want a new name for their activity.

Sometimes you have a product/activity that you wish to promote that has an existing name, but it is derived from difficult to pronounce or remember Greek or Latin root, and you need to come up with something else that is more user friendly. The case in point is “entomophagy” which relates to eating insects.

I can imagine some of you thinking, “Good. The more obscure the better. I am not going to eat any bugs, anywhere, anytime, anywhere; and the less said about that subject the better.”

Like it or not, insects are intentionally consumed as a regular part of the diets of millions of people worldwide and accidentally by nearly everyone else as a minor contaminant in grain-derived products. Eating Insects Athens, 2018, held at the University of Georgia was the second conference sponsored by the North American Coalition for Insect Agriculture August 13-15, 2018. The first conference, Eating Insects Detroit, was held two years previously and sponsored by Wayne State University.  The Georgia conference drew participants from Universities around the country, insect growers and makers of insect-derived health-food, nutritional, novelty and snack products from the United States and Europe. I did a brief video about the conference, “Eating Insects Athens: The People and What they Do,” that you may view at:  Planning is underway for a third conference to be held in 2020 at a location to be determined.

During the 40-odd professional presentations made over the three-day Athens conference several speakers expressed a desire to come up with a replacement name for “entomophagy,” which admittedly sounds more like some sort of deadly internal disease than anything that you would want to participate in. We writers are known to invent new words from time to time, sometimes intentionally, and sometimes not. When writing against a deadline, it is very easy to make a mental slip, particularly when writing about a new subject, and put on paper something that sounds right, but is not.

That happened to me when I hurried to put out material about the conference. I misspelled entomology, as “etomology,” which is a non-word in present usage; but perhaps would work better than entomophagy, to describe insect consumption as human and animal food. Before the word gets conscripted for some other use, I propose that it be adopted for this activity and those who work in the field of rearing and consuming insects be called “etomologists.” There are words that sound something close to this and one is etymology/ists, which are those people who study the derivation of words and their evolution over time; and of course, entomologists, those who study insects  that I wrongly rendered as etomologists.  My apologies for that, but I think that my accidental word can have considerable utility if it is now re-purposed to refer to the consumption of insects.

I also came up with a series of marketing terms to refer to the amount of insect content that a product might contain. Roasted, ground and dried insect powders, now mostly derived from crickets, have protein, calcium, iron, amino acids and other nutrients not found in plant derived protein, such as derived from beans.   To refer to the amount of such a powder that might be added to a product I came up with the terms “Inprotouch,” Inproslap,” Inproslam” and “Inproblast”  to designate increasing amounts of the nutritional additive that might be in a health bar or smoothy. The “In” is derived from insect and the “pro” from protein and the “touch,” “slap,” “slam” and “blast” states the relative amount of the product which would be spelled out in detail on the label.

This exercise in deriving new names for products should be thought of as an outrageous sounding, but real, solution to a marketing problem to inspire you to consider something of the same approach for your naming problem.

Was there, or has their been, an accidental rendering of an associated name that might be useful.? Can you abbreviate the product’s ingredients in such a way that when combined with some active word yields a name that indicates both the components and function of your product?  Such a mental effort will result in a better outcome than stringing a set of meaningless letters together derived from last names of the company’s founders or some other way. Incorporate something of the origin of your product and its amount or utility into your product’s name to achieve a better result in the marketplace.  Aim for a name that is pronounceable and memorable and you will do well – even if it is about eating bugs.

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New Business Opportunities for Eatable Insects

Insect Larve on lobster.

Insects are a commonly consumed food item in most of the world except in Europe and North America. They may be found cooked with salt and oil and sold as crunchy street snacks in South America, Africa and Asia.  Their flavors may be used to enhance the taste and texture of otherwise bland, soft foods. Protein powders made from cooked and ground insects can also be incorporated as a nutritional supplement in breads or used as a meat substitute in pastas, soups and stews.

Where insects are eaten as a significant food element.

Indigenous cultures who have migrated from their home countries will often attempt to buy their favorite snacks in the new countries and will pay a premium price for them. Additional interests have also been expressed by extreme-sports athletes who are interested in obtaining significant nutritional input from plant-based snack bars which often contain nuts, dried fruits, grains, sugar and salt. Insect-derived protein powder also contains available iron, calcium and amino acids as well as other nutrients not found in plant-based products.

Environmentalist who seek to reduce the planetary impact of water and grain production caused by commercial beef, pork and chicken production can have a product produced close to the point of consumption, that uses much less water, far less land, smaller amounts of cereal grains and can be grown in vertical indoor spaces.

