July 9th, 2014

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newsletter coming soon - get your question or case featured + answered & win free stuff

My able assistant Mary has been helping me get caught up, and she's also tidying up the mess I've made of my various social networking stuff, much of which has just been languishing and gathering dust. I'll post about upcoming changes and such as they happen, but I want to go ahead and get the ball rolling on a new feature I'll be rolling out soon.

I will (finally) be putting out a regular newsletter, hopefully within a month or so. Mary is going to educate me on it and on how to put up signup links in various places, but in the meantime there is currently one working at the website; just go there and scroll down to the footer area and you'll see the signup box.

Here's what I have in mind, copied/pasted from the last post on July coupon codes:

Don't forget to sign up for the newsletter - once we get the kinks ironed out, there'll be newsletter-only specials, coupons, updates, and then regular tips, tricks, and conjure advice.

NEW FEATURE: GET YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED, WIN FREE STUFF!

I'm going to get the ball rolling with the newsletter with a new feature - much like the irregular "questions readers have asked" posts here at the blog, only more regular, I'm going to invite questions from y'all readers and subscribers. If your question is picked for the month's newsletter, I will give you an in-depth response, publish it with any identifying info removed of course, and then send you some goodies.

So write with your questions - I will publish and answer the really good ones as a regular "column." You can ask anything, from hoodoo theory to recommendations to troubleshooting a spell you've done recently. If you have a case or situation that you want advice or guidance on, you can write with that too; I won't be able to do as many of those since they will basically be consultations and will thus take a good chunk of time, but I will certainly do some. I am going to pick those questions/cases that are likely to involve something educational or informative for my readership, perhaps showcasing a rite I think everybody ought to know how to do, or maybe showing off one of my favorite altar rites or working with a favorite saint, or maybe even just showing typical pitfalls that I see that often make my clients' cases more complicated than they might otherwise be. I doubt I can answer them all, but I will sure answer some, so it's worth a shot for a free consultation! [*]

Just shoot an email to karmazain at gmail.com and put "question for column" or "case for newsletter" or something like that in the subject line. If I choose your question, you'll not only get a personalized, in-depth answer, you'll get free goodies in the mail (my choice, but I will try to take preferences for formula families or product types into account - if you write with a love problem, I'll send you stuff to help your love problem, etc.). [**]

These will all go into a file until I write up the first newsletter, at which point I will select the questions for that month's column. So you can write at any time - you don't have to wait until the newsletter is arriving in your inbox.
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[*] Note: if you send a question or case for the column, you are acknowledging that your question and the reply may be published and you are consenting to publication (with any identifying info removed).

[**] Let me tell you something about free stuff. If you shop with me, you know I have a handling time that can sometimes be significant, because I handcraft and personally mix/blend *every single thing I send you, myself.* When you order a bottle of oil, for instance, I take the 2 dram bottle, add the herbs and curios, then add the base oil that I keep in a four-ounce "mother" bottle (which would contain whatever additional curios or ingredients were necessary that might not make it into the smaller bottle you get - for instance, Black Cat Bone oil's mother bottle contains a whole black cat leg bone from my personal first set of cat bones I got in 1991; your bottle will contain a chip of black cat bone, but the mother bottle contains a whole one). Then, after I've blended your bottle of oil or custom-finished whatever other item you've ordered, I pray over it and personally wrap it up and package it, writing out any instructions you need on a card and packaging it up. NOTHING comes off a shelf already made except soaps and candles, as that I make in very small batches of 4-6 at a time).

So when you order, it takes time to make your stuff up right. When you win free stuff, it takes time to make that stuff up right too, of course, and I"m sure you can understand that when there's a queue of stuff to go out, the paid orders that have already come in are going to go ahead of freebies and prizes and such.

During events involving prizes, readers sometimes irritate the crap out of me, and I"m sure it's unintentional, but I want to explain to avoid this kind of thing. So imagine a prize winner (who had never been a customer before, so apparently wasn't really aware of how this works) who wins a custom art item. We discuss the details and I record them. I start the first stages of the work on the item (one with many, many stages that I would never, ever agree to give a turnaround date on if this had been ordered from my shop, because I just can't say how custom stuff like this is going to go as it goes or what it's going to need, and I am only at the "gathering materials" stage). But this person keeps sending me emails asking if I've gotten this message or that message, if I have X or Y, when am I going to answer the last message. etc.

Now I use form letters and auto-acknowledgments for a lot of stuff because otherwise I would never have time to make stuff and fill orders and do consultations, so if I or my assistant send out an email saying "your message has been received" in response to an email that doesn't contain anything I need to personally respond to at that time, then that acknowledgment of receipt is my answer and I file the email as "answered." Prize winners, especially those who were just here for the prizes and don't actually shop with me outside of that prize situation, don't always realize how I work and often don't like that every single message isn't given a personal answer right away. And yes, this happens.

So after I send a message saying "received" and I say that I'll be back in touch when I have a question; otherwise you'll get it when it's done, that means I'm working on it. And so folks will get it when it's done. When winners send further messages asking "when are you going to write back," it just demonstrates to me that they didn't read the previous messages I sent explaining how this works, that there's a turnaround time, that "your message has been received" *is a response* in many cases, etc. It demonstrates that they don't know how I work or care that much to read a bit to find out - not even if that bit is sent to their inbox. It demonstrates that they aren't actually customers or clients anyway (which is ok - my contests and such are open to readers whether they are customers too or not, but when that is one in a big stack of issues causing problems, I usually notice, and I usually find myself wishing the prize had gone to an actual customer or client instead),

And so when I get about 4 or 5 of those emails over a couple of months, the custom piece that was already going to take significant time is probably going to take even more time now, because I have a bad taste in my mouth about the entire damned custom piece now and I *always* have many other things demanding my attention - those things I have a bad taste in my mouth about tend to not be on top of the stack when I have time to tend to such things. Meanwhile, the prize winner is irritated and is going around bad-mouthing me to people about how I don't send prizes and I don't keep my word. (All over *a free thing they won for doing nothing more than sending an email that I didn't have to give them in the first damned place.*)

Needless to say, this makes me wonder why the hell i even do this and I spend time grumbling that I can't even give shit away without catching attitude about it. Then I get over it and do another drawing or raffle or giveaway :-)

I'd like to avoid any more of those grumbly bits though. So I'm explaining how it works here, and I'll edit this for succinctness and clarity later and publish it a bit more formally. But the bottom line is that it's fun to win things, and it's nice to get free advice from a professional, and I actually do love my customers and clients even though every once in a while, one or two out of a hundred give me a pain in my neck :-) My readers and customers are, by and large, seriously awesome and always interesting, and I've gotten to know some of you so well over the years that we're at the "come by when you get to town" or "here's my cell phone number, text me when you get to the farmer's market and I'll help you pick out your herbs" stage. I have met some incredible people doing this work. So I want y'all to find nice surprises in your inboxes and mailboxes, and I want to get back to writing more and answering readers' questions more, and I want to get caught up on consultations and readings so I can go back to doing some pro bono ones (privately and for the column). Hell, I'd like to actually start offering phone consultations again (which I haven't done in about 7 years), but a few things would need to happen before I would be able to do that. I'm working on it though.

So you guys can help me do some of this by sending me your questions; along the way, you help me remember why I want to do this in the first place, so we just might both win :-)