I write a hundred and fifty-six articles for OnlineItalianClub.com each year, and apart from the quarterly sales and the ‘free trial lesson offers in November and February, when I resuse copy to save time, they’re almost all original – at least a hundred articles a year, anyway.
Obviously, there’s repetition – approaches to language learning and language teaching evolve over time, as do the things I have to gripe about, but there aren’t a hundred new topics each year. And next year will be our tenth year!
Take a look at the club’s not-recently-updated ‘best of’ page to see how things have changed, or not, over the years.
But anyway, the marketing calendar tells me that Christmas is coming, and Christmas means digging out our seasonally-themed ebooks and flogging a few copies cheap so we’ll have money to pay writers to create new stuff.
We haven’t done a ‘half-price ebook of the week’ offer since back in the spring, when we were still semi-locked down and I was teaching all my classes online. Ah, those were the days – no commuting!
So good idea, I thought, let’s do the Christmas ebook offer!
I scrolled back through the last 156 articles to find what I wrote this time last year, to see if it would offer any short cuts (hospital appointment this morning, so even less time than usual!)
And what did I find?
That I’d done the VERY SAME THING LAST YEAR!
OK, then I can change the marketing plan and do something else… Or I can just copy the exact same thing I wrote twelve months ago…
Beh, it’s ‘natale’, which is basically the same every year, right? Same songs on the radio, Father Christmas still going to work in the red uniform with the white fur trimmings (though my English-baby-sitting three-year-old last Friday evening chose to colour him purple, with a black beard…), and of course, reruns on the TV.
It’s traditional! At least once a year, things SHOULD be the same.
So I went with the Christmassy ebook offer, and the welcome shortcut of copying and pasting (below) exactly what I wrote last year.
N.b. regular ebook buyers should please check they don’t already own a copy of this BEFORE buying. Mille grazie!
Today we have a new, and very Christmassy, half-price ‘eBook of the Week’. It’s called Natale a sorpresa, the level is B2 (upper-intermediate) and this week it costs just £3.99, instead of the usual £7.99.
Be aware that we published this one around this time last year. Usually our ‘eBook of the Week’ offers are on stories that are at least three years old, but I thought, if Natale can come around every twelve months without people getting bored of it, well, why not ‘Natale a sorpresa’?
This one being so recent, it’s likely that many of you already have it (in which case, go choose something else to read and listen to from our Catalog).
However, there are one or two club members who are prone to buying things they already have, realising only later, then emailing me to ask for a refund, which I graciously expedite, while muttering curses. Ragazzi (you know I’m talking about you, don’t you?), I have a busy week of teaching ahead, so do me a favour, will you, and check your virtual bookshelves BEFORE hitting the ‘buy’ button? Many thanks in advance.
Back to the rest of you, though – as always, you can check out the free sample chapter (.pdf) to get an idea of the level, length and format of the material.
So what’s this one about?? (From here on, this article is basically the same as last December’s – as I said, I have a busy day. N.b. this story is PRE-PANDEMIC, as you will see from the blurb below. Isn’t that quaint?)
Matteo’s supposed to be writing a book – he has a deadline coming up – but he’s suffering terribly from writers’ block. All he can do is stare at a blank computer screen. He’s recently out of a relationship, which hasn’t helped…
Worse, it’s December and Christmas is coming! Normally Matteo spends the festive season with his family, but this year they’re visiting relatives in Australia. So it looks as if he’ll be celebrating alone.
Then he has an idea. He’ll call his best friend Filippo, who’ll surely be able to help! Perhaps they can spend Christmas at Filippo’s place in the mountains, or take a trip somewhere…
But you’ll be asking yourself, what about the cute dog on the cover?
And rightly so! We’ve had an ebook with a feline protagonist so it’s about time we did something for club members who are dog-lovers, giusto?
I don’t think I’ll be giving too much away if I hint that writer Matteo’s idea of spending Christmas with his mate Filippo doesn’t work out as he’d hoped, but that instead…
Well, you’ll have to buy a copy of Natale a sorpresa to find out!
N.b. This story is set over the Christmas/New Year period, in ‘real time’ so to speak. Think of it as having started a week or so ago and going on until around Epiphany, when the whole festive thing wraps up for another year.
I mention this because Natale a sorpresa is a nice way to learn about what Italians get up to in December and January – what days are celebrated, how they decorate their houses, what they eat, and so on.
A mercoledì, allora.
And the usual postscript: don’t forget to listen to and read Saturday’s bulletin of ‘easy’ Italian news. It’s free.