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About Michael

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SwanShadow Communications: Word Wizardry for Business.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s your background in copywriting?

I’ve created copy for ad agencies, consulting firms, medical services companies, manufacturers, financial institutions, insurance companies, nonprofit organizations, entertainers, arts groups, and a variety of others.

Before hanging out my own shingle, I spent eleven years working in various communications positions for a regional health plan. During that time, I:

  • Wrote hundreds of business letters, edited hundreds more, and developed correspondence templates used by staff throughout the organization.
  • Project-managed, and acted as editor and primary writer of, the company’s intranet and Web sites, creating 15-20 new content items per week.
  • Drafted department policies and procedures, business plans, and marketing reports.
  • Actively participated on the editorial boards of two quarterly newsletters.
  • Served as a consulting editor for the rest of the corporate communications team, and the executive and management staff.

Prior to this, I worked in various sales and marketing positions for other companies. I ghostwrote correspondence for the CEO of a major savings bank, managed the new account sales desk for another financial institution, and marketed wood products to the construction industry, among other things.

In private life, I edited a bimonthly subscription newsletter for seven years, and have written a weekly inspirational column for more than 14 years. I wrote press releases and managed public relations for an internationally ranked men’s a cappella chorus for four years. I’m also a contributing editor for a popular film review Web site called DVD Verdict, where I’ve published more than 115 critical essays.

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What’s your area of writing specialty?

Some people avoid the word, I know, but I’m proud to call myself a generalist. I’m a thorough researcher who can get up to speed on any topic quickly. For me, part of the joy of writing comes from satisfying my natural curiosity about anything and everything.

As already noted, I’ve done much of my commercial writing in the health care, entertainment, and financial services fields, and I enjoy all three. But I welcome every chance to expand my experience into other areas.

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What kinds of assignments do you accept?

I offer a broad range of writing services. I’m flexible enough to switch easily from technical to wildly creative, and adapt to anything in between. Newsletters, product brochures, ad copy, specialized correspondence, press releases, speeches, presentations — you name it and I’ll write it.

With my experience writing and editing for several Internet and intranet sites, I have a knack for creating copy that scans well on the Web. I’m also skilled at developing text specially for oral presentation — speeches, radio or video scripts, and other audio formats. (A degree in broadcast communications and seventeen years’ extensive public speaking experience will instill those skills in a writer.)

What excites me most is writing targeted communications for specific audiences and needs. I’ll listen carefully as you tell me who your intended readers or hearers are. Then, I’ll write with their interests and concerns in mind, in a style reflective of your business approach.

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The bottom line: what will your services cost me?

That depends on the type and detail of the services you need. If you ask, I’ll give you an Estimated Rates sheet that provides an overview of what various projects usually cost. But I don’t price by cookie-cutter. Once we’ve discussed the specifics of your project, I’ll give you a firm, fair cost analysis. This way, you get what you pay for, and you’re only paying for what you get.

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How long will my project take?

One of my strengths is writing both swiftly and brilliantly at the same time. So, you tell me — when do you need the project completed? I’ll tell you honestly in our initial conference whether I can accommodate your requirements. If I can meet your timeframe, I’ll give you a solid commitment. I won’t miss a promised deadline, ever. The finished copy will meet your specifications, guaranteed.

If I can’t complete the project by your due date, I won’t waste your time and money by accepting the assignment. That’s not the way I do business.

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Suppose we require revisions?

No problem. I guarantee final copy that you’ll be delighted to approve. (After all, you’ll only call me with your next project if you’re pleased with the results on the current job.) Just tell me what improvements you want and how you want them implemented. I’ll turn around your revised copy quickly, provided the changes are within the originally agreed-upon specifications of the project.

When I give you the initial estimate, I’ll factor in the cost of two rounds of revisions. I’ll also consider this revision time when evaluating the deadline.

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I’m sold how do I place my project with you?

I’m glad you asked! Simply e-mail me the specifications of the assignment, or give me a call at 707-585-8224 and we’ll discuss. I’ll need to know:

  • The type of project (brochure, newsletter, ad copy, press release, etc.).
  • Your intended audience.
  • Any information I’ll need to get started. (If I need more, I’ll ask.)
  • The due date for final copy.
  • Contacts for answers to any questions I may encounter.
  • The budget for the project, if there’s a fixed cost I need to accommodate.

If you’d like to review the details of your project in person, just let me know. I’ll be glad to schedule a meeting at a place and time convenient for you. If distance presents a challenge, we’ll conference by telephone.

I’ll conduct a quick analysis of the project and give you an estimated cost and delivery schedule. Upon receipt of your signed authorization, I’ll start to work. You’ll get the copy on time, on budget, and written to your satisfaction. I know we’ll enjoy working together, and I guarantee you’ll like the end results.

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Last question: where did the name “SwanShadow” come from?

I’ll tell you at the successful close of our first collaboration. Fair enough?

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E-mail me or call me at 707-585-8224 TODAY with the particulars of your project.
I’ll promptly return a no-cost, no-obligation quote.
Put SwanShadow’s word wizardry to work for you.

SwanShadow Communications. More than just ink on paper.

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