I was personally surprised by how far along the commercialization of products and industry support services had come. The first conference of the North Man Eating Bugs The Art and Science of Eating InsectsAmerican Coalition for Insect Agriculture (NACIA) was held in Detroit in 2016 and titled Eating Insects Detroit. This had followed a number of other conferences in Thailand and elsewhere sponsored by the United Nations that sought to document and promote the production and consumption of insects as human and animal feed.

In the past five years the eatable insect movement, Entomophagy, has gathered increased interest in Europe and North America with the availability of insect product on store shelves as not only novelty items, but also as foodstuffs for mainstream consumption. Presenters documented the current state of the art at the Eat Insects Athens conference August 13-15 at the University of Georgia. I have done a seven-minute overview of the conference as a YouTube video which you may see at:

Crickets and meal worms dominate eatable insect production in the North American Market. Large-scale commercial producers like Armstrong Crickets are likely adequately supplying the present market for eatable crickets ether as frozen insects or cricket-derived protein powder. No small-scale producer is likely to be able to compete with them on price or break into established distribution circles producing crickets for bait or food. While an individual can raise crickets for his own use and perhaps supply some to his friends for fish bait or to feed pet reptiles, this is a hobby-scale activity that is unlikely to return significant profit – similar to small-scale bee keeping. I interviewed Jack Armstrong and three other participants of the conference and produced a video which may be seen at: .


Raising other insects

Where individual entrepreneurs  can break new ground is raising things like Chapulines or beetles that have not yet been industrially commercialized in North America. The Chapulines are large Central American grasshoppers that are gathered from alphalpha fields and sold salted, roasted and often seasoned with a pepper sauce as snack foods in southern Mexico and Central America. Although we do have large grasshoppers in the southeastern U.S., I do not know if the particular species that are harvested that far south on the continent are also native to the drier, hotter parts of the U.S. If so, they could be raised on pivot-irrigated alphalpha in the desert areas of the U.S. and confined to, and harvested from, those operations.

Types of insects eaten worldwide

Importing new insects which might become pests has obvious hurdles, similar to what happened with the imported carp that were introduced to help solve problems at fish farms and ultimately escaped to become a real problem with North American fisheries. However, if a similar-sized native grasshopper species exist, this would not be so great a hurdle. The particular species is not as significant as is the nearly 1.25-inch size of the grasshopper.  This would be a promising area for some basic science and development.

Pill bugs also known as rolly polleys in the Southeast are common in organic rich soils and rotted leaf piles. They are said to provide a red color when cooked and could be raised in large numbers. The problem with these and other soil-dwelling grubs is that they could carry potentially dangerous bacteria. If wild caught, I think that it would be a good idea to wash them to remove any clinging soil particles, and feed them out on some clean feedstocks before roasting them for consumption. I broached this feed-lot concept at the conference.

Jack Armstrong of Armstrong Crickets responded that using wild foods like grass clippings to start his crickets could introduced predator insects, fungal diseases, molds and other undesirable elements resulting in a lower survival rate for his crickets which was an unacceptable risk. The use of high-costs commercial feed compounded by major animal-feed suppliers allows him to keep his FDA certification for his products and helps insure the safety and profitability of his operation.  The highest cost in this operation is the labor required to tend, move, harvest and ship the insects. The price of the feed is a significant, but secondary, cost element.


Automating the large-scale production of insects presents challenges that have yet to be overcome. Armstrong remarked that everyone he knew who had tried automated watering systems had torn them out and gone back to hand watering because one system failure could result in the loss of millions of crickets. Automatic starting back-up generators or battery storage of solar-generated power and underground power lines could provide a safety margin for a continuous power supply, but all mechanical things will someday fail.  Reducing this failure rate to an acceptable level with a back-up capability presents some interesting design problems very similar to those faced by hospitals.

Machinery to handle live insects is a more difficult proposition. Given any opportunity many insects will attempt to escape confinement. If crowded into too small a space they may die and partly decompose before they are frozen and result in the entire batch of products being discarded. This process must be rapid, continuous and sterile – a practical, but solvable, problem.


Man has a love-hate relationship with insects. Almost everyone can appreciate the beauty of a butterfly, the industry of social insects like ants and the honey made by bees. Few enjoy the sting of a mosquito, being chased by hornets or surrounded by a swarm of gnats which are getting into your eyes, ears, nose and mouth. Spiders provoke great fear in a segment of the population, others find them affectionate pets and some eat them. I am fond of spiders and appreciate the good work that they do in catching less desirable species. I consider them more as pets than food.

Insects that are recognizable as being closely related to species that we still have today were already thriving during the Carboniferous Period, 300,000,000-years ago. Roaming among the fern-rich swamps that would become the coal we burn today were cockroaches that were 12-feet long when insects underwent a period of gigantism. Fortunately these were killed off during a world-wide extinction event, and we only have their much smaller relatives today.  Man with a history in the fossil record going back only 1.5 million years is very much a new arrival on the world scene.

