Saturday, April 17, 2010


Once or twice a year NPR and PBS go on the air to raise funds for their work and its collateral costs. Some people are gifted and manage to squeeze something new out of every encounter, some have the perfect voice for listening too, but it is work... and usually we are glad when the fund drive is finally over.

Recently I was interviewed about what I do for an "Art Talks" show and one of my former typography students (it's amazing isn't it?) told me most of their fundraising at the station is now done by direct mail to get the lion's share of the work out of the way, and the "on air" stuff is designed to get new members or gift givers.

I know the process, because every 26 weeks I introduce a new Semester for The Chess Reports. The one just ending was #8 and the one starting on May 14th is Semester 9. Time really does fly.

Subscribers of Semester 8 have been given information in issue #104 about renewal. I have found that reminders, in different forms, are effective. I usually put deadlines (short ones) on them otherwise people don't take action (I am one of those myself). This one is a little longer, Deadline: May 14th! (And don't be surprised about how fast that one looms.) You can subscribe at any time, but the deadline is for the FREE premium (read on).

Like those fundraisers, I am now offering a premium if you go for the more pricey subscription, for, this time there are two plans!

First, there is the Gold Standard and it's $29.95. This is pretty much like the regular subscription I was selling except IM Andrew Martin has been switched to the Platinum Edition, which is $59.95. The Platinum Edition also has "How to dos", Letters, Opening Revelations, the Editor's Thoughts, and everything which is in the Gold Standard Edition. However, if you own a Gold Card for 2010, you get the Platinum Edition for $49.95, or a savings of $10.00.

Now that it is worked out, it seemed like an easy enough proposition, yet it took about two weeks of jostling these ideas around in my head before finalizing it. Subscriber James Breeden said: "It appears to me that you have struck a good balance in the contents of the two 'versions.' " Hope so.

Now for the Premium. A few years ago a polymath named Paul Hoffman wrote a book called King's Gambit, a Son, a Father, and the World's Most Dangerous Game. This hardcover (with dust jacket) rolls in at 433-pages! It reads well and reports accurately the things I am familiar with, but it also has a lot of personal things for which I could not possibly know... In the marketplace, in its day (2007), it sold for $24.95. So I am giving that away if you buy the Platinum Edition. I will also ship it for FREE IF you place an order for a book or dvd which requires some S&H fee (otherwise the USPS costs just eat me alive). People are responding, and responding well. Because of that, I now know, at least for the time being, this will become semi-annual fare. So I am already trying to think up new things for the next time and for the upcoming Chess Clinic (#6), in October. I'll write about the Clinic in October next week (remind me).

I look forward to hearing from you. If you haven't subscribed before, send me your email address and ask for a couple Sample Copies. Have an enjoyable weekend please!

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