What insects are, their colors, diverse shapes and methods of moving have provided inspiration for the design of everything from vehicles, clothing, jewelry to crawling robots that can run, climb and fly.  Some of these now only exist in the movies, but others are rapidly approaching reality. When a class of animals has evolved for hundreds of millions of years, nature has much to teach us about design.


Marketing eatable insect products to a sometimes fearful and suspicious public presents its challenges. The best results thus far has been to present a group of insect-derived products in a stand-alone display, rather than having insect-protein enhanced breads among other breads, high protein bars mixed with candies and protein powders in the baking isle. This approach makes two things very clear to potential buyers, A. That they are purchasing products derived from insects and not being in any way mislead about the products or what is in them and B. Separate displays allow the beneficial impacts of eating insect-derived protein to be explained. In short, the combined display has selling power that ordinary rack placement does not.

For the sake of drawing attention to insect-derived products nation wide, it is desirable for the industry to help sponsor a fine dining restaurant in at least one major city, say New York, that specializes in the production of good tasting insect-derived dishes that are fully up to the standards of fine dining – something much more advanced than sprinkling a few bugs on top of a dish. The establishment’s name should directly and easily be identified as to the type of food that is served and its derivation. A name like The Bug Palace would not be too outlandish. The contrast between this name and a fine dining experience would draw instant attention from the press and reviews, good, bad and indifferent would highlight the eatable insect moment and perhaps even spawn a TV show. The possibilities are there, they just need to be promoted.

The U.N. , the FDA, FFA and 4-H organizations can offer aid and be enlisted to help promote insect farming as a valuable crop to be harvested as a by-product of commercial organic agriculture or a off-season activity for farming operations.  Successful commercial insect production as food is labor intensive, but requires much less space and fewer resources than any other type of agriculture while returning a larger profit margin.  For example, the conversion of spaces once used for dairy-farming to insect-rearing operations could take advantage of existing structures and a history of clean food-handling practices to produce a more profitable product than milk. This potential switch in operational outlook will require retraining and a considerable marketing campaign.

Create Own Job Security Accepted for Frankfurt Book Fair

Stonewall Press author with booth in background

Getting a book exhibited at a major international book fair is a plus for an author, and Create Your Own Job Security: Plan to Start Your Own Business at Midlife will be exhibited by Stonewall Press at this year’s Frankfurt Buchmesse. The Frankfurt event is the world’s largest assembly of publishers, agents, authors, suppliers and distributors with some 278,000 people attending the five-day event last year. The first three days of the book fair are for industry members only, and during the last two days the event it is open to the public.

Ben's front cover Create Job
The book is at the fair. Should the author be there too and in what capacity?

This is an opportunity for authors and publishers to link with their international counterparts and arrange for foreign language translation contracts, rewrites of books for foreign markets and for authors to interact with publishers and distributors from all over the world. As might be expected for a European event, the majority of the publishers are from Germany and France, but all other European countries are present. Each year a different country is highlighted and this year it is Georgia, the nation – not the state.  U.S. publishing houses will have about four percent of the booths.

Frankfurt, one of Germany’s major industrial cities and transportation hubs, was fairly well flattened during World War II. Consequently, almost all of the interior of the city is composed of modern buildings or those that were almost completely rebuilt. The more intangible features of the culture such as food, the climate and its position as one of the major crossroads of  Europe is the reason that it is one of Europe’s major financial centers. In pre-Brexit times it was considered second only to London in significance. With the U.K. leaving the European market many institutions are relocating to Frankfurt or increasing the size of their operations in the city. All of these reasons is why the book fair continues to be held in the city.

Many European cities have large facilities for trade fairs, and the interior and exterior space available in Frankfurt is one of the largest exhibition grounds on the continent. It is so large that their are four entrances that enable multiple events to be held in the center simultaneously. The book fair uses all available space with a years-long waiting list for new exhibitors.

For an author like myself who does not have a world-wide reputation, this will be very much a press-the-flesh event. The contacts with foreign publishing houses both at the Stonewall booth where my book will be exhibited and me walking the floor will be significant as will random encounters with others browsing the exhibits. I do not have to do absolutely all the selling because my book will be shown and described in a published Stonewall catalog for the event. However, I know the book and can promote it better than someone else who is also telling people about another 199 other titles.

French publishing houses publish more books that are translated from English to French than any other country with about 20 percent of last year’s titles being translated works. Germany is the second largest publisher of books in translation with the U.S. being far down the list with only a few percent of its titles translated from other languages. The market in the U.K. is interesting in that a book with technical content like mine will be more useful if some chapters are re-written for U.K. readers and some of the word usages, spellings, etc. recast in the British fashion. While not quite a translation, republishing an American book in the U.K. can require revisions and editing to yield the best result.

Stonewall Press author with book and plackardI was offered the opportunity to have a book signing at the event. Here I would have for a period of time a table, my books, a cardboard cutout of me beside the table where I would be signing and giving away books. Most of this activity takes place during the general admission days on Saturday and Sunday. Well known authors may sign hundreds of books, but for someone like me a signing is not worth the time tied up at a table or the extra costs and bother of transporting a larger number of books to the event. This signing would nearly double my expenses and, as I see it, bring relatively little benefit, however ego-stroking it might be. I will make more significant contacts by sitting at a local bar filled with fair-goers that I would at such a signing.

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Atlanta Business RadioX Interview Turned into a Video

.Hovey Smith Atlanta Business Radio X with knives

Radio has the shortcoming of not being able to transmit visual content over the airways. One way to overcome this is to use the broadcast as the sound track to a video production and add stills and written materials over the top of the sound. Hopefully the stills can be edited so that they more or less track with what is being covered in the interview which necessitates that the person assembling the visual materials simultaneously listen to the sound track while he is installing his visuals.

In this case I was fortunate that Stone Payton, the host of Atlanta Business RadioX, gave me some practical questions which I could link with some more-or-less appropriate photos. I was also supplied with some shots taken during the event by co-host Katy Galli which were used during the introduction and exit segments. Deriving a video from a radio interview is a seldom used tool because of the extra time involved which was about 5 hours to edit, process and finalize a 30-minute video. Most radio hosts do not have this much spare time. So it often falls on the guest to make the video if it is done at all. After all, it is he that is benefiting most from the added exposure, and if he can make it more meaningful by showing a photo of a knife that he described, so much the better.

The added appeal of written material over the frames of existing photos or even on a black background can A. Add additional information that was not mentioned in the broadcast, B. Provide additional reinforcement of points that are being made by having the user both listen and see the information and C. give the user the exact written reference for a long and perhaps nearly meaningless URLs. All of these techniques were incorporated in this video.

You can judge the results from the video below:


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Atlanta Podcast Hosts Stone Payton / Katy Galli Interview Hovey About “Create Your Own Job Security” on Atlanta BusinessRadioX

I always have a fun time when I have a chance to do an in-studio interview with a radio host as I did last Wednesday with Stone Payton and his Co-Host Katy Galli. Galli was also the show’s director, sound engineer, and unexpectedly became part of the show.  She has been doing a series of interviews with sports figures who became businessmen after their playing days were over. We had an interchange about what was needed to take these radio interviews and make a book out of them.

One advantage of doing a studio recording is that the equipment is matched, compared to a telephone interview where one side may be on a sometimes scratchy phone line, with the result is that the audio quality is generally better. And, since Galli was on the sound board, the volume of the voices could be more nearly evened out during the recording.

You may hear the recording by going to the Atlanta BusinessRadioX  show page at:

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Create Your Own Job Security Author on Kevin Short’s Think Outrageous Radio Show on August 4, 2018

Hovey as news anchor

Kevin Short has orchestrated over 150 purchases/sales of middle-sized businesses that have had a value of over 1 Billion dollars. He is the author of, Sell Your Business at an Outrageous Price and has his own Podcast radio show, “Think Outrageous,” which is on the channel which is part of the iHeart Radio Network.  Although based in St. Louis, his broadcast circulates worldwide.

Short’s radio show is “dedicated to improving your business, workplace culture and life experiences more than you ever thought possible,” to use his own words.  The general concept that a person should start multiple businesses throughout their lives when and as needed appealed to him, and we arranged to record a show a month ago, which had to be rescheduled. I had already researched Short before the show, and I was disappointed was when I was notified a few days before we were to record. I do a number of such shows. As it turned out I recorded a show with another broadcaster in his studio in Atlanta the day before, and drove back home in time to stand by for Short’s show that was to be recorded precisely at 10:30 AM.

Studio time is valuable and usually booked a week ahead, so when a host wants his guest to call in at 10:30 he means that he wants his guest on line about five minutes before and will dump him as soon as the broadcast is over. In this case I was to call him using a conference-service line. I was provided with a number and password and at 10:24 I started the call. The number and password was accepted. At 10:30 Short was on the mike at the other end. Within 15 seconds we were Kevin and Hovey. This was to be a pre-recorded show, and we got off to an immediate start with Kevin introducing me as his guest as you can hear below:

The interview went well, and although edited out of the broadcast, I was invited back for another program at some undefined time in the future. Whether this will happen or not, I do not know, but I did broach other potential tops, such as a show on considering geologic hazards in planning subdivisions or even when buying or building your own house which is work that I do as a Professional Geologist in Georgia.

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